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Idea: Master the Secret to Apple’s Product Launch Magic

Next Tuesday, Apple will hold one of its famous new product unveilings. If you want to learn why Apple is the master of such unveilings, here’s our advice: Ignore the products they launch. Concentrate instead on watching Apple’s mastery of “The Prestige.” 

If you’ve seen the 2006 film, “The Prestige,” you will remember the movie’s title refers to the final act of any great magic trick. The first act is “The Pledge” in which the magician shows the audience something ordinary—a deck of cards, perhaps. For the second act, “The Turn,” the magician makes the ordinary item do something extraordinary, like making the cards disappear. But that’s not enough. We want the magician to make the cards reappear. “That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part called ‘The Prestige,'” explains Michael Caine’s character in the film’s opening scene.

Here, then, is how to observe Apple’s magical marketing next Tuesday.

The Pledge: Apple will present a few ordinary items—usually giant charts with trend lines all pointing upward—aimed toward Wall Street analysts and the Apple fan faithful.

The Turn: Apple will present a series of upgrades to features on existing products and then a series of new products that will take something ordinary and make it extraordinary: A boring old iPhone 5 will be transformed into an extraordinary iPhone 6, or geeky wearable technology that any normal person would refuse to wear will be transformed into wearable technology that looks cool.

But this isn’t enough: We want Apple to do something more.

The Prestige: While the audience is focused on how the new iProduct will measure their health vitals, control their home’s thermostat, locate their lost dog, and alert their flying car to come pick them up, abracadabra, Apple will do what most marketers (and their CEOs) find impossible to do: Apple will stop saying anything about the new products being better. Instead, they’ll pull a rabbit out of the hat and produce owners of those new products who have become new versions of themselves. They are slimmer, more productive, more connected with their grandchildren, more creative.

The magic for marketers: The lesson from Apple’s product launch will be this: A better version of something ordinary is not enough. Customers don’t want an improved iProduct. They want to be an improved I.

(Photo: Thinkstock.com)

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