Apple: 2012 is '1984'

By Doug Mohney September 07, 2012

Apple's "1984" Macintosh Super Bowl ad (in the video below) won numerous awards and stunned people with its bold message of an upstart company fighting an established me-too world of Personal Computing. Featuring a hammer-thrower being chased by faceless police with clubs through a depressing, Orwellian world of worker drones, it is a stunning commercial. 

Unfortunately, it is also prophetic and ironic as to what Apple has actually become – not the upstart anymore, but a faceless, secrecy-obsessed megacorporation unafraid to use its power.

Back in 1984, the "enemy" was IBM and Microsoft, building bland and boring PCs. The hardware wasn't sexy, but it was affordable and open, and people could do whatever they wanted.

Against this unspoken framework, Apple – the young, vibrant "hammer thrower" – arrives to break the existing order and enslavement of the masses.

Today, content and phone companies are the enslaved – some real irony there. If you don't have an app and content for the Apple iPhings family (iPhone, iPad, iPod) you aren't in the market, given Apple's dominance of the phone and tablet space. Apple has dictated terms to the wireless industry when it comes to the iPhone, with carriers paying full price for underwriting the iPhone and signing up for hefty sales commitments.

It's the whispering background noise in the Apple "1984" ad that resonates with 2012, the words of a thin, glasses-wearing "Supreme Leader" heard in the background as the hammer thrower makes her run to smash the "screen" of PC and IT convention.

"Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives," said the leader. "We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory true thoughts."

Call me cynical, but I'd say those "Information Purification Directives" sound a lot like Apple's patent defense case against Samsung. Rounded square icons and ornamental design of the iPhone (with different patents for black and while phones are points Apple "won" in its case.  

"A garden of pure ideology" fits Apple's design philosophy perfectly. It's a garden called iTunes, where consumers can buy Apple-approved content and owners of content pay a cut.  It is also a "pure" user interface for the Apple iPad that insists the user has no need for a mouse and should resort to using fingers on the screen at all times – never mind that you would want to be so gauche as to plug in a simple USB memory stick or an SD card from a camera.  

Finally, the hammer-thrower is chased by a group of faceless police. Apple's obsession with secrecy culminating in legal action against bloggers and enlisting California police help in raiding the home of Gizmodo's editor certainly smacks of Orwellian tactics and heavy-handedness.

Perhaps the most ironic part of this Black-is-White tale for 2012 is finding someone to root for. If Apple is the enemy, does this make Google the hammer-thrower? Or is often-scorned Microsoft ready to step forward to become a hero against Apple marketplace dominance in the tablet and phone arenas?




Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Two Technologies That Showcase Good VR Could Cost $20K

By: Rob Enderle    6/23/2017

This month, there were two interesting product announcements. The first was in regard to very high-resolution displays that should arrive in VR headse…

Read More

Popularity of Voice Recognition Gadgets Highlights Need for Speech Analytics

By: Kayla Matthews    6/21/2017

Voice-activated personal assistant platforms such as Amazon's Alexa continue to grow in popularity, making lives easier in all sorts of ways. As such …

Read More

Can Machine Learning Defuse the Ticking Time Bomb of Open Recalls?

By: Special Guest    6/20/2017

Did you know that 150 million vehicles have been recalled in the USA since 2014? That's 38 percent of all the cars in America. And, according to Recal…

Read More

Technology and Ties: 5 Reasons Gen X is Taking Over in Business

By: Special Guest    6/20/2017

The generational clash in the workplace between Millennials and Baby Boomers gets all the hype. It reminds me of the debate over who would win - Muham…

Read More

For Amazon-Whole Foods' Future, Look to Zappos, Not Robots

By: Doug Mohney    6/19/2017

Amazon's bid for Whole Foods is obvious and brilliant. There's a lot of crazy talk about how Whole Foods will get turned into people-less stores like …

Read More