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False Alarm: Same Directors Behind Apple Intel Ad/Music Video

Apple Intel chip ad

There’s a simple explantion why Apple’s new cleanroom ad looks just like a music video for The Postal Service: they were both made by the same people.

Sarah Moody of Sub Pop Records, The Postal Service’s Seattle record company, writes:

“… the Apple commercial is indeed very similar, it wasn’t licensed in any form, and was made by the same directors as the Postal Service video. We weren’t alerted to the fact that it existed until the day it came out.”

Moody didn’t say, but The PS’s Such Great Heights video was made by directing duo Josh Melnick and Xander Charity, whose working name is Josh & Xander.

Apple’s ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mac Hajj: The Typical Experience

Jonas Hallen and friends at Apple

After my story last week about pilgrimages to Apple’s HQ, Mac loyalist Jonas Hallen wrote to tell of his all-too-common experience of visiting the mothership.

He writes:

“In March 2002 Alexander Ruas (Sweden), Jesse McBride (U.S) and I (Sweden) did our Haij to Infinite Loop 1. We took our picture and seconds later a security guard sent us off the premises. We didn’t feel too bad about it, though. Apple has never been ‘service-minded’ in the common sense, and a part of being a Mac Geek is living through the company’s lack of commitment, disinterest and sheer abuse of it’s most loyal fan base.”

Jonas Hallen and friends asked to leave

He added:

If Apple decided to open Infinite Loop to visitors or even arrange for a museum, it would be a flagrant breach of tradition and I would then feel obliged to follow the wise words of Groucho Marx:

‘I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.'”

New From PodBrix: WozWear

Limited Edition WozWear T-Shirt

Tomi from PodBrix writes:

“We are releasing a new apparel product tomorrow (1/17) at 9:00pm EST and I wanted to give you some information about it.

The product is called the Wozwear 6502 and is a custom made shirt featuring an image of our previous Woz minifig holding a 6502 processor chip. The interesting aspect is that we use an actual 6502 processor chip and attach it to the shirt with a magnetic clasp. See the attached image to get a better idea of the product. As I’m sure you will recall this is the chip used in the classic Apple II line of computers. With Apple’s recent switch to Intel processors I thought it would be interesting to offer a product capturing the nostalgia of the old Apple II processor.

The 6502 chip attached to the Wozwear is purely cosmetic, but it is in working condition and if plugged into an old Apple machine it would function properly. You can easily remove the chip from the Wozwear shirt to launder it.

As is standard for PodBrix products, the Wozwear 6502 is a signed limited edition of 300 units. The Wozwear shirt is available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and is individually screen printed to order to ensure everyone can receive the desired size without exceeding the 300 unit limited edition.

The Wozwear 6502 is available for $34.99 each and will go on sale tomorrow night (01/17/06) at 9:00pm EST. International orders are welcome.”

Newton Emulator Available for Download

Newton Emulator

Programmer Paul Guyot has demonstrated his “Einstein” Newton emulator running on a Sharp Zaurus — and a beta of the software is available as a free download.

“… We’re one step closer to having a Newton running on non-Apple hardware,” wrote long-time Newton devotee Adam Tow, who reported the news.

Guyot demonstrated the emulator at the Worldwide Newton Conference this weekend in San Francisco, held on the tail of Macworld. The emulator runs on any Linux-based PDA with X11 support.

Here’s some background on Guyot and his project.

Apple vs. Postal Service: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Apple vs. Postal Service

I know I’m harping on about this, but there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not Apple remade — or was even infuenced by — The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” video for its new 30-second TV ad for Intel-based Macs.

In comments here and at my other blog, some people insist the two videos simply use the same setting, a cleanroom, and that’s where the similarities end.

But now ChrisJM at Elite Productions has taken the Apple ad and spliced it with corresponding shots from the Postal Service video to make a side-by-side comparison.

I say it nails it (not that there was any doubt in my mind). The Apple ad is more or less a shot-for-shot remake.

It’s not that Apple’s ad is not artful. I actually think the ad works better than the video, which I found over long and boring. I just find it mystifying there’s any doubt about the source material.

I’ve made enquiries with both Sub Pop Records and Apple’s ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, and will report any findings here next week.

A Totally Macworld Wedding

Shawn King

Shawn King, host of the Your Mac Life internet radio show, is getting married on Thursday evening in a totally Macworld wedding.

Shawn met his bride, Lesa Snider, three years ago at Macworld. He proposed to her last year — at Macworld.

And when the couple were trying to decide the most convenient place in the country for all their friends to meet, they realized it had to be — Macworld.

The couple are getting married after the show closes at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall.

Mac author Andy Ihnatko is performing the ceremony. David Pogue, former Macworld columnist now with the New York Times, is giving away the bride. And Chris Breen, also a Mac writer, is playing the piano.

Lesa is chief evangelist at iStockphoto.com. The couple live in Nashville, but Shawn’s family is in Canada and Lesa’s in Texas.

“Every place we mentioned, we thought it would be tough to get them there, and then we realized, ‘Wait a minute, they’ll all be Expo,'” said King, laughing.

“We met here at Macworld Expo three years ago,” he said. “We had a long distance relationship. I asked her to marry me here at the show.”

The civil ceremony will be performed by Ihnatko, who earlier in the week went to San Francisco City Hall to became a deputy marriage commissioner in the State of California, which allows him to perform only one wedding, King said.

After the ceremony, Shawn is throwing a shindig at the Great American Music Hall to promote his radio show.

The party is underwritten by Griffin Technology, Shawn’s long-time sponsor, and when company founder Paul Griffin found out about the civil ceremony beforehand, he jokingly asked Shawn: “Am I paying for your reception?”

Rugrat Marketing at Macworld

Kahney kids at Macworld

Yeah, those “exploited children” over at Gizmodo are my progeny. My wife took them down to Macworld to promote my Cult of iPod book.

She dressed our three boys in cardboard iPod costumes, and our daughter as a silhouette iPod dancer.

I wasn’t exactly comfortable with the idea, but it achieved its objective. They got their pictures in the paper, which absolutely thrilled them (Exploited kid one; exploited kid two), and she handed a flyer to the scores of people who snapped their picture.

Plus, the kids had a blast. Look at all the free crap they got. This is just a portion of it. My daughter separated hers out and stashed it away.

Macworld freebies

They got eight pairs of gloves, a ton of flashing Belkin necklaces, half-a-ton of stickers and pins, Postit pads, spring-loaded jumping frogs, badge holders, a gazillion pens, rubber wristbands, iPod covers, some cellphone cleaner thingies, etc., etc.

What was the best stuff they got?

Lyle (the youngest): “Candy.”

Olin: “Candy.”

Milo: “The wristbands, and candy.”

Nadine (the oldest): “The Yoyo, a mini Sharpie, a fish screensaver, a helicopter spinner and a squeezy stress ball. And candy.”

Here’s more of the little angels.

Exploited iPod kids -- getting ready to clean some chimneys!

Go to your spot!

Milo and Olin

Scoop: The Inside Dope on Steve Jobs’ Weird Keynote

Scoop: The Inside Dope on Steve Jobs’ Weird Keynote

There was something strange about Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote on Tuesday. The pacing was off.

It started off high energy with reports of unbelievable iPod sales and record revenues, which got the crowd whooping. Then it went into a doldrums with an interminable demo of new features in iLife, which had everyone dying for the One More Thing… “Come on Steve,” we’re all thinking. “Cut the crap and get to the good stuff.”

So tonight I’m sitting in a bar when I run into an old friend, who is very highly placed in the Apple world. I hate to cite an anonymous source, but trust me, he knows.

And he tells me the keynote that Jobs gave was not the keynote he had planned. Some of the speech had been cut out. Key products were missing.

My source said there was some stuff, “some very, very cool stuff,” that Jobs couldn’t unveil because of “supply issues.”

“They can’t get enough Core Duo (chips),” said my source.

He also said that if he were me, he probably wouldn’t order one of the new MacBook Pros.

I asked if there would be MacBook replacements for the 17-inch and 12-inch PowerBooks, but he said, “Oh, it’s much cooler than that. Much cooler.”

Photo credit: Engadget.

Another Apple Ad Ripoff?

Apple Intel ad and Postal Service video compared

Update: Duncan Rawlinson at the Last Minute Blog has created a much better comparison screenshot of the two videos, which I’ve nicked and posted above. Duncan has a slightly higher-resolution version on his site. Also, in the comments, it seems some people think I’m referring to similarities in the music, but it’s the visuals that are similar, if not identical. Plus it’s the whole idea: the concept, the setting, the narrative. Compare the corridor tracking shots, the movements of the wafer-making machines, the interaction between the male and female workers. The Apple ad is not just “influenced” by the Postal Service video, it’s a remake.

Apple Intel chip ad

Apple is at it again — making TV ads that bear an uncanny resemblance to other people’s videos.

Apple’s latest TV advert, touting Intel chips inside its new Macs, is remarkably similar to a music video from The Postal Service for the song “Such Great Heights.”

Both are set in clean rooms, and feature bunnysuited workers making eyes at each other.

See for yourself. Here’s the Apple ad, and here’s The Postal Service video (Windows Media download).

Apple is currently being threatened legally by Lugz, which claims an apparently actionable similarity between Apple’s iPod ad featuring Eminem and a 2002 spot for Lugz footwear.

Of course, in the latest case, Apple may have an agreement with The Postal Service or its record company, or may have hired the same director, or licensed the work.


Postal Service, Such Great Heights

Next Big Thing? Photocasting

Photocasting in iPhoto

Except for Intel-based hardware, the big thing here at Macworld seems to be syndicating photos over the net — or Photocasting.

Not only did Steve Jobs showcase a new photocasting feature in iPhoto on Tuesday, on Monday ex-Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki introduced the Mac version of a new photocasting application called FilmLoop.

Photocasting isn’t new — several photoblogs offer syndicated snaps via RSS, as do photo-sharing websites like Flickr and Buzznet. But until now, few desktop applications made it easy to download pictures from a camera and push them automatically to friends’ and relatives’ machines.

In his keynote speech, Jobs demonstrated how photos and galleries in a new version of iPhoto can be pushed, or photocast, to subscribers’ computers.

“This is podcasting — for photos,” Jobs said.

Instead of publishing to the web, photos are delivered automatically to subscriber’s computers. In iPhoto, the user creates a photocast album. All the pictures added to, or deleted from, this album are automatically pushed to subscriber’s iPhoto libraries, where they show up in a gallery in the source list.

“It’s like magic,” Jobs said, with typical understatement. “You take away the machinery, and it’s just like magic. It’s amazing.”

Publishing a photocast requires the new version of iPhoto, which has been updated as part of Apple’s $80 iLife 06 suite, and a .Mac membership (TK a year) — but subscribers can be on any platform.

“Anyone can subscribe. You don’t even need a Mac,” Jobs said.

Meanwhile, Kawasaki’s FilmLoop combines iPhoto photocasting with Flickr-like photo groups.

Not only can FilmLoop users subscribe to each other’s galleries, or “loops,” they can add comments and even contribute their own snaps.

The FilmLoop network has public loops dedicated a wide range of topics, from news and sports to pictures of all the Corvettes for sale on eBay.

The FilmLoop system is free — but loops are sprinkled with ads.

Kawaski is a member of the company’s board and a backer through his firm, Garage Technology Ventures.

Beyond Macworld, several tinkerers have hacked together homebrew podcasting systems, including Chris Pirillo using a Sony PSP, and Philip Torrone with Flickr and some scripts.