CTIA leans in to the Apple punch

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

All eyes were on Cupertino this morning, even – or maybe particularly – eyes that had flown to Las Vegas with the intent of being briefly at the center of the mobile telecommunications universe. So CTIA made the smart move, and built its opening keynote session around Apple’s iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcements this morning.

New CTIA president Meredith Attwell Baker made her rookie appearance, earnest enough but lacking the easy stage presence of her predecessors in the job, like FCC chair Tom Wheeler, who was next up on the stage. A forgettable discussion about mobile video followed. And then it was time to bring up a panel of commentators – panel moderator and CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin, Shelly Palmer, Chetan Sharma and Glenn Tinley – and put Apple’s event up on the big ballroom screen.

Except Apple was having video problems. Or at least that appeared to be the case. The live feed cut in and out, giving everyone a laugh and panelists a chance talk about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement of the iPhone 6 and 6-plus, and accompanying mobile wallet and health and fitness features and services. It wasn’t quite up to MST 3K standards, but it was more entertaining than just sitting and watching Apple’s production.

Finally, with “the crowd there in Cupertino clearly going wild”, as Boorstin put it, Cook intoned “we have one more thing” and rolled out the Apple Watch (more about that later). By contrast, the crowd here in Las Vegas was, in turns, amused and bored with the announcement. But not dismissive. Apple’s high-end hardware was clearly the highlight of the show in Las Vegas today, even though it’s not even here.