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Thursday, January 20, 2011, 06:30 pm PT (09:30 pm ET)

Verizon posts first iPhone 4 ad without ever showing phone

Verizon has posted its first iPhone 4 advertisement to YouTube, and readers are reporting seeing the new ad air in primetime TV broadcasts.

The new spot depicts a series of clocks ticking, building anticipation for what is revealed to be the simple text of "iPhone 4," accompanied by an Apple logo, followed by the Verizon logo in red, "it begins," "2.10.11," and a final slide featuring the carrier's "rule the air" logo.

Nowhere in the brief spot is the iPhone 4 actually ever pictured, nor are any of its features described. The only Apple product actually shown is a brief clip of a Magic Mouse and Apple keyboard portrayed next to an anxious hand with tapping fingers.

Verizon doesn't have to depict the phone or its features, because over the past three years the iPhone has become what is perhaps the best known new brand in consumer electronics on earth. All the carrier needs to do is suggest that everyone wants to get it on Verizon.

Conspicuously, however, a narrator indicates that Verizon's own customers are waiting for the iPhone, rather than hinting that the message is directed toward AT&T subscribers hoping to switch.

"To our millions of customers who never stopped believing this day would come, thank you," the voice says, making it sound as if Verizon expects more defection among its own smartphone users than switchers from AT&T.



Apple's original ads for iPhone primarily focused on its unique features, apart from the teaser aired in conjunction with the Oscars in 2007, which depicted a variety of movie clips of famous characters answering the phone. That spot at least depicted the then-new iPhone however.



Focused on functionality

Subsequent ads demonstrated how the new iPhone worked, in a series of spots that focused entirely on a closeup of a phone being manipulated by touch to place calls, look up information and browse the web.



With the release of iPhone 2.0 and the App Store, Apple next focused on apps in a series of ads that made the phrase "there's an app for that" famous.



Apple's ads for iPhone 4 focused on its new FaceTime feature, depicting families and friends animatedly engaging in video calls to the Louis Armstrong song "When You're Smiling."