Apple Unlock

Apple’s new Unlock ad shows a high school girl going on a jailbreaking spree through her school when she realizes she can unlock everything just by looking at it. Via Adweek:

The lead actor plays the role perfectly, and in some ways the story is a tribute to her character’s imagination. Just think about all the things a person could do with such power. But it’s also a savvy way to reinforce a key underlying pitch for the product. A smartphone isn’t just a device. It’s a window to the world, social and otherwise. That’s especially true for younger populations, like the girl in the ad, no matter if that relentless utility might come at the expense of their mental health.

Unintentionally, it’s also a bit disconcerting for what it says about privacy, or the lack of it, in a world ruled by always-connected smartphones and behemoth corporations built on the monetization of consumers personal data. The ad starts with the protagonist casually bursting open spaces designed to safeguard other students’ belongings—a bit of an unnerving metaphor in light of the fishbowl nature of teenage life in the social media age, and the heightened opportunities for bullying that it presents.

That kind of subtext, though, is easy to gloss past in the context of the ad’s upbeat, carefree mood. And the anxieties it represents will fall secondary to convenience, even despite historical high-profile breaches of private photos from Apple accounts (e.g., Jennifer Lawrence), and more recent news about the way a Trump campaign consultancy misappropriated vast reams of personal information from Facebook to create psychographic profiles—with broad political implications.

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