In 1984 Apple released the most famous and least-broadcasted television ad of all time: 1984, celebrating individuality and creativity. Man against the machine, one again the collective, a woman against Big Brother.
Motorola’s 2011 Xoom ad brilliantly references 1984 and juxtaposes Apple then – challenger, upstart, weak, facing established titans against insurmountable odds – with Apple now – the giant of the mobile device industry.
Where 1984 shows grey assembly-line men in grey lines in a grey room (reminiscent in post-iMac times as the omnipresent beige of pre-second-coming-of-Steve PCs), Xoom shows white-clothed clones with white wires leading to their ears. Where 1984’s hero(ine) is a woman; Xoom’s hero is a man. 1984 is colorless in blacks and greys; Xoom is colorless in whites, stainless steel, and glass.
The symbolism could not be clearer.
It’s brilliant and evocative, as well as dangerous. By explicitly referencing Apple as leader, Motorola is casting itself as underdog. True, but not necessarily the positioning of a winner.
The penultimate point of the ad comes when the hero uses his Xoom to take a picture (which an iPad can’t yet do) of flowers and send it to a white girl in a white hood. She gets it … and then in a movement exploding with symbolism pulls her white iPod-like earbuds out.
The ad cuts to a Xoom tablet with the words: “the tablet to create a better world.” Which of course also explicitly references Apple’s desire – embodied in the 1984 ad – to improve people’s lives.
Brilliant. Exquisitely shot and edited. And it even works well on a product placement level.
This is part of an occasional series on iPad use cases … or, more generally, tablet computing. All are written on my iPad.
Today I needed a break from the office – a break from my desk, and a break from sitting. But I had an important email to review, with a long PDF document that I had to read, understand, and respond to.
So I picked up my iPad, opened Mail, and headed outside. Found the message and opened the PDF … and started to review the document in the fresh air of a beautiful morning. PDF documents are wonderful to read on iPad … each page basically is a screenful in portrait (vertical) mode, and looks stunning.
It was a perfect to both recharge the batteries a little and get some work done.
Easy to carry, easy to view, great visual quality even outdoors with bright sunlight nearby.
Can’t thin, of anything bad at the moment.
Would have been nice to be able to annotate that PDF and send it back
“Most eBook readers, for whatever reason, are priced at about the level of a low-end netbook, which proves to be a significant barrier,” Mitchell said. “A tablet that is both an eBook reader and a netbook-like device would make it much more attractive to your everyday user. Plus, interactivity will bring new content and media that hasn’t been imagined yet.”
On Wednesday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple's newest gadget could be a hub for all kinds of media: magazines, newspapers, books, text books, music, games, and video. All of that has been speculated about before, but the target demographic and the primary use for the device–which falls somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop–has been more of a mystery. Now it seems we’re starting to have a clearer picture: the device has been purposely designed to be shared between members of a household as easily as possible, according to one of the Journal’s unnamed sources.
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”
Is this a marriage of convenience between an Apple iMac and a new Tablet, possibly (please!) to be announced at MacWorld in the next couple of weeks?
What a brilliant idea … portable tablet on the road, around the house, in the boardroom … and full-size keyboard, mouse, and line-of-sight positioning on the desk. The rough sketch is from an Apple patent application.
However, they seem to be fitting it into the subportable notebook space. I personally wonder if it isn’t a tablet … a huge iPhone. The possibilities are intriguing … hook it in to charge up, take it out to lounge on the sofa catching up on blogs or watching your favorite TV online.
In the workplace, take it out to the meeting, take it out to the conference. Use the on-screen keyboard, use multi-touch, maybe even use speech. Back in the office, hook it in to charge, use your keyboard and mouse, and generally use it as a desktop computer.