Rob McGinley Myers, on his thoughts about Apple’s latest ad, Misunderstood:
A lot of people are writing about Apple’s latest commercial for the iPhone. Gruber thinks it’s their best ad of the year, Kottke calls it one of their best ever. Nick Heer compares it to Don Draper’scarousel pitch for the slide projector. But Ben Thompson’s [take](http://stratechery.com/2013/misunderstood/ “Misunderstood stratēchery by Ben Thompson”) is my favorite because he responds to the ad’s critics, who say that Apple is “promoting recording your family over actually spending time with your family.”
This criticism is indicative of the recent conventional wisdom that these devices are making usstupid, lonely, and disconnected from the real world. Thompson sees the ad as an attempt to bridge the technological/generational divide, to say the reason we’re so obsessed with our gadgets is that they can actually do amazing things.
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?
In the first half of the ad, the kid is portrayed as self-absorbed, antisocial, even rude in his attention to his iPhone. But why? Would we have seen him in such a negative light if he had been reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, or writing in a journal, or drawing in a sketchpad, or noodling on a guitar? The magical, revolutionary thing about an iPhone (and I say this unironically) is that it can become a novel, a journal, a sketchbook, a musical instrument, or a video camera/video editor (with apps like iBooks, Day One, Paper, Garageband, and iMovie among many others).