TIME Companies

Apple Converting a Failed Manufacturing Hub Into a $2 Billion Data Center

Apple iPhone 6/6 Plus Launch in Japan
Chris McGrath—Getty Images A member of the press compares the new iPhone models at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus at the Apple Omotesando store on September 19, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.

Facility was originally meant to help make iPhone screens

An Arizona facility that Apple planned to use to manufacture material for iPhone screens will instead be used as a data center.

Arizona’s governor announced Monday that Apple plans to open a $2 billion data center in Mesa, Ariz., near Phoenix, the New York Times reports. The facility will employ about 150 full-time Apple workers and provide 300 to 500 construction and trade jobs. It’s one of Apple’s largest-ever investments in a physical space.

Originally, the 1.3 million square foot facility was meant to be used to make sapphire screens for Apple’s iPhone 6. But GT Advanced Technologies, the company Apple contracted to do the work, went bankrupt last fall amid contractual disputes, forcing Apple to find a new use for the space. According to the Times, Apple will monitor other data centers from the Arizona facility, which will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

[NYT]

 

TIME Media

Everybody Streamed Missy Elliott Songs After the Super Bowl

Party like it's 2002

When Katy Perry brought out surprise guest Missy Elliott at the Super Bowl, fans who remember the rap star dancing without a head were likely hit by a huge wave of nostalgia. So much so, in fact, that streams of Missy’s songs shot up on Spotify immediately after the halftime performance.

The streaming service has revealed that Missy Elliott’s catalogue streams jumped 676% from the time just before kickoff to shortly after the game, around 11 p.m ET. In particular, “Lose Control” got the biggest spike, with streams of the song rising 1,396% during the period.

Perry, of course, also benefited from the halftime show. Her streams increased 85% following the game, with “Teenage Dream” getting the biggest bump of 139%. In terms of raw numbers, Perry almost certainly got a bigger bump than Missy, though. The songs Perry performed have a combined 600 million plays on Spotify, while Elliott’s songs have about 20 million plays.

To celebrate these ladies’ success, here’s a video of Missy and Tommy Lee having an anti-gravity breakdance battle, because that’s what the mid-2000’s were like:

TIME Gadgets

Tablet Shipments Are Officially In Decline

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images An attendee looks at the new iPad Air during an Apple announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

People bought 3 million fewer tablets last quarter than a year ago

The once-booming tablet market has hit some turbulence.

Year-over-year shipments of tablets declined for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to research firm IDC. 76 million of the devices were shipped worldwide during the fourth quarter, down from about 79 million a year prior.

The decline of Apple’s iPad has been well-documented: The device tumbled 18% in year-over-year unit sales during the fourth quarter and 4% for 2014 overall. But this isn’t just an Apple problem. Sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets fell a staggering 70% during the fourth quarter, from 5.8 million during that period in 2013 to 1.7 million in 2014. Samsung tablet sales also fell 18%, from 13.5 million to 11 million.

The shift away from tablets can likely be blamed in part on the growing size of smartphones: Owning a bigger smartphone means you might have less need for a tablet. Apple just had its most successful quarter ever largely thanks to blockbuster sales for its jumbo-sized iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. People also tend to hold on to their tablets longer than their phones, at least in the U.S., because tablets are generally not subsidized by wireless carriers.

Despite recent trends, overall tablet shipments in 2014 did manage to grow slightly from 2013, climbing 4% from 220 million to 230 million. IDC projects that shipments will increase again in 2015 thanks to new devices running Windows 10 and the growing popularity of large tablets with screen sizes topping 10 inches.

TIME Advertising

This Was the Biggest Ad of the Super Bowl

Budweiser's cute puppy can't be topped

Americans just can’t get enough cute puppies.

Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” commercial, a sequel to last year’s mega-popular “Puppy Love,” has been crowned the most popular ad of Super Bowl XLIX by a variety of metrics.

TiVo said the ad was the most engaging Super Bowl spot among its viewers, meaning it caused the biggest spike in active viewership of any of the ads. The ad was the most-shared spot online, garnering more than 2.1 million posts on Twitter, Facebook and blogs since it debuted last Wednesday, according to video ad tech company Unruly. “Lost Dog” was also voted the best Super Bowl by viewers on Hulu’s AdZone, which gathered all the national ads for the big game in one place.

“Puppy Love” pulled off a similarly dominant performance during last year’s Super Bowl, so it’s no surprise Budweiser doubled down on cuteness. Overall, Super Bowl ads this year trended more toward the heartwarming than the humorous. The days when Budweiser sold its beer by having dudes scream “Whaaaaasup” feels like an eternity ago.

Missed the Super Bowl ads? You can watch them all right here.

TIME Advertising

The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads of 2015

TIME grades all the ads of Super Bowl XLIX

  • Toyota

    Toyota pays tribute to Paralympian snowboarder and Dancing with the Stars competitor Amy Purdy crosscuts intensely between Purdy’s boarding and ballroom dancing with a classic Muhammad Ali rhyming boast. She’s cool. Ali’s cool. But making the eternally sensible Camry seem “bold” is beyond Ali and Purdy’s powers combined. Awesome ad for snowboards and prostheses, though!

    Grade: C

  • TurboTax

    The tax-preparation giant builds a dramatic re-creation of the Boston Tea Party, then suggests that all it would have taken to end the American Revolution would have been for the Redcoats to offer free tax filing. Bit of a flat punchline, topped by the suggestion–in a game involving the Patriots–that the Founding Fathers could have been bought off cheap? As the ad’s refrain says, “All right then!”

    Grade: C-

  • Game of War: Fire Age

    A warrior princess rises from a bath and dons strategically bust-baring armor to ride off against her enemies. Doesn’t look like anyone was out to overturn anyone’s ideas about how women are portrayed in video games, but–truth in advertising, I guess.

    Grade: D-

  • Tomorrowland

    Disney’s been showing trailers for this George Clooney futuristic adventure for a while now, but this quick, visually enchanting cutdown is at least enough to make you wish for tomorrow to come a little faster.

    Grade: B-

  • BMW

    Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel prove good sports by journeying back to 1994, when e-mail addresses were still news and the pair still hosted a morning show on the television machine. (“What is Internet?” Gumbel wonders on air. “Do you write to it, like mail?”) Cut to 2015–when Couric does the news on Yahoo–and the two are tooling around in an electric car made in a wind-powered factory. Message: the I3 is the future–so points off for ending on a twerking joke, which expired sometime in 2013.

    Grade: C

  • Minions

    First wardrobe malfunction of the game comes well before the halftime show, as the fun-sized Despicable Me sidekicks tout their sequel. Bonus points for theming an ad around the game rather than going with a movie-trailer cutdown, and as always, the guys are little yellow pills.

    Grade: B

  • Snickers

    Like a layer of rich caramel, the “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign gets chewed over and over without losing its flavor. In possibly the most bizarre and funniest take yet, Danny Trejo plays an axe-wielding Marcia and Steve Buscemi a pouty Jan in a surreal episode of The Brady Bunch. A couple Super Bowls from now, the Snickers ad will just be an extended version of “Too Many Cooks,” and I’m fine with that.

    Grade: A-

  • Budweiser

    Have a soul? This ad is for you. “Lost Dog” is about an 11-week old golden lab puppy who accidentally gets separated from his Clydesdale best friend. The emotional rollercoaster of an ad is essentially Homeward Bound condensed into a 60-second spot.

    Grade: A

  • Nationwide

    Inattentive insurance providers have apparently made Mindy Kaling feel invisible. So takes advantage by eating ice cream right out of the frozen food aisle, walking through a car wash (sans vehicle), and nuzzling up to Matt Damon in a restaurant. The ad trades on Kaling’s charm but undercuts its central point (insurance is a good thing?).

    Grade: B+

  • Coca-Cola

    It’s the good kind of hack. When Coke spills in a data center, it sends a message of hope and anti-bullying around the world.

    Grade: A

  • Avocados from Mexico

    It’s hard to know what exactly is going on in this ad starring: a caveman, two sportscasters, high fiving koalas and kangaroos, a fainting Dodo Bird, a polar bear in a sombrero, and… an avocado. Too much. Too confusing. But the sloth was kind of cute?

    Grade: C

  • Dove Men

    Dove compiled a series of home videos (or clips which look like home video) of children calling out for “Dad” in all the word’s permutations. It’s an almost perfect, emotional tour de force—aside from the pitch for the product with its AM-radio-esque announcer which seems beside the point.

    Grade: A

  • Doritos

    This spot stars a bro on an airplane playing the recorder, clipping his toenails, hacking up mucus, and doing other gross stuff to prevent people from taking the free seat next to him. Until, that is, an attractive woman appears. He pulls out a bag of Doritos to lure her just as—womp, womp—it turns out she has a baby in her arms. Bummer, brah! The joke doesn’t land. Probably because it’s not funny.

    Grade: F

  • Nissan

    Super Bowl 2015 appears to be the the year of the dadvertising. Nissan’s 90-second ad is the Boyhood of spots, following a family over the course of a boy’s childhood as he watches his Dad compete on the NASCAR circuit. The cinematography is good, it’s pretty heartwarming, but the story-telling is only so-so.

    Grade: B+

  • Nationwide

    Remember all the adorable father-son bonding? Nationwide’s “Boy Can’t Grow” ad might ruin all your warm and fuzzies. A little boy tells Super Bowl viewers that he’ll never get the cooties, get married or travel the world with his best friend—because he died from a preventable accident. Wrenching.

    Grade: B

  • Weight Watchers

    For starters, some food porn. Pizza as far as the eye can see. Onion rings raining from above. Crème burlee cracking. Steak sizzling. And then—an empty plate with the text “It’s Time To Take Back Control.” Weight watchers is here to tackle this nightmare (though it looked pretty delicious) and help regulate your eating habits.

    Grade: B+

  • WeartherTech

    This ad looks very cool and high tech. There are lasers and industriald machinery and American workers wearing protective goggles. Making car mats never looked so…inspiring.

    Grade: B

  • McDonald’s

    McDonald’s has incredible news for America: It will now accept hugs as payment for Chicken McNuggets. The Pay with Lovin’ campaign lets select customers use “Lovin'” as currency. This includes compliments, silly dances, and calling your mom just to say “I love you.” It’s sweet.

    Grade: A-

  • Esurance

    Esurance’s Breaking Bad-themed ad doesn’t quite land the way it would if the show was still on. Despite Bryan Cranston’s pitch-perfect performance, this one doesn’t feel very relevant.

    Grade: C

  • Fiat

    Fiat’s “The Pill” spot trades on old cliches: Italians are randy—even if they need Viagra. The new Italian-made vehicle looks great. This ad on the other hand…

    Grade: C-

  • GoDaddy

    GoDaddy’s paean to the hard-working small business owner who isn’t at your Super Bowl Party right now has a few funny lines but is mostly tinny and uninteresting.

    Grade: D

  • Discover Card

    Discover’s ad is one of the—thankfully—few spots trading on Internet memes this year. Needless to say, the surprise isn’t worth ruining because it’s not very original or funny.

    Grade: D

  • Microsoft

    Microsoft’s “empowering” commercial tells the story of a little boy who hasn’t let the fact that he has two prosthetic legs hold him back. With the help of Microsoft-powered technology, Braylon runs relay races, plays tennis and…warms your heart.

    Grade: A

  • Squarespace

    This may be the only Super Bowl ad that wants to put viewers to sleep. For 30-seconds, we were treated to Jeff “The Dude” Bridges making the lulling sounds of a didgeridoo next to a couple that’s fast asleep in bed. As much as the Dude abides, this ad didn’t quite get the job done.

    Grade: C

  • Toyota

    Another Dad ad. This one isn’t quite as successful as Dove’s but, by the end of the spot, it’ll likely have gotten you there. If by “there,” you mean teary and emotional.

    Grade: A-

  • Sketchers

    If seeing Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot in a halftime performance in 2015 wasn’t retro enough, this Pete Rose ad certainly did the trick. Rose, who was infamously banned from baseball for betting on games, appears surrounded by memorabilia in what looks like it could be the baseball hall of fame.

    But nope, Pete’s not in Cooperstown, he’s just lounging in his own house’s hallway and marveling at the comfort of his Skechers. It’s a decent idea, but Rose’s wooden delivery, the bland background music and a too-on-the-nose reference to his past transgressions at the end of the ad make this spot a clunker.

    Grade: D

  • Always

    Taking a page from Dove’s successful ad campaigns centered on female empowerment, Always offers a clever one-minute spot that deconstructs the common playground insult that someone throws “like a girl.” In the ad we see actual girls throwing, running and fighting with all their might. The resonant message and the cuteness factor combine to make a memorable ad that would make Mo’ne Davis proud.

    Grade: A

  • Clash of Clans

    You know mobile gaming has hit the big-time when one if its biggest titles gets a Super Bowl ad.

    This spot for Clash of Clans starts off predictably enough, but it takes a turn for the bizarre (in the best possible way) when it’s revealed that Liam Neeson (aka “AngryNeeson52”) is playing the game in a coffee shop — and he’s ready to go on a Taken-style warpath to get revenge on those who would dare cross him. It’s Neeson’s icy delivery that really sells the spot, and the clueless barista at the end who mispronounces his name (LIE-am) only adds to the hilarity. Well played.

    Grade: A

  • Sprint

    Sprint takes a page from T-Mobile’s book by calling out competitors Verizon and AT&T by name. The script for this ad is actually rather vulgar, but the curse words dissing the country’s largest wireless carriers are replaced with a bleating goat and a surly-looking donkey. The ad is pretty unexciting overall, and loses points because no one actually wants to hear a goat screaming when they’ve got their TV volume turned way up to watch football.

    Grade: C-

  • Lexus

    Lexus gives a slightly different spin to the typical car ad by using a miniature model of its RC 350 line to show off the vehicle’s slick handling capabilities. The premise is fun and the tiny car definitely could have earned a spot in Tokyo Drift, but we kind of wish the tricks were even more outlandish. How about leaping over a two-foot chasm or something next time?

    Grade: C+

  • Dodge

    Dodge resurfaced its successful 2014 campaign featuring centenarians offering life advice to all us young whippersnappers who weren’t alive for the 20s and 30s. The ad is a clever way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the car company, and presents a set of people that are rarely used to market things that aren’t specifically aimed at the elderly. What’s not to love about hearing a 100-year-old dude yell “Don’t bit*h!” right after he mean-mugs the camera from the driver’s seat of his ride?

    Grade: A

  • Jublia

    I’ll admit that Jublia was facing an uphill battle from the get-go when they decided to try to advertise a medicine for toenail fungus during the Super Bowl. But was an animated, rancid foot dressed as a football player really the best thing they could dream up? The saddest part is the ad’s not even supposed to be a gross-out spot that shocks people into remembering it. This company appears to believe a fungus-ridden toe with a helmet covering its browned toenail is cute.

    Grade: D-

  • Jeep

    This is a bit too solemn and serious — not to mention pretentious — for a car commercial, but it does show some gorgeous parts of the United States, reminding us that the country is beautiful, or whatever. Sadly, many of these remote locations are simply not accessible for the everyday Jeep driver.

    Grade: B-

  • Mophie

    Think of all the scenes from every disaster movie you’ve ever seen and make them all weirder. Then, throw in a dog walking a human on a leash and edit everything together a little too fast, and you have this spot for Mophie. It’s a bit dark for a Super Bowl commercial, but it does capture the inner turmoil you face when your phone battery is nearly depleted. The ad would be better if it had explicitly revealed what Mophie is, and, more importantly, if it had featured Morgan Freeman as God.

    

Grade: B-

  • Loctite

    This ad draws you in immediately, bringing to mind questions like “What the hell is happening?” and “Why do they all have fanny packs?” Soon, you realize they have fanny packs because they’re filled with Loctite glue, which is what this very funny 30-second spot is selling. But it’s also selling joy and great dance moves and the perfect solution to your marriage.

    Grade: A

  • Mercedes

    Props to Mercedes for attempting something whimsical and cute as opposed to austere and chic, but it seems they’re trying just a little too hard to appeal to the youths here. Group selfies? Trash-talking tortoises? Sweet jumps? Bro voices? Sorry, but hip youths simply cannot afford the vehicle being advertised here.

    Grade: C

  • Bud Light

    This ad starts off with too much idle chatter between a bro and his buds, but eventually gets to the point, and that point is: real-life Pac-Man looks super fun. This might not make you want to drink a Bud Light, necessarily, but it will definitely want to make you run around like a human Pac-Man at a sweet rave.

    Grade: B

  • Doritos

    This ad stars a modern-day Jonathan Lipnicki as a kid who will go to great lengths to eat some Doritos. You’ve really got to admire his inventiveness, engineering prowess and his commitment to keeping animals safe and happy, even when he’s using them in somewhat dangerous schemes. But perhaps the best part of this commercial is that a selfish farmer who won’t share with children gets his comeuppance.

    Grade: B+

    Read next: Enjoy These Super Bowl Ads, For Tomorrow You Shall Die

    Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Video Games

This Is the Most Exciting Star Wars Development Yet

You can now fly X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon

Arcades aren’t quite dead yet, at least according to Disney and Bandai Namco. The two companies have launched an immersive new Star Wars arcade game called Star Wars: Battle Pod that lets players pilot iconic vehicles like the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing, and Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced. The massive, 1200-pound cabinet features a 18-degree curved screen, as well as a chair that rumbles on impact and air blasts to mimic flight. The game recounts specific, iconic scenes like the Battle of Hoth (yes, you can fly a Snowspeeder) and the destruction of the Death Star II. Check out the video above for some behind-the-scenes footage of the development of the game.

Star Wars: Battle Pod launched in U.S. arcades this January and will arrive in other countries later in the year. Those who can’t manage to find one of these beauties out in the wild will have to be content playing the still-excellent Rogue Squadron for Nintendo 64.

TIME Media

Why Jay-Z’s New Music Service Won’t Beat Spotify

Celebrites Attend The Miami Heat Vs Brooklyn Nets Game - May 12, 2014
James Devaney—GC Images Jay-Z attends the Miami Heat vs Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on May 12, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Most people don't want to pay more for higher audio quality

Business mogul Jay-Z has a new acquisition to add to his collection of night clubs, clothing lines and luxury champagnes. The rapper’s company, Project Panther Bidco, is picking up European streaming music service Aspiro for $56 million, according to Reuters.

But while the Oslo-based service has managed to rack up 580,000 paying subscribers in Europe with a Spotify-like service, the company’s bet on high-priced, high-fidelity music streaming isn’t likely to take the world by storm.

Back in October, Aspiro launched Tidal, a new service for the U.S. and U.K. that offers millions of songs in a high-fidelity, lossless FLAC format, with essentially the same audio quality as CDs. Tidal boasts a library similar in scale to Spotify’s, but its tracks are higher in audio quality. That improved quality comes at a price: Tidal costs $19.99 per month, while Spotify’s ad-free version is $9.99 per month.

And if the last 15 years of the music industry’s fortunes tell us anything, it’s that people don’t want to pay more for high-quality audio files.

An entire generation of music lovers have now grown up without being regularly exposed to CD-level audio quality. Whether ripping CDs to create low-fidelity MP3s, downloading compressed audio files off of iTunes or streaming tracks from Spotify, most young music listeners have gotten used to low-bitrate listening. Audio quality on YouTube varies wildly and is often quite poor, but it’s still the most popular way for teenagers to listen to music.

Moreover, convincing people to pay $9.99 per month for music is already a tough sell, let alone $19.99 per month. Only about a fourth of Spotify’s 60 million users pay for the service, and it’s the platform with the largest paid user base by far. The industry may never convince fans to pay $120 per year (or in the case of Tidal, $240 per year) en masse considering that even at the music industry’s peak in 1999, music buyers were only spending $64 per year on songs, according to an analysis by Re/code.

(Read more: 8 Spotify tricks that will change the way you listen to music)

Of course, there is a precedent for a previously price-sensitive market suddenly being flooded with popular premium products. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine convinced millions of consumers that their flimsy iPod earbuds weren’t good enough. They have since created a billion-dollar empire selling expensive Beats headphones that produce higher-quality sound. Like Beats, Tidal will now be helmed by a big-name music star who is also a deft marketer. Perhaps Jay-Z will find a way to make high-fidelity audio cool, too.

But with so many competitors crowding the market and offering, to the layman’s ears, more or less the same product—25 million or so songs that you can stream whenever you want—it’ll be a challenge to lure customers at a higher price. Aspiro and Tidal may find a successful niche among audiophiles, but Jay-Z’s new music service probably won’t unseat the industry’s giants.

TIME satellites

These People Just Took a Selfie From Space

Satellites are the ultimate selfie stick

In what was basically the opposite of a close-up, workers at Israel Aerospace Industries recently posted for a so-called “space selfie.”

About 300 employees for the company lined up to spell the initials “IAI” as one of their own passing satellite snapped a picture from above at an altitude of about 325 miles.

TIME Advertising

This Is How To Make Your Super Bowl Ad Go Insanely Viral

Super Bowl
Elsa—Getty Images Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his team won Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Make sure the ad packs an emotional much and gives people a specific reason to share

Super Bowl XLIX won’t just be about the Patriots battling the Seahawks. We’ll also see Sprint vs. T-Mobile, Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi and Toyota vs. Nissan. Since the big game itself is often a blowout, the advertisements could very well offer more spectacle than the gridiron bout.

But the way we view Super Bowl ads has changed drastically in recent years. It’s no longer enough for advertisers to drop a great 30-second spot in the first quarter and hope for watercooler buzz the next day. The success of Super Bowl ads is now largely measured by how many views and shares they can rack up online, often well before kickoff.

What separates a decent Super Bowl ad from a great one that people need to share with their Facebook friends? We talked to experts at Unruly, a video ad tech firm that tracks social sharing of advertisements, to discover the secrets that help Super Bowl ads go viral.

Bet Big on Emotion

The Super Bowl ads that gain the most traction online are the ones that try to evoke one or two emotions very strongly instead of trying to hit several different notes at once. In particular, ads that try to evoke happiness or warmth have performed well in recent years, says Richard Kosinski, Unruly’s U.S. president.

Last year’s “Puppy Love” by Budweiser, which featured an unlikely but adorable friendship between a Clydesdale horse and a dog, was the most-shared ad from the game. While many ads try to be humorous, Kosinski says comical ads are rarely shared as much as heartwarming ones, because it’s harder to write jokes that people universally find funny.

Get the Ad Out There Early

The week before the Super Bowl is actually the best time to debut ads for the game. Unruly has found that Wednesday is the ideal day, because video ads generate the vast majority of their views in their first 72 hours online. Launch too early, and interest in the ad will have dissipated before the Super Bowl. Launch too late, and the ad won’t have enough time to disseminate across social media before the game itself.

Increasingly, brands are choosing to debut their ads well ahead of kickoff. Even those that don’t want to reveal the entire commercial will often post teasers online before the ads air.

Give People Reasons to Share

Ads that provide a specific social motivation for viewers to share them tend to perform better. In the U.S., Unruly has found ads that let viewers share a passion with others, present a product or service that would be useful to friends or express some trait of their own character spread the furthest across social media. The 2011 spot by Volkswagen featuring a miniature Darth Vader, for instance, was a chance for Star Wars fan to revel in one of the series’ most iconic characters. That ad is the most-shared Super Bowl spot of all time, according to Unruly:

Don’t Be Afraid of Branding

Super Bowl Sunday is the one day when Americans are excited to see brand messages, so there’s no need to be coy about the fact that an ad is an ad. Last year, Chrysler had a would-be hit with a patriotic ad about American resilience that was narrated by Bob Dylan. But the spot was so broad in reach and so light on Chrysler branding that more people thought it was about revitalizing Detroit than buying Chrysler cars, Kosinski says. He says Unruly found no negative effect on sharing for companies that place their brands at the very start of their ads.

TIME Advertising

Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel Grapple With Newfangled ‘Internet’ in BMW Ad

Does "@" mean "at" or "around"?

Back in 1994, “Internet” was not yet an everyday word, as Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel humorously demonstrate in this Super Bowl ad for BMW.

In the spot, the pair are seen grappling with online lingo such as “Internet,” “.com,” and the “@” symbol in footage from a shoot of the Today show. “What is Internet anyway?” Gumbel asks frustratedly at one point.

Cut to today and the two are cruising in a BMW i3 that they find equally perplexing. The implication here of course is that the technology in BMW’s new vehicle will one day be as widely known as the Internet is today. We’ll see about that, but BMW has at least drawn the parallel in a humorous way. We only wish they hadn’t overreached with the twerking joke at the very end, which dates the ad even more than the 1994 file footage.

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser