Apple’s new iPhone 4 commercials all about FaceTime
By Marco Tabini, MacworldJUL 12, 2010 1:15 am PDT
Apple has released four new commercials for the iPhone 4 that complement the one that was launched shortly after the introduction of the handset.
The new commercials, titled “Meet Her,” “Haircut,” “Smile,” and “Big News,” all follow the same format, beginning in the middle of a FaceTime conversation between two users, from a grandfather seeing his newborn grandchild to a couple checking out a funky new haircut.
Most notably, the five commercials currently available for the iPhone 4 share a common characteristic: they’re all about FaceTime, with nary a mention of any of the device’s other defining features, such as its Retina Display or HD video-recording capabilities.
It’s clear that Apple sees the video-chat feature as a major selling point of the new iPhone, but not just because of the technological angle. For example, all the commercials begin mid-conversation, without any mention of how easy it is to start a FaceTime session. These spots focus on what FaceTime does for human communication and interaction, rather than just presenting it as another bullet point on the device’s specifications.
Much as Apple’s other ads for its consumer products eschew technical specifications in favor of terminology that’s easily accessible to those with limited technical knowledge, these commercials are all about people, their relationships, and how the iPhone makes it possible to connect on a level that was previously unattainable.
Of course, there’s also potentially a practical reason as to why FaceTime is so prominent: it’s the most easily demonstrable of the smartphone’s new features. Showing, say, the quality of the iPhone 4’s Retina display would be difficult on a TV screen, as the resolution of the TV would make it nearly impossible to understand what the technology is all about without juxtaposing it to either a previous iPhone or a competitor’s handset—and that’s just not Apple’s style.
The same goes for HD video-recording: although an undoubtedly important feature, the only way to showcase it without droning on about technical specifications would be to air actual high-definition clips shot on the iPhone—but those would be lost on viewers who do not have an HDTV-compatible display.
Finally, FaceTime has one important feature: it requires two iPhones. We wouldn’t want to put it past Apple to subtly point out that familial joy comes to those who equip their entire kinsfolk with the latest handsets from Cupertino.