updated 06:27 pm EST, Mon February 3, 2014
Not profits, not marketshare: 'to put technology in the hands of the people'
[Update: added "behind the scenes" video] It is hard to imagine anymore, but for a long time prior to the twin developments of the home computer and the modern Internet, technology that allowed creative professionals to thrive was rare, expensive and in the hands of a very few. As part of its ongoing celebration of the Mac's 30th anniversary, Apple has now posted a 90-second movie shot entirely with iPhones, spanning five continents and illustrating the reach of creative and professional technology today.
While Steve Wozniak rightly gets the credit as the engineering genius of the Apple I and II, Steve Jobs' contribution went beyond just making money selling Woz' work: it was a desire to democratize technology, to distribute tools to everyone and then see what they did with it. The movie, seen below, is less of a showcase of Apple products and more of a demonstration of how technology is used creatively in a wide variety of fields and endeavors, embedding itself deeply in people's everyday lives.
It also serves as a subtle reminder that while other companies have adopted the same tools and technologies, Apple was one of the leading companies that pushed such uses forward. It was an early innovator in digital cameras, in making devices more portable, and key in integrating powerful creative tools into smartphones and tablets, which had previously been seen almost exclusively as business and enterprise tools.
The video was shot entirely on January 24, the exact 30th anniversary of the Macintosh's debut, and includes scenes from 10 different countries across 36 hours. The final editing was done entirely on Macs, and shows students, professionals, parents and artists using Macs, iPads and iPhones to help them achieve their documentary or creative goals. Jobs himself had prophesied as early as 1987 that the power of the Mac would largely be harnessed in handheld devices in decades to come.
The film itself utilized an innovative approach, with director Jake Scott (son of the 1984 commercial's director Ridley Scott) and supervising editor Angus Wall directing photographers via FaceTime and able to watch scenes from a "command center" in Los Angeles as they were being shot, allowing for both live direction and initial capture and editing to be done even as the scenes were being filmed -- an approach that may influence other filmmakers.
It's not clear why the film wasn't edited down to 60 seconds and run during the Super Bowl, a possibility that had been hinted at in a tweet by Lee Clow, who in fact contributed to the project. The film, while in no way a sequel to the "1984" ad, does show the fulfillment of the original promise of the Mac. "Thirty years ago," the film begins, "Macintosh promised to put technology in the hands of the people. To celebrate Mac's birthday, this film was shot around the world in one day, entirely on iPhone. Here's to the next 30." A "making of" video has also been released.