Apple Turns Muhammad Ali’s ‘I Am the Greatest’ Into an Empowerment Manifesto for Selfies

We pledge allegiance to ourselves


I am the greatest!

Apple continues its “Shot on iPhone” campaign with “Selfies on iPhone X,” an ode to the self-gratifying art form.

The work is spearheaded with spoken word from Muhammad Ali (from the 1963 comedy album “I Am the Greatest”), spouting bombastic phrases like, “I’m going to become champion of the universe!” to the laughter of a live audience.

Meanwhile, in minimalistic Apple style, selfies in all their iterations flow by—candids, subjects who avoid the camera eye, pretend candids, poses of all sorts, and rows and rows of only-slightly-different selfies, taken on the quest to find the perfect shot.

Small, rapid details—like selfies that suddenly twitch their eyes to look at each other, or a shot that shoots you a furtive wink—give the familiar format playful new life, while promoting the subtler aspects of modern smartphone camera technology.

Selfies are often derided as prime proof of our own narcissism. Nonetheless, Apple observes they’re “part of the fabric of today’s culture and the new norm for social media users.”

And while we’re not sure we need more encouragement to “live our best selves,”  hearing the late Ali giddily spout, “My only fault is, I don’t realize how great I really am … because I am great! I am the greatest!” somehow still rings more infectious than off-putting. (Not sure he intended that speech for use to endorse personal-brand preening, but hey; one person’s pre-match pep talk is another’s #morningmotivation.)

The film went live Sunday during the AFC/NFC Championship games. The Portrait Lighting selfies shown here were shot with the iPhone X’s TrueDepth front-facing camera—though the ad is mindful to add, in small print at the end, “Additional software used.”

This is advertising. What can you do? If you lack the photog skills to make your own selfies look this poignant, that’s what filters are for. An animated crown of flowers hides most sins.

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