Apple airs 4 new iPhone 4 ads and they're all about FaceTime

Apple has begun airing 4 new iPhone 4 commercials and once again, it's all about FaceTime, and heavy on the emotion and sentimentality. Titled Smile, Meet Her, Big News, and Haircut, each focuses on a moment of shared intimacy, of insecurity and anticipation, of surprise and joy. And they do it in a way that makes the visual integral to he communication.

Again, incredibly smart advertising on Apple's part, and another step towards mainstreaming video calling and the way they're doing it...

It's no longer about their being an app for that. Now it's about there being a phone -- specifically iPhone 4 -- for that.

Videos after the break.

[YouTube.com/apple via 9to5Mac]

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

49 Comments
  • These are cute commercials, would be even cutter if I had an iphone 4 and could use facetime, le sigh.
  • @Dionte
    You should go buy one then. ;-)
  • "their", really? Let me help:
    It’s no longer about there being an app for that. Now it’s about there being a phone — specifically iPhone 4 — for that.
  • I should have finished watching the videos before being snarky, but I want to say that Apple's ad agency does a pretty good job of tugging at the heart strings. I can't speak to their efficacy, but I think they're good.
  • These are actually pretty sweet. Especially "Smile." That was pretty cute. Lots of emotion in these.
  • I still find it hilarious that they are holding the phone "wrong" in many of the ads, if you judge by how they said not to hold it to avoid reception issues.
  • Reminds me of that episode of MadMen and Don Draper:
    "Well, technology is a glittering lure. But there is a rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash – if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in house at a fur company, with this old pro of a copywriter, a Greek, named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new.” It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. He also talked about a deeper bond with a product: nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. [starts slide show featuring photos of Draper's family.] Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and a round, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved."
  • This is what Apple does so well. Video calls are available on the Evo on Sprint but Apple makes it all about the human experience rather than the spec experience.
  • Wow, and yet again Apple advertises the phone being held incorrectly with no signal loss. This is false advertisement to the MAX.
    Sickening... And, I found these ads so cheesy and uncomfortable. They should've gotten people who actually know each other to have real conversations.
  • Too bad grandpa doesn't even know what a wifi signal is let alone have one. So to facetime is useless to many if their environment is not the way Apple envisioned it should be.
  • @Michael Jones the reception issue is using 3G, FaceTime uses Wifi. Ads are correct.
  • These not so much, but the previous FaceTime commercial and the design of iPhone 4 itself reminded me less of Mad Men and more of Adrian Viedt at the end of Watchmen. A genius at marketing, it was all about what was new in the next millennium at first -- then when society was afraid and post-apocalyptic imagery infested the culture, it became all about nostalgia.
  • I LOVE FACETIME!!! It rocks!!
  • why they got the black man looking all bad...they could have at least cut his hair
  • How come in all these commercials they are holding the phone "That Way"?
  • These comercials are dumb and i guarentee they sell no phones as soon as someone older walks in and apple says o its only over wifi there like o ok nevermind i saw it myself picking up my iphone if apple would join the real world they two would realize this
  • is amazing how apple is "connecting people" :) i really would like to have one iPhone 4 maybe i get one in december from second hand because i live in peru and here delay to arrive the iphone :(
  • They can hold it 'that way' because FaceTime uses WiFi to connect you dummies!!!
  • sorry these are more creepy then informational...the acting is very odd too.
  • @bru-man,
    Maybe your Grandparents livemin the stone age but today's Grandparents are much more hip to tech. They may not know how it works or how to fix it when it doesn't but that doesn't mean they don't know how to use it.
  • @Ben:
    I'm far from a dummy.
    Look at the bars on the iPhones in this video. They appear to be full bars. That's what I'm talking about. It's a completely inaccurate visual representation.
  • @Ben:
    Nevermind, it appears I am a dummy as there are no bars in this video... That would annoy me not to be able to see the time during a call...
  • Video calls?
    iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only isn't it?
    That would be like emails being outlook to outlook only. That wouldn't go down too well.
  • @Adam. You are such a tard. Seriously. And btw brain surgeon, nobody I know of 16 people has an issue with their iPhone 4. But don't let facts get in your way. Oh, and an understanding of the technology.
    Love when whiney trolls come out and prove how stupid they are for all to see.
    Thanks for the laughs...
  • facetime is going to be a relatively rarely used feature in the long run. wifi only, and awkward when compared to making a normal phone call. i have an iphone 4 and have never used facetime. even when my wife trades up from her 3GS i doubt we will use it any more than a couple of times to try it out.
    it is probably most useful to young parents who want to show off their new kid, since the kid can't talk. that could inspire a round or two of facetime.
    it is easy to forget that the iPhone is an aspirational consumer product, because it has actual utility. yes, many of the things it does [maps and navigation and camera and spontaneous info search] are core features and very functional, but the iphone is also aspirational like a sports car or an SUV.
    people buying sports cars mostly very rarely race them, but they'd like to think they could. people who own SUVs rarely climb mountains with them, but like to think it possible.
    people buying iphone 4 probably won't use facetime much, but would like to believe they are like of the attractive and emotionally sensitive people from the ads who do use the feature. they aspire to "authenticity" like the "authentic" moments and emotions in these ads, which it think are more theatrical than realistic.
    but that's advertising. sell people who they would like to become is more important than selling them what they actually will become.
  • and if people will pay tens of thousands of extra dollars for the purely aspirational qualities of a sports car or SUV, they will surely also plunk down a few hundred dollars to own an aspiration iphone, which is about as conspicuous as a car.
  • First of all FaceTime (thanks for spellchecking me iPhone) is wifi only so it's not affected by the attenuation issue. Second I hate these commercials. I understand why apple is doing it but I really am not a fan of apple appealing to Tweens and old people. They're supposed to be a hip sleek company and if they're not careful they're going to end up branding themselves as the grandparents brand.
  • It's a pity FaceTime only works on WiFi
  • You did not just say there's a phone for that.
    Evo.
    And it doesn't need WiFi to work the video calling....
  • @NickF227
    the evo sure isn't a mainstream device tho is it. ? video calling is much easier using facetime than Qik and therefore suitable for the masses (the whole point that apple is making).
    when the networks are capable of dealing with the bandwidth that the iphone4 facetime creates it will also be on 3g. Fring wasn't brought to its knees when the Evo was launched was it ? You don't need WiFi to video chat using Fring.
  • I like how it now says "AT&T the nations largest WIFI network"
  • Don't worry Android fans, those copycats over at Google will copy Facetime as well....
  • I like the commercials, they're cool. I just wish that I had my own iPhone 4 so I could do some FaceTime! (waiting on the white one) Ugh, man I want the phone so bad. Been playing around w/my friend's iPhone 4. It's amazing, makes me want to throw my 3G across the room. I haven't put her phone down yet, been playing w/it all day.
  • Google copycats? Apple fans should be thrilled Android exists. How else is Apple going to figure out what old, established features to add to iOS?
  • What I don't understand about these commercials is that all the phone users are, what look like, in their own homes (or someone elses). Can't they just do this over a computer? It would make more sense to have one of the callers in an airport, coffee shop or maybe a bookstore. You know somewhere where Wi-Fi would be available and make sense for an on-the-spot FaceTime.
  • @Anonymous
    Will you buy me one :)
  • Am I the only one that found these ads to be kind of creepy?
  • @Da3linx. I'm with u on that. FaceTime . 
    Commercials .
  • It'd be nice if I knew somebody else to use this with. How many people in your inner circle is going to jump out and buy iPhone 4 just cause you got one?
  • Why would anyone think these ads are 'creepy"? Obviously, you have no emotional connection to people or moments in time that would make these resonate. You must be a cyborg :-)
    I think the first one is the best (Dad singing to his teen in braces), I thought it was sweet while the others feel forced. Grandpa looks like he's wearing Depends and barely in touch with his surroundings. Woman giving news to her beau suffers from bad acting syndrome and the haircut one doesn't connect emotionally (to me that is...).
  • The commercials work for me. The one with grandpa made me think "what if I would have had this a year ago when my daughter was born?" or now that I live in a different state, I don't get to see her every day. Now I can. I get to see when mom does her hair differently (that just happened to me last week). There was a direct link to my real world experiences in these ads. Well done Apple.
    I understand that all may not feel this way but hey, different strokes for different folks right? I don't knock anyone for thinking they're creepy or forced or just dumb. That's your opinion. I think they rock.
  • @ Victor, gen-Y prick: yeah, damn Apple for appealing to us uncool grandparents. People like you make me sick.
    Apple appeals to cool folks of all ages, especially those who are successful and have means to buy their products. How YOU fit in there is the question. You appear to be neither.
  • Apples simplicity is completely geared towards teens and the elder. If you just grasped that wow. Steve and Woz are all about being simple. Simple is easy, simple is good. Choice is bad.
  • Whoever says this won't be used is mistaken. This will eventually go 3G/4G once AT&T goes LTE and apple deems it reliable enough. AT&T will then pass it on the data side and charge the carp out of people on the new capped data plans. I'm granfathered in on the unlimited. Huh, huh, very nicce!!! However the sexting will be out of control with this feature. Apple does a great job marketing... Great job. Did they invent or release mobile chat first? NO. But who commercialized it? Who wowed you with it? Apple, well played sir, well played. And I did try this feature out this past weekend when we baby sat my niece. Her parents were in the hospital preparring for her sister to be born. And the look on my two year olds niece face whenever she waved and said... Thats poppi, hi poppi amd blew a kiss... Priceless. I think I was even more excited for her getting to share a precious life connecting moment.
  • IT Would be even better if we didn't need Wifi!!!
  • @ Alexander says: "Why would anyone think these ads are ‘creepy”? Obviously, you have no emotional connection to people or moments in time that would make these resonate. You must be a cyborg :-)"
    You're missing the point. They're creepy because these moments are not actually happening. Yes, the same is true in movies, but the difference here is that this is an ad campaign designed to sell a product through emotion. It's weird.
    Just another corporation trying to capitalize on human emotions. I find it sad that people actually like these commercials. They really got us on a string, you know that?
    Now go bow down to your corporate masters...
  • It's also creepy because it feels like watching in on other people's private and intimate moments / conversations. I have no emotional interest whatsoever in strangers talking about having a baby together or a father singing to his daughter, etc. Yet the commercial forces these things on us and expects us to get emotionally vested. It's weird and very, very creepy. I agree.
  • I thought the father-daugher commercial was a real creepy one. Creepiest of them all. kinda seemed like he was the pimp, pervert, and she just wouldnt give in. It took me a while to understand.
  • Thats not really a really huge statement, but its all I could come up with after reading this.