Apple makes the case for Google Glass

Apple's last holiday ad, "Misunderstood", focuses on a kid who initially seems disinterested in the activity around him, instead placing his entire focus on his phone, despite the various attempts of his family to engage him. In the end we realize he was just busy trying to make a christmas video for the family, to emotional effect (hence the name). While the commercial concludes in a way designed for us to forgive what many people would consider to be rude and insulting behavior (don't know how many real life families would tolerate a kid ignoring his siblings in such a gathering for long), it's hard for anyone who follows the development of Glass to not see a glaring use case for the wearable device, and in a way, an answer to the criticisms about it.

A lot of digital ink has been levied against Glass focusing only on the privacy concerns while ignoring the potential benefits of such technology. The conundrum posited by the wish to include technology on our important moments is clearly displayed on the ad: we have the technology to be able to record anything in an instant, but unfortunately it has the nasty side effect of disengaging us from the very moment we would like to capture. Even if, as some interpret it to be, the boy of the ad could be seen to have participated in some way with the family, the highlight is on the moments he separates himself, which indicate a significant amount of time spent apart from the relatives and focused on the technology. This is exactly what Glass is made to alleviate. Recording a moment no longer requires you to stare at a screen for the duration of the process, which leaves you free to actually be social and absorb the moment. In the world of Glass, being "Misunderstood" is no longer necessary.

But as I mentioned, the biggest gripe with Glass critics seems to be privacy. They say Glass makes it easy to record someone without their consent. For this, Glass is, supposedly, a perv product (again, ignoring all the benefits of the technology for one bad use case). Of course, it's not like you couldn't do this already with a smartphone for the last decade or so. But the claim is that Glass makes it too easy; that with a smartphone, you can easily tell when someone is taking video of you. However, watching this commercial, it seems the kid was having no problem secretly recording people unnoticed. In most cases people hardly ever reacted to the presence of a smartphone pointed at them. Of course, this is nothing new to anyone except the people who think Glass should be banned for the potential of voyeuristic recording. Never mind that if anyone truly wanted to record someone in secret, they can just as well use an iPhone, as the commercial clearly demonstrates.

Imagine if Google made this commercial, but with Glass. They could possibly show more engagement (driving the sled, hanging some ornaments or even helping bake the food perhaps). And definitely no aloofness. I'm sure Apple wasn't thinking of it when they approved the ad, but they just highlighted the reason why current technology can be an annoyance, and in turn exposed why wearables are a legitimate category.