Apple and Verizon have a tawdry new way to sell you iPhone 12

How do you tell people they can have something they actually can't? By trying to make a very big deal of it. Oh, and hiring Chris Rock.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

A tiny overpromise here?

Screenshot by ZDNet

I watched Apple's iPhone 12 event with a quiet desperation.

I wanted at least one of the presenters to show me a vision of a bright future, something our nation's politicians have singularly failed to do.

Apple offered me many names and faces, some new. They were strewn all over the company's spaceship campus.

Arun was in a room. Lisa was on the roof. And then there was Hope in a secret chamber, which is where hope has been for quite some time.

It was all very polished, but so is my coffee table and it's 25 years old.

All the excited talk of 5G was troubling. The minute the show was over, things became a touch more painful.

You see, Apple and Verizon released a co-sponsored ad that really might tempt the Lincoln Project to create a rebuttal.

Here was Chris Rock, luxuriating in a Hollywood manner -- and, indeed, in a Hollywood manor -- trying to make you believe your life will instantly change.

After all, now that you have your choice of four iPhones 12, you can enjoy speeds of which you've only dreamed.

The logic, however, suspended belief to a disturbing degree. Apple and Verizon wants to remember the bad old days. The really, really bad old days.

For example, Rock reminisces about the time when Janelle Monáe downloads took almost an hour.

Brandishing his pretty blue iPhone 12 Pro, he only manages cliché: "This is a game changer."

Yes, yes. Just like every iPhone that came before it.

"iPhone and Verizon ain't playing around," says Rock.

Well, I think they are a little, as truly fast 5G is barely available anywhere. Moreover, Verizon's 5G doesn't have as much coverage as AT&T's and T-Mobile's.

Rock, though, continues harking back to a world so far gone that one wonders who wrote his words.

Yes, downloading used to be awful. Now, it's really not so bad. Whenever 5G becomes the norm -- and we're talking years here -- then perhaps we'll see the difference. Although when a T-Mobile salesman tried to show me the difference, I detected very little.

It's quite sad to see Apple and Verizon overpromise in this patently bloviating way.

It's almost as if the writers knew it, too. They have Rock repeat himself later in the ad: "iPhone and Verizon 5G. This is going to change everything." 

Apple hasn't often succumbed to being ahead of a technological development. Cupertino prefers others to make the mistakes first. Here, though, it's offering you something you just won't get.

"5G just got real," exclaims Rock at the end.

Oh, if only Apple and Verizon would do the same.

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