For once, Siri wasn’t the only woman on stage.
Apple has a notoriously poor track record with inviting women on stage during its conferences. On Monday’s live event, however, CEO Tim Cook introduced model and humanitarian Christy Turlington Burns to discuss her experiences using the Apple Watch to run a half-marathon.
See also: Once Again, Apple Has No Women On Stage
Turlington Burns is exactly the kind of person Apple would like us to see sporting the Apple Watch. On stage to promote her work as a global advocate for maternal health as well as the Apple Watch, Turlington Burns was obviously there for more than just her runway-ready good looks. However, as neither an Apple developer nor employee, she was an odd choice to break Apple’s dry spell.
Am I the only one disappointed with Christy Turlington instead of Angela Ahrendts? #appleevent
— Adriana Lee (@adra_la) March 9, 2015
Turlington Burns was a refreshing speaker in a presentation full of dad jokes. Her short stint on stage left us wanting more. Rumor had it that retail chief Angela Ahrendts, a phenomenal public speaker, on stage at the conference. Cook ended up making an announcement about Apple’s newly revamped retail spaces instead.
Apple frequently shows women in its commercials as product users, but rarely showcases women developers or employees.
Women not being involved in the creation of Apple products is reflected by HealthKit tracking calories, BMI, sleep, etc. but not periods.
— Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) March 9, 2015
One reason may be that Apple is still very short on women executives, particularly in the key product and design positions who typically appear in Apple keynotes.
Perhaps Apple will take gender diversity seriously when it has an impact on sales. Many women critics have observed that while Apple’s Health app is designed to track and record biological signals like heart rate, it does not track periods or fertility, a service that women who buy iPhones and Apple Watches might be interested in. It’s hard to imagine Apple’s keynote dude crew introducing a product feature like that gracefully.
So if Apple wants to sell watches to the whole world, not just half of it, maybe it needs to rethink who it puts on stage to sell them.