Apple’s First Big iPhone 7 Spot Is One of the Most Gorgeously Lit Commercials Ever

Pushes the camera's improvements in low light

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Apple broke a pair of iPhone 7 commercials during the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, advertising the latest incarnation of the device with the line: "Practically magic." The spots push two improvements in particular—the camera's upgraded abilities in low light, and the phone's overall new water resistance.

The low-light camera benefit got the prime placement—a 60-second spot (from TBWA\Media Arts Lab) which, aptly enough, features some of the best lighting we've seen in a commercial in some time. The plot concerns a skateboarder who goes for a midnight ride, snapping pics along the way of everything from moths around a lightbulb to a deer strolling around a gas station.

The spot also hints briefly at the phone's water resistance, as our hero takes presumably rather more dubious footage for posterity of some lawn sprinklers that he cruises through early in the ad. 

The music is "In a Black Out" by Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam, and it's one of those tracks that people will seek out just from the commercial. On that front, the timing couldn't be better, as the album, I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, is being released this week. 

A second spot, a :30 (produced in-house by Apple), focuses squarely on the water resistance, featuring a cyclist at dawn preparing for a soaking ride in the rain. He's confident enough that the iPhone won't wither like a witch in water that he straps it to the front of his bike to gauge his progress.

The music is "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC.

The ads are very nicely made, and very traditional in their focus on two of the iPhone 7's foremost features. The "Practically magic" line has a nice little double meaning—suggesting the product improvements might feel almost like magic, and also that they're not just esoteric but will have a practical effect on your use of the device.

Separately, Apple also released the first big spot for the Apple Watch Series 2. Like the iPhone ads, the :60 below (made in-house by Apple) is expertly crafted, with all sorts of lovely visual set pieces. And it's also practically minded, pushing the device's new built-in GPS and water resistance up to 50 meters. 

The music on the watch spot is "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone. 

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.