Apple 2.0

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Apple's Merry Christmas ad

December 17, 2013: 7:37 AM ET

Get out your handkerchiefs for Apple's annual holiday "home movie."

FORTUNE -- What would the holidays be without a sentimental Christmas ad from Apple (AAPL)?

This one, titled Misunderstood, is a movie about a movie that was shot on an iPhone 5S and presented via Apple TV and AirPlay by the fictional Harris family's teenage son. The title is not explained. Perhaps it's a given that all teenage sons feel misunderstood, especially on Christmas.

UPDATE: Back to the advertisement's title. Reader AO may have nailed it:

The title "Misunderstood" must refer to the viewer's initial misunderstanding of the teenaged boy at the heart of the ad. As we are coached to see him as a loner, not participating in the family's playful holiday spirit, we may wonder why Apple is apparently depicting an example of handheld technology's alienating effects. The tears then flow not merely (or even primarily) because the boy's film depicts more scenes of a loving family's joyous sharing but because we suddenly recognize that the boy has been wisely appreciative and engaged all along. He, too, has been intent on sharing the holiday spirit--in his own generation's way.

9to5Mac's Michael Steeber, who spotted the TV spot Monday five hours before Apple's Phil Schiller tweeted a link, also points readers to the full 2-minute movie within the movie. Without reaction shots of family members tearing up, A Harris Family Holiday doesn't pack quite the same emotional wallop.

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About This Author
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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