Apple released its new television ad for Apple TV today. The concept is beautiful, and features a television test bar pattern motif that serve as windows to some of the featured titles and programs available on the platform.
While the spot is mesmerizing to watch and artfully executed, I feel like it isn’t really representative of what the ad claims this is: The Future of Television. All of the snippets highlighted in the commercial are shows and movies we’re familiar with, that are already readily available on apps and platforms we’ve been using for years. And on top of that, it feels awkwardly repetitive. Granted, there are brief glimpses into what Siri can do and what kinds of apps lend to interactivity (such as the Gilt app and games), but they come late and don’t seem deliberate. I feel like this is another contrived attempt to merge existing technologies into something we don’t need (ahem, the Apple Watch) and claim that this is the next big thing.
We’ve had our crafty mitts on 4th Gen Apple TV developer’s kit for almost two months, and we’re just about ready to participate in the #FutureOfTelevision when it comes to building stuff for it. The reviews are in, and we think it’s cool that Siri now lives on our flat screen and not just on in our pockets. It’s cool that we can use the remote control to play games. But, as the resident skeptic, I have to ask, “Future of TV? Really?”
‘Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging […] I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.’
– Jonathan Ives, Apple lead designer
We all know the fleeting satisfaction that comes with tearing a tag off a new garment, ripping the wrapper off a never-been-opened DVD case, or–wait for it—peeling off the clear plastic screen protector off a fresh iPhone. It brings us inexplicable good feelings and joy. And apparently, watching other people “unbox” new toys brings us joy, too. I would go as far to say we return an almost childlike state of being when we unbox or watch and unboxing. Earlier this year, the story of the elusive and anonymous “DC Toy Collector” went viral as the highest-earning YouTube account. That’s $4.9 million just for unwrapping toys, and is currently in 3rd place for most views. And the weirdest part? I can’t stop watching her videos. Could it be the crispy sound of fresh plastic, the texture of brand-new Play-Doh being molded for the first time between her brightly manicured fingers, or the soothing sound of her voice? It’s probably a combination of all the above, and the only scientific explanation is this: autonomous sensory meridian response, better known as ASMR: the physical sensation of tingling that often begins in the scalp and moves down through the spine and sometimes to the limbs. Like unboxing, there are bloggers who have established careers off of making ASMR videos on YouTube, but that’s a whole separate blog post for a separate (relaxing, euphoric) day. Surely it can’t be the entire psychology behind unboxing.