Apple stopped putting on a show for meThe moment the lights went up to reveal to a standing ovation. And it was not putting on a show for you – the customer and prospective subscriber – anymore either. If it has been released, it may or may not be available at launch.
Instead, from Spielberg toand all the stars in between, Apple brought its Hollywood talent to Cupertino, California, to worship them and their craft.
Do not believe me? Apple literally put them on pedestals.
"It appeared to be an advertisement that they're ready to attract high-quality talent and they're willing to spend," BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said in an interview Thursday. They were not selling this to end users. "
Apple loves the creative community – and the feeling is mutual. Apple has just star power to come– and Spielberg-level wattage to show up and effuse about their excitement to work with the company.
Despite my hopes, Apple's event did not set its talent loose to start gabbing about their projects. Apple's event lifted the veil of secrecy over its programming – but quickly dropped it back down. I have 30 actors, actresses and filmmakers present in the Steve Jobs theater that day. None would share the reactions to the event on the record.
But they did not fit their social feeds with warm fuzzies for Apple .
The result is a hard reset on the perception of Apple's relationship with its talent.
Apple as clueless meddlers in the high-octane shows they've been booked. Carpool Karaoke, one of Apple's first stabs at its original music subscription service, was  to remove "foul language and references to vaginal hygiene," according to Bloomberg. Apple executives allegedly were "intrusive" about how their programs depict technology, with one of Tim Cook's being reportedly "Do not be so mean!"
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Putting all those stars on stage meant "it sounds like [Apple’s] great to work with," Laura Martin, senior internet and media analyst at Needham and Co., said Thursday. "You can not buy Steven Spielberg."
But Hollywood does not have much to do with Hollywood talent board.
For one, it's paying top dollar. Even Netflix, Hollywood has a lot to offer, and it has a lot of talent for its big budgets and huge base of viewers. Even among the Apple stars assembled at Cupertino this week, several are Netflix talent too.
Michelle Dockery, best known as Lady Mary on Downton Abbey, wants to star in Apple's Defending Jacob, after she was nominated for Emmy for Netflix's Godless. Days before Brie Larson was posing for the eye-popping group photo at Apple's sleek theater lobby, she's posting the trailer to her directorial debut, Unicorn Store, from Netflix.
On the flip side, some are already interplaying Spielberg's appearance at Apple – and his past dismissiveness about Netflix as a film distributor – as the legendary director Netflix heavyweight bout.
Unlike Netflix, Apple does not have a single video subscriber yet. But it has 900 million active iPhones in everyone's pockets and is estimated to be a $ 2 billion annual budget for programming. Even without Apple's sheen, any company would not invest sweat scoring meetings with Hollywood's elite.
If Apple's message to customers had it itself in a programming giant to rival HBO or Netflix, it delivered mostly with sleight of hand. Apple's celebrity presenters had the chance to create excitement about their projects – and Apple's time-tested stagecraft certainly put all its talent into the best possible light.
But last but not least we have learned. Kelly Nanjiani's Little America is the episode of Spielberg's Amazing Stories series or Kumail Nanjiani's Little America. Sure, Apple gave us a sizzle reel with snippets from many of its shows. But with multiple shows already in the can, Apple could not put together a trailer or two?
Whatever Hollywood thought of the show Apple put on Monday, we're still waiting for Apple to make a show for us. If Apple TV Plus is really, as Tim Cook put it Monday, it has more explaining to do.