New iPhone commercial takes aim at Samsung, focuses on Photos Every Day

Apple has aired a new iPhone commercial, Photos Every Day. Unlike previous, recent commercials, it eschews cheery music, chanting, and a rapid fire parade of apps to focus on the camera and a select few camera apps, and on capturing those special moments, at a variety of times, in a variety of places, under a wide variety of conditions. It's a return to the "technology is not enough"-style commercial, the kind they once used for the iPad 2 when spec-splattering Android tablets first began hitting the market.

At first glance, it might seem like a reaction to something like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One cameras, both of which boast optical image stabilization (OIS), among other technologies, that help improve photos under low-light when subjects are relatively stationary. However, while they're great phones and great cameras, neither of them will likely sell in anything approaching numbers meaningful enough to Apple. The just-launched Samsung Galaxy S4, on the other hands, is just as mass-market, and aimed just as much at "everyday" photography as the iPhone.

I spent much of the last week shooting photos with Alex Dobie as he prepared for his Galaxy S4 review, and while he called it the best all-around Android camera to date, to my eyes the iPhone 5 still out-shot it under a wider range of conditions, including and especially in low-light. Like the phone itself, and as usual, it came off as spec-heavy but ultimately scattered and soul-less.

Opinions on that can and will vary, however, which is likely why we're getting this commercial now, and in this way. The Galaxy S4 will be the biggest threat to iPhone 5 sales for the next few months, and the biggest challenge to the iPhone 5s when it hits the market later this year.

And it'll be just as spec-splattered as Samsung's offerings have ever been. So, as Apple did with the iPad 2, they need to once again re-frame the discussion from specs to experience.

Technology like the glass stacked inside the incredibly thin casing (that doesn't require an unsightly bump on the back), the image signal processor (ISP) baked into the custom Apple A6 processor (that's consistent across every iPhone 5 sold around the world), and the excellent software that drives it all is important, but it's not enough.

Simple, elegant, coherent apps that results in amazing looking photos whenever and wherever they're taken -- that's what matters, and that's what Apple's showing in this ad.

Rene Ritchie

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.

  • So they take on the competition by creating a new commercial? Brilliant! Here's an idea, create a better, updated OS for your phone instead of a commercial. Don't fall behind (see BlackBerry).
  • Blackberry fell behind because it couldn't do what Android and iOS could. iPhone still outsells the competition in the US, Apple doesn't have a need to change yet. If they make services much more usable and functionable, they still have the market. (see Apple)
  • But the OS is in many ways already far ahead of others. Why do you think it has the best apps? Why do you think it's the phone most used to take photos? It also has the best accessories - fitness bands, Wifi switches, Airplay - because supporting accessories on Android is a mess, each manufacturer uses some special thing of their own. That's again because Apple supports it with a reliable API in the OS. Not to mention features like iMessage and a push notifications framework for apps. Even Facebook used Apple iOS developer tools to create Home, an Android app! People are confusing changing the look of the OS with being "better".
  • True, blackberry made the switch to a brand new OS because they had too in order to do what current technology needed. Which also put them on a 10 year path with very high potential that would leave the competition behind. But right now IOS can do everything needed. They just need to change then UI up to keep it feeling fresh. I'm positive they're working on the next generation of OS from ground up though, at some level. Blackberry was caught standing still. Apple won't make that mistaje
  • Firstly, more apps in a ecosystem doesn't necessarily mean it is a better OS. The reason why developers make apps for Apple's ecosystem is mostly due to smart business. The OS with more exposure is a logical factor to deploy a new app on. Second, the third party apps give more function to any OS. But they are not inclusive. In other words, from purely an OS pointview, iOS has some pitfalls. No knock on iOS. The same is true of all other OS's. Third party apps supplement the OS functionality but not native or inclusively inherent to the OS itself. And thirdly, market share is the reason why there are so many accessories. Why invest on making accessories on a HTC Trophy (Windows Phone) or a Palm Pre (webOS)? How much will that gain? Again, it's purely a business decision. Nothing more. If any other phone had the market share that iPhone has, you would see the same for that phone.
  • You can't simply beat emotion. It always wins.
    Apple knows this more than anyone.
  • The iPhone 5 can take some amazing photos, I actually have a really amazing pano of Angel Oak in South Carolina that I took with my iPhone 5. Still one of my favorite pictures ever, but I still use my digital camera for most things.
  • I'd like to see a commercial filmed and edited completely on the iPhone. Now that is marketing genius.
  • I'd appreciate seeing the photos on the iPhone screens match the scenes being photographed--they looked pre-produced and thus defeated some of the point of the commercial for me.
  • One of the best apple ad ever. Indeed iphone 5s camera is awesome.
  • I really liked this commercial. It was simple and a nice change of what we typically see.
  • come on APPLE everyone knows that an Iphone can take pictures, what they need to do is put new features like samsung and the HTC one, picture with sound , auto focus and more
  • Agreed. But maybe what they're thinking is that specs and even feature lists aren't as simple and accessible as saying, "Other people already know that this is the best camera. Now you do, too." While I expected them to at least SHOW people tapping the screen to make darker objects more visible or brighter objects less so." *gasp* Magical!
  • Strange. The version I saw on TV looked to be from Verizon. It had their logo after the Apple logo...
  • Great commercial, this really highlight what a great camera on the iPhone. I love their commercials and it reminds me why I have an iPhone!