Monday, March 23, 2015
A Note On The Apple Watch Presentation
So I finally got a chance to take in the Apple Watch presentation. If you are a person concerned with Black folks, then Apple's presentation went a long way in showing our collective problem. Opening front and center was China. Tim Cook has said how China is an extremely important country for Apple. In fact I believe that a very large percentage of Apple's profits now comes from China. It is definitely the case that China represents probably the largest revenue growth for that Company. All kinds of Chinese folks disregarding the pollution to buy and fawn over Apple products. And this isn't to get on Apple's case. Many companies that had formerly been single mindedly focused on the US and western Europe have been looking to up their China presence. Think about it. China used to be known for bicycles. The "sick man of Asia" was well behind the "leading" powers. It had a revolution and all that stuff. China grew up and got very modern in a lot of places and boasts a middle class that is the size of well the entire population of the US. Then we have Africa. Africa makes it's presence in the Apple presentation as the place well off (and well intentioned) white people go to Do Good(tm). Even though there is a middle class with disposable incomes some of which are spent on Apple products (see those unfortunates blown up in a Kenyan mall). They don't make an appearance in the Apple presentation anywhere. The message is clear to those who are paying attention: Africa and Africans aren't a market for Apple (or others) it is a marketing tool! So there we have mothers in need of medical treatment that can only be gotten by the do gooding white woman with an Apple Watch (The fathers apparently are living that crystal stair life). She runs marathons and otherwise stays fit with Apple's stuff in order to help the needy Africans who apparently are incapable of helping themselves other than doing what the foreign do gooder tells them should be done. There have been previous Apple adverts with a similar theme. Even with an African doing the do gooding. But still it is a story of the poor and destitute of Africa being a marketing prop for the latest Apple iDevice. If Apple thought of Africa and Africans as a market rather than a marketing tool, it would feature those middle class and up Africans who use their products in scenes that are clearly Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, etc. Hell, it could shoot some material in the Caribbean. I assure Apple that there are DJ's in Jamaica and elsewhere who use Apple computers. Hell, If Apple wanted to discuss fitness, particularly running, why didn't they go and get one of the MANY African and African descended runners? Mo Farrah, Meb Keflezighi, Usain Bolt, Mary Keitany. Many of these athletes also are a part of charities or could discuss how their winnings go to develop their hometowns. But again. It is clear that the poor and needy in Africa are a marketing tool and the African is not a market. But that brings us back to China. Why was China front and center? Because it is financially relevant. Africa is not. For all it's problems, whether it be pollution, human rights or a form of government some don't like, China has made itself into a country to be dealt with respectfully by businesses. And most importantly it isn't an international charity case. And this is key for black folks. If we really want folks to respect us as equals. If we really want people to see us as valuable neighbors and clients, we have to stop being charity cases. Like China and the Chinese we need to make a great leap forward. Minus the purge...however tempting that might be.