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Thursday, May 23, 2013, 09:47 pm PT (12:47 am ET)

Apple airs new iPhone ad, continues brilliant 'quiet' TV campaign

Apple on Thursday released a new ad focusing on the iPhone as a music player, with its quiet, serene style following in the footsteps of the company's last spot, and paving the way for a new breed of commercial.

Titled "Music Every Day," Apple's latest iPhone promo continues "Photos Every Day" in being near-silent, with only a tamped down background track and a few giggles or foot taps breaking the stillness.



The ad starts out with a shot of a woman positioned at the far left of the screen. Hunched over a wall, she is seemingly lost in thought as she slowly touches at the air with her fingers, almost twirling the unseen strands of a rising sun's light. The tell-tale white wires and silhouette of Apple's EarPods standout in relief against an otherwise gray background daubed with out of focus browns and blacks.

Next, a man just finishing an workout is shown, again at left of center, overlooking a city after what appears to be the end of a daily exercise routine. This is where the viewer catches their first glimpse of a product, a black iPhone 5, but the device is largely hidden in the hands of the runner.

In fact, throughout the entire commercial, viewers see very little of the iPhone itself and, except for two brief "slices of life" — one in which a DJ at a club scans a playlist, and another where the passenger in a car is holding the handset as his friends rock out in the back seat — the screen isn't shown at all. The device remains hidden in almost every frame, nestled in someone's pocket, obscured by a jar of jelly as someone eats. It never becomes the focus of attention.

The ad moves quickly from one scene to the next, the common physical thread being the iPhone and EarPods, but a more important underlying theme is the music the characters are listening to. This music goes unheard by the audience.

As the background piano track swells, a narrator says, "Everyday, more people enjoy music on the iPhone than any other phone." The iPhone and Apple logos are displayed, and the commercial ends. So calm is the ad that the branding and dubbed voice are somewhat jarring, and feel out of place.

Surrounded by other ads, which are usually loud and attention-grabbing, Apple's latest attempts stand out from crowd. The company is obviously crafting their latest commercials with expert care, focusing much more on subtleties like camera work and scene composition than in-your-face product placement.

Contemplative, simple and consistent, Apple's latest spot manages to convey feeling through voiceless, nameless, almost generic characters. Nothing extraordinary happens, no explosions or humorous juxtapositions are shown. But that's the point.

Like the first character dancing her fingers with the sun's rays, Apple is toying with the ethereal nature of everyday life, and showing how the iPhone can be a part of that reality.