Author Topic: Apple celebrates holiday iPhone zombies (Apple's Dishonest Holiday Ad)  (Read 318 times)

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Offline mountaineer

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by Kyle Smith
New York Post
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One of many heartbreaking moments in Spike Jonze’s woefully insightful new film “Her” comes toward the end, when the nebbish played by Joaquin Phoenix is speaking to a computer program he has fallen in love with and glances up around him at a subway entrance: Everyone else is whispering gently into their smart phones too, oblivious of their actual surroundings. They’ve all become characters in a virtual reality that has displaced their actual lives.

“Her” is set about 10 minutes into the future, which is why it’s so dead-on. Now when you walk into a restaurant, you might see a handsome couple on a date sitting inches apart and utterly ignoring one another, each tapping away on a smartphone in total silence. I imagine each of them texting, “I can’t believe how boring my date is.”

This week, a woman checking Facebook on her smartphone plunged off a pier in Melbourne. Last year a woman fell into Lake Michigan while texting. A Texas man drove off a bridge and nearly died shortly after sending a text saying, “I need to quit texting.” An Ohio State University study recently found 1,500 people were treated in nearby emergency rooms for cell phone-related injuries in a year, a tripling from previous years. In Seattle, researchers found that texters were four times as likely to disregard traffic signals while crossing streets.

All of this is less disturbing than the probability that our smart phones, these magical gizmos of connectedness, are turning us into disconnected loners untethered to reality.

Apple knows it has turned us into iZombies, and has become defensive about it, releasing its own little movie arguing that there’s some upside to this depressing new reality.

Its new 90-second commercial, “Misunderstood,” centers on a teenaged lost soul who refuses to take part in a Yuletide family reunion. As family members build snowmen and exchange hugs, he hangs off to the side by himself, forever sulking into his iPhone.

It turns, though, that he’s not only aware of the festivities around him but he’s been carefully filming and editing the sweetest moments into a home movie that he climactically debuts on the living room TV, to general merriment and wonder. At the end of the home movie, he includes a shot of himself doing something we haven’t seen him do before: He smiles.

Now they get it: The weird loner, the emotionless little gadget monkey who never talks to anyone, is actually a proto-Spielberg who loves his family and is destined to warm hearts by the millions.

Apple’s intended message is that if you get an iPhone, you’ll be more in the moment, more in harmony with your surroundings, more lovingly connected than ever before.

In the history of nice tries, this one has to rank just below the mid-century effort by the tobacco industry to assuage fears about the safety of its products: One ad declared, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” Another: “Tests showed 3 out of every 4 cases of smoker’s cough cleared on changing to Philip Morris.”

As pitches go, “Buy an iPhone in order to get in touch with loved ones sitting on the couch next to you” makes about as much sense as teaching the world to sing by buying it a Coke.

We’re supposed to forgive the “Misunderstood” kid because he’s a talented filmmaker, but he is still missing out on the game by turning himself into a sideline cameraman. Everybody loves the end result because people like to look at images of themselves, but that doesn’t excuse the creepiness of his technologically-aided self-alienation. Picture a teen novelist who does nothing at your family gathering but stand by silently and take notes. Pretty irritating, no?

Moreover, the “Misunderstood” spot is a nonsequitur: Chances are the kid at your family gathering who is fixated on his iPhone is watching a video or texting peers about how lame you are or playing Candy Crush Saga, not making a movie about his vast love for family.

There is no twist in real life: Most iZombies actually are oblivious to their surroundings.

Anheuser-Busch could make a heartwarming commercial about a guy who downs 12 Bud Lights and then, on the drive home, skillfully steers around a baby stroller that suddenly rolls into the street in front of him, but that wouldn’t be a very accurate representation of what beer does for your driving skills. Let’s not overlook what the iPhone is doing to us.

About 10 minutes in the future, there are going to be holiday dinners during which 12 relatives sit at a table, each of them ignoring the others while silently watching a different video on his iPhone. Maybe at least some of them will be watching cute commercials about the importance of holiday family gatherings.

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Online Oceander

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Re: Apple celebrates holiday iPhone zombies (Apple's Dishonest Holiday Ad)
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2013, 09:37:07 AM »
For all the doom and gloom, the author misses the many ways in which these devices do, in fact, make it easier for people to connect and get together.  For example, I did some last minute xmas shopping yesterday; I couldn't think of a thing to get for my sister's kids, so I sent a quick text to her asking for ideas and then continued looking for gifts for my brother's kids, for whom I already had some ideas.  Half an hour later I got a text back from my sister and had gifts for her four kids within 20 minutes.  Pre-smartphone I could not have accomplished that; instead, I would have had to either get them gifts that they might very well not like (perhaps this is why we used to get so many ugly sweaters and packs of socks for xmas when we were kids), or I would have had to trudge home, call her up, trudge back to the store, and finally get those same gifts.

Technology is a mere instrument, how it affects you - what you choose to do with it - is up to you.  Blaming smartphones for peoples' disconnection from each other is a little like blaming guns for shootings; the blame lies with the mind behind the finger that pulls the trigger, not the trigger.

Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Apple celebrates holiday iPhone zombies (Apple's Dishonest Holiday Ad)
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 11:46:20 AM »
There has always been those who just want to hide behind something during the holidays. Not everything is a postcard Christmas meal. Dad behind his camera, mom in the kitchen, kids with headphones on, brother watching football, grandma trying to host everyone and pick up dishes. The mode doesn't change the need for some to step away from the overt socialization.
Никогда не обманывайте себя мыслью, что вы «влияете» или вносите изменения в Интернет. Это эфемерное удовольствие.

Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Apple celebrates holiday iPhone zombies (Apple's Dishonest Holiday Ad)
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 11:56:40 AM »
Anyway.... with cousin Pajamaboy trying to tell everyone about Obamacare, who wouldn't want to hide behind Angry Birds?
Никогда не обманывайте себя мыслью, что вы «влияете» или вносите изменения в Интернет. Это эфемерное удовольствие.

Online Oceander

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Re: Apple celebrates holiday iPhone zombies (Apple's Dishonest Holiday Ad)
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 06:08:54 PM »
Anyway.... with cousin Pajamaboy trying to tell everyone about Obamacare, who wouldn't want to hide behind Angry Birds?

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