Apple just posted their holiday iPhone commercial:

This is what I’m talking about. It’s not about specs, it’s not about thinness, it’s about what those physical properties make possible for real people.

Now please do the same for the iPad (which has always been harder to advertise).


  • Whither Liberal Arts link
  • The Magical iPad link
  • Whose iPad Life link

UPDATE: While reaction around the web is largely positive, I’ve also seen a fair bit of snark along the lines of “Apple is promoting recording your family over actually spending time with your family”, or something to that effect. And, I suppose it is true that it’s advantageous from Apple’s perspective for incessant iPhone use to be seen as a good thing.

But I think that’s a touch too cynical, and misses the impact of this ad. What make this ad so powerful is that it is so, so real. Oh sure, the perfection of the recording and the happy coincidence of the grandparents having an AppleTV is perhaps not so plausible, but the idea of a teenage son being disconnected, yet ultimately, deep down inside, still caring, will touch the soul of parents – and young adults – in a way few ads ever will. This shot captures it:

Mom is in tears after seeing the video
Mom is in tears after seeing the video

There are countless moms and dads out there who desperately want to connect with their children, who fear the best days are already past, and worry about the kind of person they are becoming.

On the flipside, how many young people – including, I’d wager, many reading this blog – have parents who just don’t get us, who see technology as a threat, best represented by that “can-you-put-that-damn-thing-down-and-join-us-in-the-real-world!?” smartphone in our hands, without any appreciation that it’s that phone and the world it represents that has allowed us to find ourselves and become the person we know they wanted us to be? And that we do care, just in a way that makes sense to us and can’t they see that?

By letting go of tangible product features – and, by exploiting a brand promise developed over the last decade1 – Apple is associating its flagship product with the happy resolution of that deep-seated longing on both sides, resulting in an emotion far more real than any possible articulation of a feature or spec.

This is advertising at its finest.

  1. This is the necessary precondition that makes it impossible for most companies to pull off an ad like this