Apple returns to form with new iPad 2 ad

After drifting into boast and bombast, Apple returns to rich and well-crafted advertising for the iPad 2. The ad asserts not merely that Apple has the best tablet, but that it represents the whole category.

Dear RIM, here's the thing about love.

You don't just declare it and make everyone believe it's there. You carefully cultivate it by design. You make it part of your business.

Apple's new iPad 2 ad, which debuted yesterday, is an excellent example of how and why the company knows more about people than all of its competitors put together.

Please don't tell anyone, but Apple's last iPad 2 ad was a strange cacophony of boasting, one that seemed to have been written by a harassed, delusional PR executive.

It was a strange follow-up to the sublime "We Believe" spot, which explained to all of its competitors that technology wasn't about, well, technology.

This new ad, called "Now", returns Apple to its senses and that of real human beings who just want to enjoy at least part of their lives.

The copy is well-crafted: "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."

This might have some of the technologically obsessed marketing people craning to criticize. Where are the product features? Where are the specs?

Let's hope we don't have to say this again, but people don't buy technology for the specs. They buy it for what it can do and how easily.

Some designers and sellers of technology seem to believe that there is a vast intellectual amusement in making their products "sophisticated", as if these products should have hidden secrets that only the geekily minded can uncover.

But out there in the real world, there are people who just want to have fun, marvel a little, and not have to ask some crass youth how to get an e-mail or a movie on their little gadget.

Yes, they want their gadget to work simply and to work now. Apple understands this, creates something, and simply says: "Here you go. Switch it on."

Of course, whether you actually do like the product itself is up to you.