Apple debuts new Christmas-themed TV ad for iPad, iPad mini, and FaceTime (with video)

Apple last night debuted a new television advertisement on U.S. and Canadian broadcast and cable networks.

The spot features a girl and her grandfather sharing a moment of holiday cheer as the girl sings “I’ll be Home for Christmas” over FaceTime between his iPad (4th gen.) and her iPad mini.

The simple ad really allows for those who are unfamiliar with FaceTime to see how it works and gives an example — perfectly in tune with the season — of how they might use FaceTime in their lives.

Apple’s “I’ll Be Home” TV ad, featuring iPad, iPad mini, and FaceTime:

Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is one of Apple’s better ads – ever. Not only does it fit perfectly with the season and effortlessly show off the products and technology in a real, believable way, the clean, simple audio track compels everyone in the room to stop and look to see what’s going on.


        1. Perspective never really looks like that. If gramps looks at the girl he looks off camera. He’d only look like that if he stared at the camera lens Missing the girls action. At this point apple needs to drive home why their products are the best. It should be the best vs the rest. People don’t know that. The masses don’t, the PC users don’t. that’s why the world is ten to one Pc. Can we get a bigger iPhone screen. How about stereo speakers on the iPad. What would that cost. Five cents? I use a headset with my iPad like. Never. Can I get a movie on the iPad without connecting to NASA as well? Don’t try watching this with airtime on your big screen unless you have 45 minutes for the transfer. These ads cone off pretentious and young kids feel that way. Where’s home by the way. Guam? Merry Xmas hahaaha.

    1. The song she sung has four sentences… Just like your post, which I guess means it was too long, seems to go on forever, a bit torturous and not too many people reading this all the way throu…. 😉

      1. That facetime commercial for the iphone is classic. This spot with the little girl for me actually spotlights a major drawback to facetime, you can’t just put the ipad down and pretend you listened and say “that was very nice honey!”

        1. yeah, it’s one of the emotionally touching ads i’ve ever seen. what kills me is the deaf couple at the end – i mean, it never crossed my mind that a revolutionary feature of a video phone would be moving beyond TTY for the deaf. it’s no surprise they save it for the end. the ad says, we’re creating the future and it matters because its going to touch your life in a million different ways.

          that said, it hasn’t touched my life that much, but the ad totally convinced me it would.

            1. TTY/TTD are a class of hardware that couple to a phone line (traditionally by putting a wired landline phone into a cradle) to enable both parties to type text to one another. It’s basically hardware-based text chat over a plain old telephone line, although it can only go in one direction at once. It’s being supplanted by newer technologies, like SMS and e-mail – but those things don’t completely fill the gap of not being able to sign to communication, which FaceTime allows. That’s why Apple hired Matt Damon to play the deaf guy in the original FaceTime ad. (kidding)

            2. Yeah, I think SMS and e-mail are making TTY a “legacy” solution, although I suspect older folks and people without internet access are still using it. Also, if you’re deaf, you probably need a landline and TTY to get 911. It would make sense for the iPhone to support TTY (to connect to legacy services) – it certainly has everything needed to do so, I should think.

              I think FaceTime is super-important, compared to text-based services, because the Deaf are capable of great expressiveness with signing (not just with their hands, but also their face and whole body language): FaceTime is high bandwidth communication for the Deaf.

              There’s a service called ZVRS, which is available on the iPhone that provides read-time sign language to spoken language translation (using an interpreter).

    2. most ads start long and then get trimmed down.

      Mentally people who have already seen the ad are re creating it in their brains so companies can trim them down.
      (this saves money but has the virtually the same impact).

      That’s how most ad campaigns work but i’m not sure how apple does it.
      (ex-advertising exec).

    3. RP : obviously you’re not a grandparent. Nor parent. So since you’re opinion represents an awful lot of posters on this site, crawl back in the basement and read your comic books. Mom will call you for supper. And try getting out after Christmas and finding a job. 22 is way too old to be living at home. Prick.

  1. I think the (understated) spark is in the grandpa’s eyes. When I started teaching basic computer classes to adults a few years back, we often had grandparents show up who bought a computer just to stay connected to their grandchildren. This ad captures that sentiment simply and says Merry Christmas in a short time

  2. My only complaint is that there is no reference to FaceTime. I know it’s face time. You know it’s face time. But what about all the millions of people out there that have never heard the term “FaceTime”? I doubt that these people know just what they are seeing in that commercial.

    What it it *does* accomplish is encourage those familiar with FT to make the effort to set it up with friends and family, and get some use out of it.

    1. Let’s face it, if she wasn’t away from home, she’d be singing a different song.

      Of course the iPads are video phones. Those who don’t see that, in this commercial, are too stupid to choose Apple products in the first place.

  3. Not just Apple but the ukulele is on the rebound. Anyone with an iPad who wants to learn what the ukulele is all about — its lore, history, players and a complete, interactive range of lessons for absolute beginners and longtime players should check out the tate of the art of ukulele education created on iBooks Author. See “Cool Hand Uke’s Way to Love Uke” on iBookstore, via iTunes.

    1. yes, where are all the psychotic people pawing the air, manipulating their imaginary heads-up displays?! Where’s all the laser beams and transforming machinery?

  4. GrAnpa sees his grandchild…… Sold…. I had a similar experience when a client rented on of my vacation rentals on Cancun…. Clients daughter connected to our WiFi, went to a balcony that faced the beach and Facetimed her grandfather and showed him her with beach behind her…. A child and a grandfather video chatting… Steve’s vision fulfilled…”for the rest of us”…. This is what will sell Apple products.. Not specs , not maps , not who is fastest or price….it’s futuristic capabilities available now and accessablw to everyone .and you don’t need to be a tech geek to do it. Believe me the people who that ad is aimed, get it.

    1. Which is why Apple runs those ads. Not for the geeks, nor the tech elite, nor the media, nor corporate CFOs, nor the media critics, nor the market analysts, nor to win favor with influential bloggers, nor to influence investors, or to appease God.

      It runs the ads because they are effective in attracting buyers. Econ 001.

  5. that is the most vapid and saccharine apple ad i have ever seen!

    …and a total rip-off of zooey deschanel’s homemade video:

    they should have just had zooey do it, or find out if ellen feis can sing. anybody defending this utterly spiritless ad should look at the think different and switch campaigns – no comparison.

    1. Apple consistently uses its advertising to show its devices as the hero. In this ad the iPad and FaceTime are the hero for making it Grandpa-easy to have a moment in the life of his granddaughter.
      “Think Different” was a brand transition campaign and isn’t related to this sort of advertisement in any way.
      The switch campaign was just that: awareness that the morass of computerdom you’re used to (Windows) isn’t the only game in town. So also not related to this type of advertising in any way.

      1. I don’t dispute the specific points you’re making, Jim, but my interpretation is going from a different angle: regardless of the “strategy” of the ad, which is what you’re talking about, there is an emotional impact and cultural juice that an ad does or doesn’t have. ad’s either have pizzaz or not, regardless of marketing strategy.

    2. Wow, it’s so clear! Singing, two people, it’s like they just copied the video. Now that I think of it, all of their commercials are a copy of this one. Music, two people. Oh Apple please be original. No more people and no more music in the commercials.

      1. really? let’s see…ukulele, holiday ballad, webcam, young girl singing. how do you get from that to “all commercials” are like that?

        i love apple – i love apple marketing – and i hold apple to a higher standard because, in fact, they are pretty much the only company that makes great ads (racking my brain for any that even compare).

        1. Not even close to the same song, two adults singing together. If you want to claim the ukulele as similar, then I’ll give you a point. However, posting a video is not the same as FaceTime with your grandfather. One last point. YouTube has 77 videos of people playing a ukulele and singing. So perhaps Zooey didn’t invent the ukulele sing-a -long.

          1. Okay, if you don’t see the similarity, I can never convince of it on the basis of just facts – for me it’s the sum of the parts. I think the ad aspires to have the charm of the Zooey video but falls flat because the performers just don’t have any charisma, most importantly the girl (gramps doesn’t know what to do with himself). She’s ain’t no Zooey. Consider the intense charm of the original MacBook Air commercial with Yael Naim’s vocals – totally engaging.

            1. emo, definately. crush, pretty much – it’s the eyes that make me weak-kneed. but anorexic? where do you get that? her weight is normal for a real-world woman, and a bit chubby for hollywood.

            2. sorry – i made my point poorly. by “for hollywood” i meant only in the totally warped body image values of hollywood. i think she is healthy-looking and attractive.

      1. nope, only ones with a ukulele, a young girl singing a charming holiday ballad over a webcam. i would be very surprised if their marketing team did not become inspired by deschanel’s video. i guess what annoys me more than that they used it as the basis for their video, is that the result was a neutered version.

        1. Pretty weak sauce.. Females have been playing guitars for a long time, and I doubt Zooey was the first to learn to play the ukulele. They are also pretty well made to play holiday music, so even if there was inspiration here, you can hardly claim this was a direct rip off.

  6. That’s what we do with my parents. Chat on Facetime.
    We used to do Skype but my parents PC was so buggy half the time it wouldn’t work. So I sent them an iPad, Airport Express and cables. Everything was setup so all they had to do was plug it into the cable modem.
    The iPad and facetime work very well and it is easy to connect and chat.
    Now I’m going to have to get my 17 year old daughter to sing to them. That would be funny.

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