A well-known commentator on the music scene has made the point many times that “tech is the new music” – in that people actually get excited about, talk about, and avidly pursue stories about their favorite hi-tech products, in a manner that they used to exhibit for their favorite bands.
Fans standing in a line overnight to buy tickets for a Stones concert have been replaced by fans camping out to buy the new iPad. The commentator’s main point being that the kind of innovation and crowd-leading (as opposed to crowd-following) that we used to expect from our musical icons is in scant supply these days, whereas you can find it in places like Apple.
Now, for the record, I — speaking as a dedicated Apple user — find waiting in a long line to buy a new iPad or iPhone a bit much. When I decided to buy an iPad for the first time, I encountered a huge crowd outside the Santa Monica Apple Store. An Apple employee explained to me that it was the Friday the first iPad with 3g was being released, so I asked him “Don’t they realize they can just come back Monday and buy one without waiting hours in a line?” His diplomatic answer was a shrugging “Some people want to be first.”
Which I took to mean “yes, it is kinda weird, but from our perspective, yippee.”
Having said all that, I find the Samsung “next big thing” commercials to be insufferably smug, pugnacious, and downright insulting. They make me sorry I bought a Samsung widescreen (except it’s totally bitchen, so not really).
Their message seems to be people who like their iPhones are stupid. Being a person who likes his iPhone, my response to Samsung would be along the lines of go fuck yourself.
You’ve all seen the commercials. Fans standing outside an Apple Store waiting to buy the iPhone 5 encounter demographically-hip Samsung phone users, and are fascinated and dismayed to learn what they’re missing. The people in the line are, of course, laughable (“You silly Apple users. When will you learn?”).
And when the young woman sees two demo-hip Samsung users do the impossibly cool thing of (wait for it….) clicking their phones together to swap playlists, she reacts like the apes to the monolith in the beginning of “2001″.
It’s like, OMG, I’ve got to get one of those and have Felicia get one so we can click them together! Because as everyone knows cloud-sharing is not nearly as cool as clicking your phones together. Which probably damages the phone after a certain amount of playlists, but who cares right? It’s so cool.
My favorite part is the crestfallen looks on the faces of the people in line when they find out the urban-nebbish-demo-hip guy has merely been saving a place in line for…oh, horrors! It can’t be! His parents! MIDDLE-AGED PEOPLE LIKE THE SAME PHONE I LIKE!
And, of course, they’re stupid in a laughably cute, khaki-dressed, middle-aged way: “Is this the line for the apps?” In contrast to the all-knowing phone-clicking duo in the other commercial, walking away with that thinly-veiled contempt, that snorking “See ya later.”
This ad campaign’s message is so combative, so openly hostile, it makes me as an Apple user want to join the fight and defend Apple products. Which (and this is my message) is absurd. Read my lips, people: phones, tablets, and computers are TOOLS.
They are either useful or not, depending on what you need them for. I find mine extremely useful, perhaps too useful. I turn to my iPad at every free moment. But I assure you this possibly troubling addiction wasn’t created by Apple marketing, but rather by my own satisfaction and reliance on the ways in which I put my iPad to use.
And, as hard as it may be for Samsung to understand, it doesn’t bother me if other people like their tablets, their phones. Imagine being put out because your neighbor preferred a Craftsman hammer to…okay, I don’t know any other tool brands.
But you take my point. If my niece prefers her Samsung Galaxy, why should I care? And vice versa. I totally understand that a company wouldn’t like seeing people lined up around the block to buy a rival’s product.
But I’m not sure insulting those very people in order to get them to try your product instead is a wise choice.
I haven’t yet bought the iPhone 5; I’ll wait until I can walk into a store and walk out with one. But, as I understand it, the already-terrific camera is now better, the processor is noticeably faster, the retina screen looks great, the earbuds sound better and are more comfortable (I’ve got ‘em so I can confirm), incoming calls sound clearer as do outgoing calls…These are all good things. Maybe that guy in line should be blowing his mind over those, as opposed to the headphone jack being on the bottom.
Final word. Samsung schmucks: I’ll spot you 50 points and still kick your ass in Scrabble. Watch who you’re calling stupid.