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Showing posts with label unpacking video. Show all posts

Apple iPad Unboxing Videos: It's a Man Thing

Ipad Unboxing Video

There are currently more than 14,000 videos of newly purchased iPads being unboxed on Youtube. One well known Apple lover and gadget enthusiast filming himself (undoubtedly from his iPhone) is Stephen Fry , who offers no commentary, but can be heard gasping in wonder as he slowly unpeels the outer layers. So what is the allure? Why are so many people (mostly men) including this strip tease as part of their video review of Apple's latest device?

Marketing Functions of iPad Unboxing Videos

According to Leslie Scrivener of the Toronto Star, there are many reasons for filming the unboxing of new gadgets. First, everyday users want an "unbiased", unsponsored", and "unvarnished reaction" to their purchase (23). Instead of ripping off the packaging like a child at Christmas, the process is slowed and ritualized. Each step is savoured, commented upon, or expressed in audible sounds of approval or curiosity.

For others, an iPad unboxing video functions as a marketing tool. For individuals who cultivate twitter followers and Facebook friends, the video can be easily spread to a ready-made audience. It can also draw new viewers to a business or project that is being promoted on the web. For those who work in technology and gadgets, the unboxing process, from removing it from its shopping bag, to turning it on, is an essential part of the review.

Marketing experts claim that the pleasure in the filming of the unboxing ritual is the shared experience. Watching someone unpacking desired gadgets creates a longing to own one too. And it is this "sense of communal pleasure" that is so alluring (Scrivener, p.23).

However, other gadget fans are not so convinced. One twitter follower of The Guardian Technology Blog claimed that unboxing videos are "pathetic". "Do running buffs video themselves opening a new box of shoes?

Do scotch snobs video themselves opening a new box of single malt?" So, besides wanting to provide an unbiased review of the product, or use the video for marketing purposes, why do so many men bother?

Apple Ipad Unboxing Video as Virtual Strip Tease

One explanation lies in the cliché "sex sells". Labelled "Geek Porn" by Gear Live Magazine, the unboxing video tantalizes viewers because gadgets lovers want information on the newest products (Scrivener, p. 23). However, viewers also watch the videos over and over; and the language used to describe the unboxing phenomenon suggest it is more than information that viewers are after. Words such as "strip tease", "porn", and the "slow reveal" taps into what "stippers have been trading on for ages", the performance and the anticipation of the prize (Arthur).

The idea of performance is relevant to the unboxing video. According to recent research by a UCLA Psychology Professor, Patricia Greenfield, virtual intimacy is potentially set to replace human intimacy: "Instead of connecting with friends with whom you have close ties for the sake of the exchange itself, people interact with their 'friends' as a performance, as if on a stage before an audience of people on the network" (Siegal).

Read this: “Slow iPhone” Phenomena Explained


Just as user's unboxing videos are a performance set on a cyber-stage, so too, do they offer a virtual experience of an intimate encounter. Sharing a video of slowly removing the latest gadget from its packaging mimicks the shared experience of an audience watching a strip tease. As Arthur alludes to, it is ultimately for the pleasure of the performance and anticipation that iPad users video themselves and viewers watch these unveilings over and over again.