CUPERTINO — Apple’s Halloween Eve Mac event was actually scarier than we thought. Nothing we saw or heard was real. Every pixel, every presenter, every background was created by AI—perfectly replicating the monotonous drone of previous Apple events.
How? Why? In an exclusive interview, Scoopertino sat down with Apple’s semi-retired events guru, Phil Schiller, who took us behind the scenes.
Scoopertino: Let’s start at the beginning. What was the goal behind using AI? Why do something so radical?
Schiller: Our goal is always the same—to put on a perfect show. AI is the final frontier, so to speak. With the power of AI, we can be predictable and repetitive simply by pressing a few buttons.
Scoopertino: So tell us about the process.
Schiller: It’s actually simple. AI mines past events to create an event template. Then we just plug in the new product specs and ask AI to vary the backgrounds and create the presenters. This way, we can unveil brand-new products but still feel mind-numbingly familiar. Classic Apple.
Scoopertino: You’re saying Tim Cook was actually an AI simulation?
Schiller: Correct. Creating an AI Tim was easy because there’s not much to replicate. We tried to make him more interesting by superimposing characteristics from our AI model of Steve Jobs, like hand gestures, IQ and wardrobe… but it didn’t work. Tim is pretty much doomed to be Tim.
Scoopertino: And the other presenters?
Schiller: Totally fake. AI creates names, bodies and voices as necessary, sprinkling different ethnicities as it goes. Diversity is important at Apple.
Scoopertino: And the real Apple employees are okay with you creating fake employees?
Schiller: No one seems to have noticed.
Scoopertino: Well, moving on… It makes sense that AI can build on a basic structure. But how does it so realistically emulate the look and feel of an Apple event?
Schiller: This event was a different challenge, given the Halloween theme. So we let AI do the dark lighting, throw in a few bats, and use clever phrasings like monster speed, wicked fast and big treat.
Schiller: With the first draft assembled, we all meet in the editing suite for what Tim calls the “perfection-izing” process. That’s where we can dial up and down an amazing range of effects.
Scoopertino: You’re losing me here…
Schiller: AI gives us control over hundreds of parameters like passion, humor, talking speed, facial expressions, hand gestures, even the hype factor.
Scoopertino: Hype factor?
Schiller: You know—Apple has a rich tradition of overusing words like amazing, fantastic and incredible. With AI, we can vary the superlative controls from “tasteful” to “overbearing.” When it comes to superlatives, Tim’s favorite line is “Turn it up to 11!”
Scoopertino: So AI makes it easer for Tim to be creative?
Schiller: Yeah. Double-edged sword. Left alone at the controls one day, Tim had AI give him a Dracula cape and Transylvania accent. We talked him down from that, but you might have noticed we let him have a very subtle set of fangs.
Scoopertino: Since AI made this event so flawlessly predictable, can we assume Apple will be actively promoting AI now?
Schiller: As you know, we need to own things, and we can’t own the term AI But give Tim credit, because he came up with something even better—Artificial Excitement. Nobody does that better than Apple!
Scoopertino: No argument here, Phil.