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Abstract

In addition to broadcast commercials, Apple creates design videos—screened at Apple launch events and developers’ conferences, and simulcast on the Internet and streaming on Apple TV—as a second-order of promotional activity. They are not nationally broadcast commercials but advertising disguised as how-its-made documentaries. Purportedly, they document design and manufacturing, but, ironically and tellingly, they do little, if anything at all, to reveal actual work. As this article demonstrates, they fetishize the manufacturing process of a commodity that is already fetishized: the iPhone. The videos simulate cinematically both the device and its manufacturing process, making both the object and its creation appear self-directed, uncoupled from human agency. As such, more than the corporation’s commercials, they seduce viewers into accepting a fantasy world of enchanted technological devices uncoupled from the realities of labor, including exploitative working conditions, making the design videos a form of Apple “porn.”

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