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Apple logo--a real buzz kill

Apple logo pops up repeatedly in iTunes Visualizer, spoiling vibe at cool party.

I found myself at a friend's birthday party July 4 eve with a bunch of San Francisco hipsters celebrating the fact that the next day was a holiday.

Downstairs, DJs were spinning techno and break beats; upstairs was a mellower scene. The attic of this historic home in the Presidio had been turned into the ultimate chill pad, the floors covered in futons and faux-fur throws, lamps throwing colored light on the ceiling; a carefully chosen ambient selection drifting from iTunes. On a big screen, the interactive iTunes Visualizer was warping the music into beautiful swirls of color and pattern, undulating and flowing in sync with the sounds. Everyone was happy; all guards down; the vibe good.

Then up on the screen popped...the white Apple logo. Repeatedly and spontaneously throughout the night. How brilliant, and troubling, of Jobs and Co. to sneak a billboard so intrusively into trippy visual art being watched by people quite possibly in a vulnerable state to marketing.

The logo reappears every few songs and remains at the center of the screen for what seems like half a minute or so before fading away. There is no option to disable it, but there are other visualizers that can be used. (See screenshot and more information on Wikipedia.)

I pointed the logo out to a friend who's an avowed Microsoft fan, definitely in the minority in this crowd. He laughed as he, ironically, was passing out apples to the blissful group. "Have an iApple slice" he said sarcastically. "And don't forget to use Google search."