Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

iPad ad as mission statement

April 3, 2011: 7:20 AM ET

Apple uses a 30-second TV spot to sell not just a gadget, but a philosophy

GarageBand on the iPad 2. Video: Apple Inc.

"This is what we believe," begins a gravely voiced narrator over an understated piano in the new Apple (AAPL) TV spot that debuted Saturday (and is available here and below the fold).

"Technology alone is not enough. Faster, thinner, lighter; those are all good things. But when technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful, even magical. That's when you leap forward. That's when you end up with something like this..."

This, of course, is the iPad 2. And although it happens to be the lightest, thinnest and fastest tablet computer on the market -- at least for now -- Apple is reaching here for something deeper and more universal. Something that it hopes will resonate long after the iPad 2 has lost the new-gadget glow that has would-be customers still queueing up in the early morning hours three weeks after its debut.

It's part of a more philosophical, almost valedictory message Apple has been sending in different forms for several years, starting with remarks Tim Cook made to analysts during Steve Jobs' 2009 medical leave and most recently by Jobs himself at the iPad 2 unveiling.

Those remarks, and the new video, below.

Tim Cook, April 21, 2009:

"What we're about is making the best computers in the world, not making the most, and not getting to a point where we are building products ... that we are not proud of. And so that first and foremost is our objective, and we believe that if we do that over the long-term that we will gain share."

Steve Jobs, February 2, 2011:

Source: Apple Inc.

"It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. That it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. And nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.

And a lot of folks in this tablet market are rushing in and they're looking at this as the next PC. The hardware and the software are done by different companies. And they're talking about speeds and feeds just like they did with PCs.

And our experience and every bone in our body says that that is not the right approach to this. That these are post-PC devices that need to be even easier to use than a PC. That need to be even more intuitive than a PC. And where the software and the hardware and the applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than they do on a PC.

And we think we're on the right track with this. We think we have the right architecture not just in silicon, but in the organization to build these kinds of products."

The iPad 2 spot, April 2, 2011:

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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