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WALL-E and Apple: Product Placement or Product Inspiration?

The buzz coming into WALL-E was that the films designers were inspired by Apple’s product design in their creation of the EVE robot. Pixar went as far as inviting Apple designer Jonathan Ive to consult with Pixar artists. Today’s story in AdAge suggests Pixar went even farther and intentionally placed some of Apple’s products in the movie as well as other subtler placement.

Apple products only physically appear in “Wall-E” a few times — an iPod that re-projects a favorite movie, the sound of the Mac startup tone signaling that Wall-E, the titular robotic romantic lead, has fully recharged via solar panels, and one-button mice scurrying around a garbage dump. However, there is a less obvious, but still noticeable Apple influence that runs throughout the film.

Could this be the future of film and television where brands are so integrated into the final product that you just feel its influences throughout? What do you think? Does the influence of Apple design and products throughout the film make you want to run out and buy an iPod or Mac?