Keeping with tradition, Apple has released an ad promoting its new iPad and educational tools for students and teachers after announcing the updated hardware and software during its education event. The heartwarming commercial is centered around “Group Three,” a cadre of five students who use an iPad to complete a class project about gravity. The ad, while highlighting the iPad’s new Pencil support and educational tools, raises another, perhaps even more important question concerning the actions of group member Thomas.
During the creation of Group Three’s report on gravity, the youngsters dropped an egg and a watermelon from a bridge, recording the simultaneous impact with an iPad propped up by a backpack. On impact, the bits of watermelon and egg strike the iPad, both altering its recording angle and covering it in fruity watermelon matter. It is here, in this gathering of peers, free from adult supervision, where Thomas makes his move.
Thomas takes it upon himself to grab the iPad off the ground and immediately lick its aluminum exterior, speckled in watermelon chunks. It all happens in one exhilarating scene, after which Thomas and his peers are awestruck by the captured slow-motion footage.
But I’ve got some concerns about Thomas’ unhygienic behavior, even in the fictional universe of this Apple commercial. Think about it: He licked an iPad. A communal iPad, I might add. It’s not the boy’s personal tablet, but one shared among his schoolmates, one that will ostensibly be handed to another student after Thomas is promoted from one grade to the next. One that’s probably passed to another student during recess when they want to share hilarious YouTube videos with one another, or during class when someone misplaces (or breaks) the iPad entrusted to them and is forced to share with another classmate. While we can clearly discern his motives (watermelon is a pretty tasty fruit), we’re still stumped about a certain logistical factor.
Beautiful commercials aren’t made of serendipity and falling watermelons. They’re constructed, like a high-rise building, by throngs of people working in concert toward a singular goal. One of those goals involved Thomas, a real human person, licking an iPad, an inedible product fabricated out of aluminum and glass, among other things. How many times did a director step into frame after Thomas’ licking was deemed unusable, lacking in feeling, or missing motivation? How many watermelons were lost during filming, splattered to smithereens by the laws of physics and one company’s quest to capture the platonic ideal of someone ingesting plant matter from the backside of a tablet computer?
How many times did Thomas lick the iPad?
Either way, you should give it a look, and appreciate the reading of Jack Prelutsky’s poem “Homework! Oh, Homework!” by, I’m gonna say, John Goodman.