Apple Just Launched a Social Movement and No One Seems to Have Noticed: Part 2

By But Wait, That's Not All... Archives
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In Part 1 of this two-part column I began to lay out a theory that Apple has more in mind than just launching a news store, a gaming platform, a credit card and a TV service.  The tonality and the underlying themes of each release are strong counters to the negativity and dystopian nature that our current political and tech environment has been mired in over the past few years.  Apple is serious about bringing hope, humanity and civility back to society.

Apple TV+:  There is quite a bit of detail that was left out of their new subscription service to counter Netflix and other OTTs.  We don’t know the price, nor do we know details about the content, outside of the few originals they announced.  Here’s what we do know:

  • Steven Spielberg is reviving a 93-year-old brand, Amazing Stories, for the second time. (It first aired on NBC from 1985-1987.)  This anthology series might be considered the antidepressant to Netflix’s Black Mirror.  It will have creepy moments, but Spielberg’s career has been defined by, and occasionally criticized for, his sentimentality and optimism about the future.  Look for it to center far more on how humanity can almost always triumph. 
  • The Morning Show will likely teach through laughter.  Starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, it’s about the interplay between men and women at a morning news show.  The underlying theme may be to help redefine and explain how men and women should act together in a professional environment in the current era.
  • See, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, will inspire as it centers around a future world where humanity has literally lost its sense of sight and yet will find its way to survive and thrive.  The underlying disability does not mean inability.
  • Kumail Nanjiani’s show, Little America, is perhaps Apple’s most direct political shot across the bow.  The half-hour reality anthology series will present stories of everyday immigrants attempting to achieve the American Dream.  Nanjiani hopes that we will gain deeper insight and empathy from seeing their struggles, achievements and contributions to our society.
  • J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles have partnered together on a series about a young female musician just starting out in New York City.  Loosely based on Bareilles’ journey, Abrams says, “Anyone who has ever given everything they have to go after a dream will feel that this show was created for them.”  It is striving to be funny, romantic and musical.  Viewers will likely enjoy positive vibes while watching.
  • Finally, in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the show Helpsters will be geared towards preschoolers and will show them how to help, but in a really cool, unique way: using the basic structures of coding to solve problems.

Likely to the chagrin of marketers and agencies, all of the above services are ad-free.  Apple made the point over and over again that they are not selling your data to anyone or allowing any outside party to access that data; again, supporting my theory that Apple is working to affect social change and bring back a sense that humans are more than a set of zeros and ones.

In summary:

  • Apple News+ will give consumers access to professional level, educated, quality journalism with context and ability to view different opinions at a fair price.
  • Apple Card shows more understanding than most credit card companies have, as evidenced by its late fee and missed payment policy.
  • Apple Arcade provides a platform for great mobile gaming, but a little tamer with partners, like Lego and Disney, then you might find on other platforms.
  • Apple TV+ is trying to move us to a more positive, optimistic mindset by providing entertainment that uplifts.

None of this should be taken to mean that there is altruism at play.  Apple has a real margin to make up that it is now losing due to the maturity of the smartphone market.  It understands that Millennials and Gen Zers want socially active, positive companies that can make the world better, and they will support companies that do that.  It just so happens that Tim Cook believes that, too.

But Wait, That’s Not All ...

If you’re going to fix the world, we all recognize that there is only one real person up to the task, and she was there.  Oprah Winfrey will be producing two documentary projects for Apple TV+, one around the topic of sexual harassment, and the other on getting us all to better understand and be more accepting of people with mental health issues.

Oprah will also be re-inventing her book club on the Apple platform, promising to connect with billions of people around the world to find meaningful ways to create positive change.  “I want to reach the sweet spot where insight and perspective, truth and tolerance actually intersect,” she said.  And that, in my opinion, is exactly what Apple has truly set out to do.

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