I actually don't see very many television commercials because I watch very little television. While I know that television commercials are not a locked-in-stone view of the future, they do give us some insight into the companies who put them on the air. Commercials especially help us identify the products that business like Apple love the most.
While it might not go into the annals of silliest commercials, Apple's last "Siri" commercial which features someone ordering take-out tomato soup deserves some consideration.
Long ago, Apple had a marketing campaign based on a flying car. It didn't last long. Perhaps it was just before its time since flying cars seem to be coming back for real.
However, some of Apple's campaign's have really resonated with computer users.
Perhaps my favorite was the one with the dog and the young boy who unpacked his iMac and got on the Internet faster than an adult male who had purchased a Windows computer.
I think the commercial was a homerun because at the time, getting a computer other than a Mac functioning was a really time-consuming and frustrating experience. Getting an iMac going was pretty easy. Of course life even with an iMac was a whole lot better when it got a Firewire port and could write CD-ROMs.
We have come a long way since the iMac was first introduced. Other manufacturers have learned a lot from Apple. I would argue that setting up a new Windows PC is not very different from a new Mac today. I have done both in the last couple of years.
I don't think it is difficult to argue that Apple isn't nearly as interested in desktop and laptop computers today as they are in iPads and iPhones. Long ago I predicted that Apple desktop and laptop market share would peak at around ten percent. I think that is pretty close to their current US market share. I don't see it growing.
However, I never guessed that peaking at ten percent would be because Apple has lost interest in computers. I know that iPhones and iPads are selling like hot cakes but isn't a Mac still at the heart of it? You certainly can't run iCloud without a Mac to create your identity.
Maybe Apple's focus on small gadgets is finally reaching Mac lovers as it appears that users might not be jumping on Apple's iCloud bandwagon. Apple is now giving away Snow Leopard to make it easier for users to buy Lion.
Maybe Apple's marketing has become silly enough that it is no longer a company strength. Or perhaps potential computer purcahsers aren't interested in searching for take-out tomato soup with their phone assistant?
If you ask me to define Apple's current marketing message, I would say it is all about very fancy screens for tablets and a future where we are reduced to ordering take-out tomato soup.
Maybe I grew up in a different world, but the thought of being lazy enough to order take-out tomato soup is beyond what I can imagine. And in this world where people are struggling to find jobs, does Apple really believe that there are people out there who can afford to order take-out tomato soup or who even would want to?
If the computer future that Apple envisions for us is asking my phone silly questions and following the responses, it might be time to say out loud that Steve's absence is being felt.
Those of you who still know how to cook might want to try my grilled salmon recipe which is at the end of this post.