Apple's October keynote was dominated by white dudes — again


At Thursday's "Hello Again" event, Apple presented its new MacBook Pro and their breakout feature, the Touch Bar. As with any high-profile product demonstration, it was an opportunity for Apple to broadcast the evolving face of the company and its leadership — especially after repeated criticism leveled at Apple for its diversity issues.

At the September iPhone 7 keynote event, women were noticeably absent, speaking for about eight minutes while men spoke for 99. 

While introducing the MacBook Pro on Thursday, Apple showed some progress in gender parity onstage: Women spoke for approximately 16 minutes while men — mostly CEO Tim Cook, SVP of marketing Phil Schiller and SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi — spoke for 57. 


Mic reached out to Apple for comment and will update with any response. 

Whom Apple chooses to grace its keynote stage is important. And diversity initiatives shouldn't stop at having women onstage, having an African-American onstage or having a Canadian onstage. It's also important to look at how much time is dedicated to each group. Representation is about more than checking off boxes with brief cameos.

Room for improvement

The October event began to shrink the disparity between the time men and women are granted onstage, but there's still a lot of space for growth. 

First of all, this event carried a fraction of the hype of the iPhone 7 keynote. Additionally, like with Apple's iPhone event, women were exclusively brought onstage to demo a feature or product that a man had already unveiled

Apple design lead Jen Folse demoed new Apple TV features. Apple vice president of product management and marketing Susan Prescott showed off video editing features using the already announced Touch Bar. Adobe experience design manager Bradee Evans — not an Apple employee — was the third woman brought onstage. Evans also showed off Photoshop features using the previously announced Touch Bar.

As for racial diversity, Thursday's event was as dismal as ever. Apple's own representation onstage was virtually 100% white — which, sadly, reflects the diversity in Apple's leadership.


Just like at the iPhone 7 keynote, people from underrepresented minority groups who took the stage Thursday all happened to work for other companies. 

The September event featured two black men — Nike Brand president Trevor Edwards and Instagram head of design Ian Spalter — neither of whom work at Apple. 

This month, José Hernández, a designer at Twitter, took the stage to demo tweet integration in Apple TV broadcasts. He didn't get to speak.