At the closing bell on Monday, Apple stock surged nearly three percent and reached an all-time high value of $665.15 per share, the Associated Press reports. This puts the company's worth in the ballpark of $624 billion (yeah, billion, with a "b"), and makes it the most valuable company in the history of Wall Street.
Allow us to give you some perspective. While Apple has been the world's most valuable company since the end of last year, the AP reports, it is now worth over 54% more than the next company in line, Exxon Mobil Corp. It has also surpassed the all-time high value (not adjusted for inflation) of Microsoft, which was valued at $620.58 billion in 1999, at the peak of the Internet boom. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple is now worth more than Comcast, News Corp., Time Warner, CBS, Viacom, and Sony… combined.
The AP attributes the spike in stock value to the circulating rumors that Apple will soon release the iPhone 5 and a smaller, cheaper iPad. We — tech and economy experts that we are — think it's because everyone and their grandmother owns an Apple something or another.
Apple has been slowly but surely wheedling its way into pop culture since the mid 1980s, and its presence has now reached an all-time high. From the A-list celebrities in their recent ads to the iPhone's ubiquitous presence as the phone of choice in movies, it's safe to say that Apple has permeated our lives. Wait, you don't have an iPhone? What the heck is wrong with you?
Here's a fun jaunt down memory lane, for ya. We take a look at the iconic moments in Apple advertising that borrow heavily from pop culture (and vice versa).
1984: The 1984 Super Bowl Ad
During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple debuted an ad for its first Macintosh computer. Masterminded by the creative smarty-pantses at the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, the commercial borrows from the mind-controlled future of George Orwell's novel 1984. In it, a tank top clad woman with a sledge hammer appears on the scene to smash the screen-projected image of Big Brother once and for all. The Macintosh, the ad seems to say, will free consumers from the oppressive reign of the PC.
1997-2002: Think Different Campaign
"Here's to the crazy ones," begins the artistic and inspiring Think Different campaign Apple introduced in the late 1990s. In this first TV spot, Richard Dreyfuss narrates a touching ode to thinking outside the box while black and white footage of Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King Jr., and other "geniuses" rolls on. The commercials were accompanied by posters of Gandhi, Martha Graham, Amelia Earhart, Jim Henson, and other pioneers stamped with the poetic slogan, "Think different."
2003: Dancing Silhouettes for iPod Featuring Popular Artists
Replacing nostalgia with the zeitgeist, Apple enlists popular musical artists, starting with Jet, for their dancing silhouette iPod commercials. Daft Punk, U2, Coldplay, The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, and others all gave their songs to the campaign.
2006: The Birth of the "I'm a Mac…." Ads
Despite a long writing career and a role on The Daily Show, humorist John Hodgman may forever be known as "The PC Guy" for his appearances in Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. Geeky Hodgman represented the stodgy PC, while Justin Long portrayed the hipper, cooler (more annoying?) Mac. Love 'em or hate 'em, everyone knew — and was talking about — these ads until they stopped airing in 2010.
2011: Friends with Benefits' Bible App for iPad
By 2011, iPhones had become the new normal. Nary a flip phone and rarely a Blackberry appeared on the big screen, and movie editors no longer tried to hide the iPhone's recognizable text message alert or cover over the Macbook's logo. In the 2011 movie Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, the iPad took center stage. In one of the film's key scenes, the two seal a pact by swearing on the Bible app Kunis has on her iPad.
2012: iPhone 4/Siri Commercials Featuring Celebrities
And that brings us to 2012. Today, A-list stars such as Zooey Deschanel, Samuel L. Jackson, and Martin Scorsese have lent their famous visages to advertising for Apple's iPhone 4 featuring Siri.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Apple]
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Although The Great Buck Howard is not the literal story of the once popular (in the '60s and '70s) entertainer known as the Amazing Kreskin the film makes it known this is a pretty thinly disguised tribute to the man who made 88 appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show before fading into obscurity on the dinner theater circuit. Writer/director Sean McGinly who worked briefly as Kreskin’s assistant has reinvented him essentially as Buck Howard a “mentalist extraordinaire ” who once strode in the limelight with numerous TV and Vegas appearances but now plays faded community centers and hasn’t filled a theater in decades. As his new assistant law-school dropout Troy Gable quickly learns it isn’t easy working for Buck who still sees himself as a big star but when a quirk of fate intervenes and he really does get a second chance at the national spotlight neither one is quite prepared for what comes next.
WHO’S IN IT?
John Malkovich is a fine actor but he isn’t exactly known for comedy. As Buck Howard however he has the role of a lifetime and he’s simply amazing wryly funny as the has-been mentalist who would never admit he isn’t still every bit the top celebrity he used to be. Although Malkovich plays him somewhat pompously he’s ultimately quite touching as a celeb who once commanded great attention and still craves it on his own terms. As his new unwitting assistant Colin Hanks drolly underplays most of his scenes with Buck and effortlessly shows the quiet desperation of a wannabe writer who’s not exactly sure what he should be doing with his life. Emily Blunt is lovely as a publicist who helps engineer Buck’s surprising comeback; and there are also small but fun bits with Steve Zahn Griffin Dunne and even Colin’s real-life dad Tom Hanks whose company bankrolled the movie.
In the same sweet but low-key vein of My Favorite Year McGinly paints a portrait of the less glamorous aspect of showbiz when an outsized personality starts traveling on the downside of the entertainment world. Clearly his days with Kreskin gave him an entree into this life and his film is nicely observant and respectful. But still very funny.
The film plays it all a little too safe. It doesn’t seem to want to be anything more than a snapshot of life after huge success has faded; adding a little more complexity might have offered an even richer role for Malkovich. It’s pleasant but there’s not a whole lot of depth.
Buck hypnotizes a large crowd of volunteers but gets sidetracked and neglects to snap them out of it. It’s pricelessly funny and captures the ego of the guy perfectly in the expert hands of Malkovich.
Dogtown centers on three teenagers in the 1970s--Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch) Stacy Peralta (John Robinson) and Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk)--who just want to ride. At first it's waves. Living in "Dogtown " a tough and gritty area in Venice Calif. these guys do everything they can to get in with the Zephyr surfers lead by the charismatic owner of the Zephyr surf shop Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger). But the boys are soon transferring their aggressive wave-riding moves to the concrete turning empty pools into arenas of wild beautiful athleticism and revolutionizing a new style of skateboarding. Skip recognizes great money-making potential when he sees it and takes these freestyle wizards on urethane wheels out on the road to show off their skills dubbing them the Z-Boys. The skating world goes nuts. Conventional competitors don't know what to make of their "extreme" ways. Girls are wild for them. And promoters see dollar signs wanting to grab a piece of the action. But what started out as fun way to blow off steam soon turns into big business. Can the friendship between this tightly knit trio survive inflating out of control egos and fast-paced famous lifestyles? Dude that's a tough one to call.
What better way to make a movie about three hot California skateboarders then by casting three hot young male leads to play them. As Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta--the two talented skateboarders on the opposite ends of the spectrum--newcomers Rasuk (Raising Victor Vargas) and Robinson (Elephant) aptly bring sincerity to their portrayals. As the fiery Alva the wild-haired Rasuk is full of bravado taking to the jet-setting life with ease and ultimately becoming the more well-known name. The soft-spoken Robinson plays the easy-going Peralta with quiet determination proving he doesn't have to showboat in order to show how good he is. But it's the more seasoned Hirsch (The Girl Next Door) playing the gifted but ultimately screwed-up Jay Adams who has the harder acting job. As the Z-Boy with probably the rawest talent but nevertheless gives up his chance for fame Hirsch handles Adams' conflicted emotions well. Ledger too does a nice job as Skip Engblom the boys' "mentor" who introduces them to a whole new world rides a great meal ticket for awhile--and then loses it all when the boys move on to bigger and better things. Sorry Skip.
Coming off the heels of his award-winning 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys writer Stacy Peralta decided he wasn't quite done telling his Z-Boy story trying his hand at dramatizing the whole experience. This time around he elicits the help of director Catherine Hardwicke whose disturbing indie Thirteen proved she can get underneath a teenager's skin. Smart move. Her documentary style of filmmaking with that grainy handheld feel fits the Lords of Dogtown milieu perfectly. The camera chases after the boys as they skate sneak onto private property to surf empty pools and rock like rock stars. Peralta also calls upon his old buddies to help out including the now world-renowned skating champion Tony Alva who choreographs many of the stunts and apparently teaches the actors not only to skate but skate in true Z-Boy fashion. Maybe hardcore skateboarders will notice the errors but for a novice like me it is a fun ride. The only real problem with Dogtown is Peralta's greenhorn attempts at fleshing out a drama. As a documentary the Z-Boys experience is exhilarating as it follows these real-life mavericks' efforts to take skateboarding to a whole new extreme. But as a full-blown feature film it's a little harder to perpetuate the momentum.