Apple just announced a whole bunch of products at the company’s latest event ‘Far Out’ that included the likes of iPhone 14, AirPods Pro 2, and Apple Watch Ultra, but there’s something strange about the way Apple events work nowadays. The first forty minutes of ‘Far Out’ were about Apple Watch, and a lot of that was spent grimly describing horrifying situations that an Apple product might save you from. So, all of this begs the question, is it okay Apple events are a dystopian reminder we’re all going to die?
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Are Apple’s Stories Even Real?
The short answer here is that we don’t know, but probably. CNET has a write-up of some people’s lifesaving experiences with the Apple Watch from back in 2020, so as they are, but there isn’t any confirmation of these things actually happening by way of evidence provided. However, there’s probably a good deal of truth in these stories and those told in the ‘Far Out’ event.
Apple is a gigantic company that serves billions of customers, so it’s not at all unlikely a few of them had their lives, in some way, saved by an Apple device. In part, this is truly a testament to how far technology has come, particularly consumer tech. The fact that we have devices so advanced that they can actually help you avoid serious calamity in your life is nothing short of science fiction. It’s amazing, in a word.
But as those who’ve dealt with life and death situations before will know, a lot of how a particular thing goes comes down to chance. Maybe you start to feel pain in your chest, and the next, look at that, a complete stranger asks if you're okay and calls 911 for you, saving your life. Or maybe you take a quick look at the beautiful sunset aside you on a long drive, and the next, you’d be careening off a cliff if your girlfriend beside you didn’t turn the wheel fast enough.
Random tragedy never strikes predictably, and it’s as good a possibility as any that your Apple Watch Ultra will be off your wrist, dead, or loaned out to your friend for a day when something happens. That’s why Apple isn’t providing hard data. There aren’t millions of people with their lives saved by Apple products. An Apple Watch isn’t going to be your prescription at your next doctor’s appointment.
So, in short, while the stories Apple tells are probably real, don’t take this anecdotal evidence as fact, and don’t assume that an Apple Watch is realistically going to prevent any tragedy for you as an individual. It could, but it likely won’t.
Is This Kind of Marketing Okay?
At the end of the day, Apple holds these big events to advertise its products. They spend all this money on producing feature-length livestreams filled with high-productive value and touching sob stories to try and get you to think positively of the company and just maybe buy something, if you would be so kind.
Personally, this all strikes me as macabre. A sort of twisted playing with everyone’s anxiety about health and safety in the name of pushing expensive smart devices. I don’t think it should be a part of Apple’s showcases, whether the anecdotes they talk about are true or not.
Look, if someone has an experience and wants to share it and even push everybody to buy some device that saved their life, I say go at it. But when it’s coming at an official company showcase all glitzed up like a movie you’d find on Lifetime, it just feels in bad taste. We live in a time where enough anecdotal evidence gets passed around as fact, so let’s not add to it.
Sure, Apple has played with emotions in their advertising for a long time, but it’s hard to feel like Apple from just ten or fifteen years ago would be doing what the company is today. Apple’s famous ‘Think Different’ commercials don’t feel like grim warmings you’d better buy something, and Apple’s seminal 1984 Macintosh ad paints a pretty dark picture, but it isn’t really telling people they can save themselves with an Apple product.
Heck, Steve Jobs helped found Pixar and owned the company outright for years, so suffice it to say the man knew the value in plucking at the heartstrings, but under Jobs’ leadership, none of this kind of marketing that we’re seeing today was ever relied on. Of course, Apple is a huge company with a lot of smart people that make the best decisions they can, but it’s hard to feel like these decisions, at least, aren’t missing the mark.
Perhaps there is no ill will behind this marketing whatsoever. All the time, companies and institutions broadcast messages in the wrong way without really meaning to upset anyone. Look at President Biden’s latest speech wherein he was backlit by an ominous red light. If you zoomed out, you’d see the full red-white-and-blue spread, but most clips of the speech circulating around the internet had Biden framed in the red light, making him seem sinister.
In all likelihood, the idea of a red-white-and-blue backdrop was a clever idea thought up by a staffer that was greenlit by a higher-up who thought it sounded cool, and that’s about as deep as it goes. The same can likely be said about Apple’s health- and safety-related marketing: it’s probably just Apple taking in real anecdotes and trying to explain that Apple products aren’t just expensive fashion statements.
Though, like Biden’s framing, Apple’s marketing leaves much to be desired, if the goal is to convince people of something.
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