Apple's jumping into the battle that sees Verizon Wireless and AT&T flaming each other in advertisements, but unlike AT&T's recent effort to defend itself, Apple's new pair of iPhone ads are actually good.
To recap, Verizon fired the first volley with ads that dissed AT&T's lack of 3G coverage. AT&T sued Verizon, claiming that the maps mislead viewers because areas with slower coverage appeared in white, giving the impression that those areas had no coverage at all. A judge ruled in Verizon's favor, allowing the company's ads to keep rolling. So AT&T retaliated with a lame and even childish ad that featured actor Luke Wilson checking off four bullet points in the carrier's favor.
Apple's ads take a different direction. Instead of flinging mud at Verizon, they demonstrate how the iPhone takes advantage of AT&T's ability to place calls and use data at the same time. In one ad, the user checks e-mail in response to a client asking, "Did you see my e-mail?" In another, the user pulls up theater listings when a friend asks what time the movie starts. Other examples follow, and both ads end with the tagline, "Can your phone, and your network, do that?"
In writing, this is called "show, don't tell." Instead of merely saying why AT&T's network is superior, as Luke Wilson did in AT&T's ad, Apple actually shows us how simultaneous voice and data can be useful to iPhone owners.
Personally, I'm still not too enthused for the feature. If, to cite one of Apple's examples, my fiancee called and reminded me of our anniversary, I wouldn't buy flowers in the middle of our conversation. That task at least deserves my undivided attention. But people do use the feature, and Apple has at least pointed to uses you might not have thought about, and that's more valuable than simply shouting about who's better.
If AT&T's going to continue its counter-attack on Verizon, it should follow Apple's lead and give us honest, real-world examples of why its network has value. Show us instances where the faster 3G network makes specific tasks easier. Keep talking about the advantages of simultaneous voice and data, but do it with other phones.
Actually, please, let's start talking about other phones.