I don’t know if you have seen this Verizon Wireless commercial about trading in your iPhone 5 for the iPhone 6. I seem to be getting this commercial everywhere. This has got to be a glitch in the ad serving software. I don’t have Verizon. I don’t have an iPhone. I have never had an iPhone. And I’m on record as being pretty negative toward Apple, which I think is one of the very worst high tech companies.
The problem is not just that Apple has spent the last 25 years doing little other than suing every other high tech company under the sun for copyright violations they are only taken seriously in the United States where the judicial system is strictly pay-to-play. They also are not not not innovators. I don’t know how people can miss this. They are at best a packaging company and at worse a branding company.
At least in the old days, their hardware products were well built. Their computers came with the very best components. This is not so anymore! As other companies have come out with computers that are arguably as sexy, Apple has responded by putting out worse products. I don’t know why. I remember reading a quote from (I think) Steve Wozniak in an old book that went something like this, “Apple isn’t a computer; it’s a lifestyle.” He meant that in a good way. And God knows, this fact is good for sales. So let the lemmings have their overpriced devices and I will still be getting work done with whatever happens to be in front of me (which sometimes is an Apple product).
So I think the fact that Verizon is advertising the hell out of this iPhone 6 upgrade is yet another manifestation of this. Given that the iPhone 6 is not a fundamental improvement on the iPhone 5, you’ve got to sell it as the best thing in the world. It reminds me of grim years when Microsoft kept the world enslaved to MS-DOS. Oh! My! God! Version 3 is out! And it is better than Version 2 because… Did I mention Version 3 is out!
Now this commercial might be great for the kind of people who just have to have the latest and greatest Apple device. It just fills me with guilt and regret and anxiety. In it, Paul reads about this great new deal where he gets to upgrade to an iPhone 6 for FREE. (That’s right: it is all in capitals.) And Paul’s phone acts like the girlfriend who thinks she is about to be dumped. It ends with, “Sure, you loved you old iPhone. But you’ll love your free new iPhone you trade it for even more.”
I hate this commercial because I think breaking up with a lover is one of the worst things in the world. I would much rather be dumped than have to dump someone. I have to have a really good reason. (Sadly, I have.) And this guy is dumping his lover-surrogate for what? Because the camera in the iPhone 6 has a true-tone flash? Because of the supposed 10% increase in battery life? Because of the supposed 20% increase in CPU speed? Because the base model has exactly the same amount of memory? As Trusted Reviews says, even while salivating over the phone, “There isn’t an objective reason, at this stage, to upgrade from an iPhone 5S.”
But am I alone in thinking the commercial is also vaguely sexist? The female voice on the phone sounds like a battered woman. “You’ve always treated me horribly, but please don’t leave me! I’ll be better!” And Paul seems very much like a lot of guys I knew when I was that age who were constantly worried that they was “settling.” When they were in relationships, they were always looking around to see if there wasn’t some other woman who might be better.
Don’t take this as me not getting the ad. I get it. I think it’s clever. I also think it appeals to exactly the market segment that Apple is most dependent on: people who think they can make up for the total lack of a soul through the purchases they make.