updated 04:00 am EST, Sat December 22, 2012
Christmas-centric spot shows off family videoconferencing
On Friday, Apple launched a new TV ad promoting both the iPad and iPad mini by cleverly showing both products as they might be used in a FaceTime video conference, with a man's granddaughter playing the ukelele and singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas," a wistful 1943 hit for Bing Crosby written by Walter Kent and Kim Gannon (based on a poem by Buck Ram). The grandfather's iPad shows the young lady, while her iPad mini shows her grandfather's reaction.
The girl's rendition of the song is the only audio in the advertisement (seen below), and the ad is a straightforward image of two people sharing a special moment using the simple but high-quality FaceTime feature to communicate, even though they are (presumably) far apart. In fact, FaceTime has been a major selling point for Apple's mobile devices, finally making videoconferencing simple enough and reliable enough to have even novice users embrace it as a way to stay in touch with far-away friends and family. FaceTime works between any recent Mac running 10.6.6 or higher, and iOS devices. Mac Mini and Mac Pro machines require a third-party camera to use FaceTime.
There is no advertising copy, nor even any mention of the products being shown -- a move few companies other than Apple could get away with. The final second of the ad shows simply Apple's logo, along with an added "snow" effect. Though both the fourth-generation iPad and the iPad mini debuted at the same time, the latter product appears to be outselling the refreshed full-size model, and is on track to become Apple's second best-selling product behind the various models of iPhone.
"I'll Be Home for Christmas" was a Top Ten hit for Crosby, and has been a holiday staple ever since. It tells a story of a soldier in World War II that is writing a letter to his family, with each line saying he'll be home for Christmas and what he'd like to see, including snow, mistletoe and presents on the tree, until the final line of the song where he adds "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams," adding a sombre tone to the finale. It has since been covered by dozens of artists, starting with Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, and most recently by country-pop act Lady Antebellum.