Tesla won't be streaming today's unveiling of the D (and something else) at the Hawthorne airport outside of LA. Considering the feverish anticipation behind tonight's reveal, that seems like a hugely missed opportunity because Tesla announcements are beginning to have the same aura as Apple events.
The comparison between Tesla and Apple – or Elon Musk and Steve Jobs – is getting as well-worn as the Iron Man thread. But since Musk's tweet last week, there's been an endless stream of speculation, rumors, and leaks that feels remarkably Apple-esque in its coverage. And Musk knew exactly what he was doing when he hit send at 6:30 PM last Wednesday.
Sitting in a room with his communications team hashing over the details of tonight's announcement, Musk said he wanted to tweet the graphic – designed for the invite sent to journalists and owners – as a teaser. With over one million followers, his comms crew knew what would happen, and of course, so did Musk.
Apple's invites, while not tweeted out by CEO Tim Cook, get an inane level of dissection and analysis without providing any solid clues. What does the graphic mean? What does the phrasing imply? If you take all the letters and jumble up, what does it spell?
Similarly, the timing of the invite – sent out a seven days before the event – is also reminiscent of Apple. Most automakers give us weeks' or months' worth of notice about a new unveiling, but Tesla kept things under wraps until it was good and ready. Again, like Apple, providing some buffer time to get things just right.
The only things that's missing is a live video stream of tonight's proceedings. That's become a staple of Apple events (and quickly copied by Google, Microsoft, Samsung, etc.), and Tesla's done it before. When Musk wanted to show off the 90-second battery swap last year, it put on an elaborate dog-and-pony show that was streamed by thousands. (Then again, we know how that turned out.)
And maybe that's part of the issue. Unlike Apple, which painstakingly creates a detailed PowerPoint (sorry, Keynote) presentation, Tesla can't exact the same level of control outside a building, on a runway, as the sun sets. But considering the amount of attention and excitement the D announcement is garnering, you'd figure Elon – of all people – would find a way to let anyone with an internet connection tap into the zeitgeist. Not just because he probably wants to, but because he should.