Do AirPods kill intimacy? No way, says Apple’s holiday ad

Have you ever been strolling along the street, listening to your favorite tune when a spotlight suddenly picks you out and you find yourself pulling off extraordinary dance moves all the way home? Thought not.

It does, however, happen to the star of Apple’s new ad for its wireless AirPods.

It’s a snowy night in the city, and the protagonist whips out her iPhone X to select Sam Smith’s gentle Palace track. With her AirPods firmly lodged in her ears, the song compels her to dance majestically through the city, with passerssby apparently doing their best to avoid eye contact with the odd woman prancing along the snow-covered sidewalk.

But then, inevitably, she bumps into someone. It’s a guy, and instead of yelling at her to “get the hell outta my way,” he looks at her in a way that suggests they’re going to spend the rest of the ad together. And quite possibly their lives.

With gazes firmly locked, she stuffs one of her AirPods into his ear, prompting Smith’s track to crank up again. Off the pair go, dancing through the night together. With one AirPod each.

And perhaps that’s the point of the ad. When the AirPods launched in 2016, there was much talk about how Apple’s wireless earbuds destroyed that unique intimacy that comes from getting tangled up with someone special, as might happen when sharing wired buds. The physical link isn’t there with the wireless buds, nor that potential for closeness or frisson of uncertainty, though Apple clearly begs to differ. Or perhaps the ad is telling us that no matter your movements, the wireless AirPods will not slip out of your ears and disappear down a drain.

Despite the dangerously distracted dancing, the happy couple manages to avoid stumbling into a canal or getting mown down by a bus, allowing them to perform the kind of dance moves that would hospitalize most of us within seconds of trying them.

As Apple’s ad comes to a close, the couple quits rocking out and instead gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, AirPods still wedged firmly in earholes. But then the spotlight goes off, daylight returns, his AirPod is gone, and they are strangers again — all of which may confirm that it’s probably wise to think twice about sticking one of your earbuds into a stranger’s ear.

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