Apple has debuted a pretty intense commercial to pump up the new Apple Watch Series 7 with LTE. I must admit, when I first saw it, I was left almost speechless, my mouth slightly agape. The first thing I managed to think of a few seconds afterwards was, “Well, that was mighty unsettling.”
The commercial, which the company released on Jan. 1, opens with a 911 operator asking the person on the call what their emergency is. It then goes on to feature three calls, with ominous music in the background, of people who used their Apple Watch to get in touch with emergency services when they got in trouble. One person had a car accident, another got pushed out to sea while paddle boarding, and a third broke their leg while on their farm.
Apple confirmed to Gizmodo on Monday that the 911 calls were real.
The calls get very intense. The person who had the car accident tells the operator that there’s water getting in their car and they can’t get out. At one point, the person says the water is “getting to my neck.” In another call, the person who got stuck paddle boarding says they “can’t find the wind anymore.” Meanwhile, the person hurt at their farm tells the operator to “please hurry” because they’re in a lot of pain.
I’m getting anxious at this point, and this commercial is only a little more than a minute long. Apple anticipates this, I think, and cuts to the chase.
“With the help of their watch, Jason, Jim, and Amanda were rescued in minutes,” Apple says at the end of the commercial.
Ah, relief. But that was one stressful minute (actually, multiple minutes, since I had to watch it many times to write this article).
If these calls are indeed real, I’m so glad that these poor people got the help they needed. In fact, even if they aren’t real, they demonstrate a key feature Apple Watches have in an emergency. However, I’m left wondering: Was there really no other way to try to sell the Series 7 with cellular than by trying to scare people into buying it? I mean, they could have easily gotten the same point across and used the phone calls without being all dark and ominous. For instance, they could have changed the music.
I say this as a proud Series 7 owner. Heck, I love the thing and its big screen. While calling 911 from my Apple Watch, a feature the devices have had for years, isn’t necessarily the first thing I would think to do in an emergency, I’m glad that there are commercials like these that remind me of this very useful capability.
But we’re already living in a world full of anxiety and fear, and we don’t need more promotional content in that vein on top of it. It really strange—and again, unsettling—for Apple to try to exploit these emotions to sell more Series 7 devices with LTE, especially when it doesn’t need to.
Update 1/4/2022, 7:19 a.m. ET: This post has been updated with additional information from Apple.