P. Diddy Does Not “Control” His Yacht by iPad

Screencap from www.YachtSolemates.com.

As someone who made the leap from Mac to PC about 8 years ago (after 14+ years on Apple products), but loves my iPod Touch, I’ve found it endlessly fascinating seeing Apple’s iPad market itself. The success of the device seems to prove an axiom that’s so rarely true nowadays…good design means product success.

At the same time, fantastic public relations is an art form in and of itself. I have great respect for the good and the bad in the PR industry. Getting good PR is impressive, whether you’re the manufacturer of the season’s most widely-coveted consumer good, or an offensively opulent luxury yacht next to no one can afford. Good PR — Apple gots it, in addition to a solid product that many consumers seem to (legitimately) love.

These German cats apparently gots it, too. But even the iPad doesn’t “control” a yacht, as CNN claims.

Nor does a press release from a yacht broker warrant a news story, no matter how bad-ass this thing is.

In the headline of its front-page article “P. Diddy sails on $850,000-a-week superyacht controlled by iPad,” CNN implies that the Didster is actually piloting the brand-new 200-foot German-built superyacht Solemates by iPad. He’s not. From the passenger’s perspective, it’s a high-tech, fast-moving condominium, not a boat.

Custom-made software from German luxury yacht firm Lurssen gives passengers control of everything but the captain’s steering wheel — all with the most leisurely brush of their iPad.

“Solemates”, the first pleasure yacht to carry the technology, is currently playing host to flamboyant rap tycoon Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, girlfriend Kim Porter and their daughters D’Lila and Jessie, confirmed the yacht’s charter firm.

Using complimentary iPads, the millionaire mogul and his family will have control of all the shipboard entertainment and climate systems, the blinds and lights in their cabins, and could even have their Pina Coladas topped-up at the tap of an icon.

“You won’t find this app for download in the Apple store any time soon,” said Rupert Connor, central agent from chartering firm the Luxury Yacht Group. “The captain hands each guest their own iPad when they board, which they get to keep for the entirety of their trip.”

This is a little like the opening of The Simpsons, where the audience (and presumably Maggie) are led to believe that Maggie, the baby, is driving the car. That is, if Maggie was shelling out a mil a week to rent both the car and her mother’s services. And I do like the idea of Diddy with a pacifier.

Sometimes in the effort to make headlines out of the new shiny, the media presents technology as being more accessible to the average Jane/Joe/Giacomo than it is. The idea of controlling a luxury yacht’s entertainment system is a little too close to what consumers can already do with a smartphone — even if your living room doesn’t have a deck facing the Caribbean. It’s interesting, but it’s not a story.

But then, your living room probably doesn’t cost a million clams a week, no matter how upside-down your mortgage is. And that’s what makes this a story, as far as I can tell.

If you ask me, it smells like a story built on company PR.

That said, the yacht is shiny on the outside, stupid on the inside. Lurssen.com, the shipbuilder’s site, tells you fuck-all, not because it’s in German (only part of it is), but because it runs with this funky-monkey Flash orgy that assumes you want to sit there and stare at pretty and largely incomprehensible pictures crossed with slow-reveals of words like “Perfection.” “Taste.” “Character.” “Truly Individual,” and “Are You Ready?”

Apparently the German yacht-building industry is now at the stage that the financial services industry was in about 2002.

But the CNN article has some ultra-creepy conspicuous consumption copy that reads like a press release promoting the not-so-good-life. “At night they [sic] gym converts into an al-fresco disco, with an $80,000 integrated sound and light system.” “”As well as a bevy of en-suite Jacuzzis, the master cabin is fitted with an aromatherapy shower that comes in four flavors: eucalyptus, pine needle, citrus, and peppermint.” “The guests aren’t the only ones who benefit from an array of interactive flat screens — the captain has five to play with!”

The friggin' DINING ROOM. Hope you're eating an extra crab cake for all those starving babies in Somalia, Diddy. Screencap from www.YachtSolemates.com.

Who the fuck ARE these people? What’s worse, all the CNN photos are tagged “Courtesy Luxury Yacht Group,” which makes them seem even more like advertisements.

I’m all for the shiny. But wasn’t there, you know…a war on?


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