There's always something funny about tablet ads that show people doing all sorts of unique and creative things with their iPads. Apple's latest, released on Sunday, includes:

  • Building an iPad into a motorcycle
  • 3D printing design (or something)
  • Agricultural plot location tracking
  • Making a surfboard
  • Running some kind of diagnostics on a car engine
  • Designing a tattoo
  • Throwing a pumpkin off a building
  • It's hard to tell, but I think there are a few people in an ultra-brief shot toward the end wearing them screen-side-out on their faces as masks.

I mean, wow, right? Look at all the creative stuff that's happening. Look at all these cool, progressive uses to which these diverse folks are putting the iPad Air 2. Who would have even thought of building an iPad into a motorcycle for use as digital instrumentation? Or using it to track what's growing where in your cool urban rooftop garden?

Certainly not me. In fact, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of my tablet usage involves the following:

  • Watching movies while sitting on my butt in an airport or train.
  • Reading ebooks while sitting on my butt in an airport or train.
  • Checking in on Twitter while sitting on my butt in an airport or train.
  • Charging the battery, since I go months without using it.
  • Getting halfway through an email reply before getting frustrated and pulling out my laptop to write the rest. (While sitting, etc.)

While I haven't seen any scientific research on the subject, I'm willing to bet that people mostly use tablets the same way I do as portable media gizmos for periods where neither a laptop nor a phone will do. The most creative thing I think I've ever done with one is prop it up on the kitchen counter to keep a recipe in front of me as I cooked, which was handy, but also resulted in ugly food smears on the device. (Also, pro tip turn off the screen timeout before you start.)

That doesn't make for a very good commercial, of course, but it's also why Apple's ad feels so bogus sure, it's technically possible to do all this stuff with your iPad Air 2, but how many people are actually going to? It's the gadget equivalent of those car ads that show SUVs churning over dusty desert terrain, throwing up photogenic bursts of sand in slow motion sure, that looks cool, but it'd be a lot more accurate to show somebody driving one to Market Basket to pick up pancake mix and eggs.

Apple had the same sort of aspirational nonsense happening in its previous iPad ads, the ones with the voice-over of Robin Williams' monologue from Dead Poets Society. But, hey, those at least had Robin Williams. This one is just another opportunity to show you a bunch of hip young smart people with iPads, because Apple is excellent at branding.