For iPad Air, creativity seals the deal

iPad /

Much has been written in the past few days about that iPad Air commercial – you know, the one with the orchestral arrangement and Robin Williams' voice. The 90-second ad – called “Your Verse Anthem” – is a sumptuous visual feast that shows the myriad ways your iPad Air can be seamlessly integrated into daily life. We see mountain climbers, dancers, hockey players and many others. But because the ad is comprised entirely of an audio track from the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” we don't actually find out the specific application of the Air in the situations depicted. Fortunately, Apple has provided some background info on the different ways it's used in the ad. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Marine biologist Michael Berumen, who's shown in the ad on a deep-sea dive, uses the iPad Air to research coral reefs. Because the iPad wasn't specifically built for such expeditions, though, Berumen worked to develop a case that could be submerged and keep the iPad functional under extreme water pressure. His answer was the iDive, a waterproof housing unit for the iPad. The product has a pressurized layer of air encasing the iPad which enables the touch screen to be used at extreme depths. Now, the iPad Air makes efficient a research process that was cumbersome and time-consuming. Before Berumen used waterproof pencils and paper to record fish numbers along the reef, and then spent endless hours transferring that data to spreadsheets. “We spent more time inputting data than we did diving,” he told Apple. The iDive changed that. After making iDive, Berumen worked with his colleagues to create an app that helps catalog the 100 species of fish they observe during their dives. No more tedium for Berumen's team – now the app does all the codifying for them, and they can focus on what they're trained to do: observe and analyze. Since Apple is a company that rewards creative modifications to their products, they showed Berumen their appreciation by featuring him in their ad and giving him a lavish page on their website.
  • Filmmaker Josh Apter, who makes an appearance filming a waterfall (in perhaps the ad's most iconic shot), uses his iPad Air as a professional-grade movie camera. To accomplish this, Apter (like Berumen) did a little modifying. A graduate of New York University's Graduate Film Program, Apter founded The Manhattan Edit Workshop, which provides filmmakers with tools to enhance film production, according to its site. He also worked as a videographer for Steven Spielberg's Shoa Foundation, so his film production credentials are pretty solid. And Apter applied that film production knowledge to the iPad by creating The Padcaster, an alluminum-framed mounting device that securely holds your iPad and makes it easy to attach film equipment like a light and a microphone. Its design also makes it extremely easy to attach a wide angle lens and tripod. What that means is that you can now actually make Hollywood movies with you iPad, a development that was not lost on Apple, which decided to showcase Apter's product in the commercial.  
  • Cleveland Clinic Sports Health harnessed the iPad to create a concussion-screening tool. In the iPad Air commercial the device is shown strapped to an athlete's lower back. This doesn't seem like the most intuitive place for an iPad to go, but for the Cleveland Clinic, it's the sweet spot. That's because the Clinic developed an app called the Cleveland Clinic Concussion System (C3), which helps ascertain the symptoms of a concussion in athletes, according to The Plain Dealer. So how does it do that? According to the Cleveland Clinic's video for the product, the app is equipped with technology that tests things like reaction time and vision. When the iPad Air is attached to the waist, it can record balance – a key factor in determining if a concussion has been sustained. Used only by the clinic until now, the app is set to hit the business-to-business sports market soon, and will likely be kept off the general market to prevent non-professionals from using it, The Plain Dealer reported.

Those are just a few of the uses for the iPad Air detailed in the commercial. Priced at $499 for the regular Air model and $799 for the Retina, the new iPad is largely responsible for a surge in Apple's revenue in late 2013. After its debut in late September, the Air quickly contributed to a rapid growth in sales, and played no small part in the projected 80 million iOS devices sold by Apple in the first fiscal quarter of 2014.

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