The way Apple is approaching the marketing of the iPhone is very different from how they have marketed both iPods and Macs. iPod commercials focus on music in much the same way iPods focus on music. There is nothing of the iPods interface, just music, music and dancing. The Mac commercials we’ve come to adore don’t show you a Mac or OS X. Rather, they just tell the audience, “Hey, we do the same stuff PCs do, only we do it better!” iPhone commercials, however, not only show you an actual device, they also show you a mysterious finger using the device.
The concept is very similar to what Apple’s employees do for customers when they realize the customer has never used a Mac before. It was also common during the release of Leopad in 2007. The idea was to take the customer on a “ride” of sorts through the operating system’s features. It only lasts a minute or two but the impression left is very positive.
It would be interesting to see Apple employ this same approach with OS X or possibly their iLife suite of applications. I envision an iPhoto commercial where a camera is connected, events are created, faces is used to identify/tag individuals, places is used for geolocation and lastly an album is uploaded to either flickr or Facebook. I think all (or most) of this could be accomplished using the same format as the iPhone commercials.
The idea is to sell the OS X platform in the same way the iPhone platform is sold — show them what it can do and they will want to use it.