Yesterday, in front of 100 million Super Bowl viewers, Apple delivered its answer:
In a 60-second blockbuster commercial, Apple claimed that it really is Big Brother — and we’ll all be better off for it.
The commercial is an ironic take on the famous 1984 Super Bowl ad, in which a young Apple cast itself as the brave revolutionary acting against Big Brother. Now the tables have turned.
In the 2011 version, we see a gangling nerd dressed in Android-branded shorts, armed only with a peashooter. He’s being chased by Apple-logoed Thought Police who wave their iDevices in a menacing manner. He reaches a chamber where bland automatons mindlessly gaze at Steve Jobs as Big Brother. Heroically, the runner aims his peashooter at the screen — but is quickly tackled by Thought Police and brutally beaten. We hear Brother Steve prattle on with his propaganda:
Today, we celebrate the fourth glorious anniversary of the iOS Purification Directives. We have created a walled garden of pure ideology. Our Unification of Thought will cause our enemies to fragment into oblivion. We are one cult, with one will, one resolve, with one OS. Our enemies shall release apps without approval, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!
“Look,” says Steve Jobs in response to a customer email, “we’re not talking about the scary kind of Big Brother. Apple is the good kind of Big Brother. It’ll be fine. You’re thinking about it too much.”
Apple has taken swift action to step into the Big Brother role. Less than 24 hours after airing the commercial, it is pushing out mandatory, simultaneous OS updates for Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Across all Apple products, FaceTime will now include Big Brother mode, which allows Apple to influence every aspect of your life.
“Think of it as an expanded version of Parental Control,” says Apple VP of Marketing Phil Schiller. “The only difference is, now Apple does the monitoring and you have no control.”
Apple’s Super Bowl commercial ends by openly scorning the efforts of its chief competitor. Echoing the famous last line of the 1984 spot, a message scrolls across the screen:
In 2011, Google will introduce Android 3.0. And you’ll see why Apple couldn’t care less.