New iPad 2 commercial highlights maturing forms of multimodal textuality and kinesthetic reading

Here’s the latest add for Apple’s iPad 2:

It’s short, but if you can’t wait, here’s a transcript [with my own line breaks]:

“Now, we can watch a newspaper;
listen to a magazine;
curl up with a movie;
and see a phone call.
Now, we can take a classroom anywhere;
hold an entire bookstore;
and touch the stars.
Because now, there’s this.”

A couple of notes:

  • First, this commercial offers the most succinct and direct explanation of the new ways texts are becoming multimodal. I’ll be the first to admit that multimodal texts have been around as long as there have been texts of any kind. But the iPad and other tablets seem to be operating very much on the NEW ways our texts are becoming multimodal. This commercial also begins to move away from the “magic” and “convenience” arguments which fueled Apple’s initial (and successful) ad campaigns. What Apple is beginning to foreground with this commercial is not just the synesthetic qualities of tablet-based texts, but also the way that tablets transform the kinesthetic relationships we have with texts. Anyone who’s interested in these concerns and has been paying attention will have seen this coming for a long time. No only is Apple pushing us in that direction more than anyone else, but they seems to know exactly the ways in which they’re doing it, and their language seems to foreground it.
  • Second, although this commercial is a voice-over-video, I want to focus almost entirely on the spoken words. After going back-and-forth quite a bit, I decided that it would be best to include a transcript to which you could refer. Not sure how I feel about that. Then I thought that maybe I should do a little video podcast, but I didn’t think that just a couple of notes on the commercial warranted that level of commitment. So the transcript. What would you have done?

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