Tuesday May 20, 2008

Apple's Strange Campaign

I recently purchased a 160-GByte AppleTV. Pretty cool toy, with a lot of opportunity for modification (not that I would ever dream of doing such things).

In any event, whilst I was taking the outer sleeve of the packaging off, I was greeted by wordage on the inner carton which has quite frankly perplexed me. Here's a to scale image which I took with my scanner:

atvinnerbox.jpg

What I find so strange about this is that in this time of infinite global collaborative possibilities, of web 2.0, of the network being the computer (shameless plug), of a flat world (still haven't gotten through the damn thing... I find Friedman to be a boring author), of, basically, there being no geographical limitations to creativity and the spawning of new and unique ideas, Apple has taken pains to stress that the innovation behind this product came from a geographical location with a population of 36,457,549 people.

It's like somebody was sitting around their home in Cupertino enjoying a fine glass of Californian wine, and said, hey, it works for them, why not us?

Now, being a fairly linear thinking type of guy, my first instinct was to check the outside of the carton to see where my patriotic little beastie was in fact made. Wanna take a guess where?

atvouterbox.jpg

Yeppers, the good ol' land of five stars on a red background (pop quiz to those in the US... what does the Chinese national flag symbolize?).

So, now I'm thinking... does the statement that California was somehow involved meant to atone for it being assembled here? Or, perhaps, appease those protectionist zealots who don't remember when Made in Japan was viewed as a scarlet letter?

Proceeding on my linear track, I pondered still more... okay, designed in California, but by whom? I mean, do their designers proportionally represent the demographics of my fair state? How many Native Americans from California (I am, after all, pro-Californian)? How many H1-B visa holders does it employ?

Just to be clear, as one whose paternal grandfather was not born in the US, and who has always admired immigrants for the drive which they showed in coming to a new country, I really don't care about the above.

So, once again, what did they expect to gain by proclaiming in white text on a black background that this system was designed in California, let alone to someone who had already purchased the product?


I can tell you one thing in a categorical manner, I am proud to be working here in Beijing, proud to be helping folks as they develop new and unique ideas, and proud of the many contributions that they have made to Sun in general and OpenSolaris in particular.

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