Get an Apple Watch, and replace the ice cream cone your daughter just dropped without even having to free your hands.
In the first of six new beautifully designed Apple Watch ads, a mother deftly prevents a small mishap from devolving into a full blown tantrum: With a few quick wrist taps, a new treat magically replaces the old one as if the spill never happened.
Everything extraneous is cut out—the bustle of whatever else is happening around them, the clean-up of the mess, the vendor making a cone, even the act of handing the girl a new ice cream. All that is replaced by a soothing pink haze and tight editing that makes the feat seem effortless—the overtaxed, under-slept parent's ultimate fantasy.
In other words, Apple Watch owners can bask in the warm, pop-music-infused glow of efficiency. You barely have to lift a finger to make your smartphone do your bidding. At 15 seconds each, the ads in this series convey their message with minimal distraction, cutting right to the point: Apple Watch creates a virtual plane that projects the brand's characteristic design qualities—sleek, minimalist, highly functional—onto users' messy lives, resulting in bubbles free of clutter, hassle or even external stimuli.
A second ad shows a couple on a date, dancing alone in a soft blue landscape. The woman, actress Lake Bell (who also voiced Apple's recent anthemic :60 for the iPhone 6s), stops to check a message on her wrist—a shot of their sleeping child, from the babysitter—then intensifies her movements, gleefully pulling her partner off-screen by his tie.
In the third spot, a fashionista on a Vespa zips through a washed-out sunset to music from the Nouvelle Vague, stopping briefly to ask Siri for directions to Piazza Navona. (The crowded, bustling city of Rome is nowhere in sight; Apple's digital assistant is apparently exceptional at navigating from alternate dimensions.)
Two other spots focus on cardio and personal training. Get some positive reinforcement on your stationary bike, or check your heart rate while shadow-boxing into glory. Your gym has never been this empty.
The sixth and final spot is the simplest and sweetest ad of all: Why text when you can sing? That's what a teenage boy does here, to tell some lucky girl he can't wait to see her. It's straightforward and unimpeachable.
Despite the neat editing, these pieces have subtle baggage. They feel like upgraded versions of Apple's classic iPod shadow-dancing ads—general enough that you can project yourself into the dreamscapes, using less cartoonish, more credible little slices of life (it's not the first time Apple has relied on old visual cues to tell a new story).
But the spare backdrops are also self-conscious and distracting, even disconcerting. They almost seem to celebrate tech narcissism, raising the question of what we lose when we abandon our messy realities for ease, order and privilege. Where is the vendor making ice cream, or the traffic that Vespa-riding globetrotter should be checking for?
It isn't Apple's responsibility to remind us life is messy; we know that, and manage it as best we can. But it's also strange to watch it dive so wholeheartedly into solipsism amidst growing anxiety about how devices impact our social interactions, especially among children (who are tightly managed in the first ad, and entirely off-screen in the second).
A world without strangers or excess stimuli is appealing, but Apple's promise about its latest offering reduces existence to self-centered micro-transactions and measurements.