Attendees of the Ellen Show given a free iPhone XR

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Ellen iPhone 2
"And you get an iPhone! And you get an iPhone! And YOU get an iPhone!"
Photo: Ellen Show

Apple is literally giving away free units of its iPhone XR handsets.

Okay, so that’s not quite as bad as it sounds, but it’s the free gift which met attendees of the latest edition of the Ellen Show. In an Oprah-like stunt, host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Julia Roberts announced to the crowd that they were all being given a freebie iPhone.

The iPhone giveaway was day five of the Ellen Show‘s customary 12 days of giveaways for the holidays. Other giveaways have so far included gift guards, books, and more. Clearly reading her lines off a teleprompter (like, she literally jokes about it), Roberts praises the iPhone XR’s multitude of colors and superior battery life.

The whole segment comes across as, well, weird. For one thing, just a few years back Ellen DeGeneres was a paid sponsor of the Samsung Galaxy Note — although she ditched the device backstage, and was spotted tweeting out selfies using an iPhone.

Apple does giveaways now, apparently

More to the point, however, Apple has rarely engaged with these kinds of paid promotional giveaway deals. Something about it just seems… very un-Apple.

Like Apple lowering the price of the iPhone XR in Japan, this doesn’t absolutely confirm the recent stories claiming that the iPhone XR is proving a sales disappointment. But, much like the slightly odd Apple statement confirming that the iPhone XR is Apple’s best-selling iPhone right now, but failing to give numbers, it somehow doesn’t seem a ringing endorsement of the iPhone XR’s success in the marketplace.

Am I judging this too harshly? Why do you think Apple has settled on this approach to marketing? Let us know in the comments below.