I watched the Apple event this week and came away wanting a new iPhone. And an Apple Watch. Probably more than that, I felt like I needed them.
A few hours later though, I realized I couldn't really give a rational explanation. What would they do exactly for me to think they'd make my life better? There's not really any new functionality, except for the ECG on the watch which is admittedly a clever innovation. Still no camera on the watch. Someone, please, add a little camera to a smartwatch. Nobody really thought they'd want a camera in their phone not long ago.
There's no new innovative design. The new watch looks like the old one. The new phones look like the old ones. They do the same stuff, just a little faster. With a slightly better camera. With slightly tougher glass.
What Apple do though is to make them sound essential. Through pictures and numbers. They look gorgeous. The closeups of the industrial design and the clarity of the screens in the images they use make them look so much better than any real-world phone with it's case, screen protector and fingerprint smears. That's nearly enough, but then the numbers. New chips, more processing, bigger screens, faster, better, breakthrough technology. It feels essential. Like your current phone is suddenly from a previous decade, unsuitable for today's world. A dinosaur in comparison.
Then there's the price. We saw the $1000 phone last year, so now $750 becomes a bargain. $1100 apparently now becomes a bargain because you now get a bigger screen for the same price. It got a round of applause in the Steve Jobs Theater. Applause, for a $1100 price tag. For a phone.
There's no arguing that it is great hardware, and pretty good software ('most advanced mobile platform' is debatable), but it's marketing (and profit margin) where Apple is at it's most brilliant.