apple – cheap shots galore


Everyone's seen the Mac guy vs the PC guy commercials, right? I've said it myself several times that I think the commercials are hilarious (swing away, mac-heads, swing away...) But I think I'm getting a little sick of them now. The exaggeration in the commercials was tickling at first, and as a 'softie, I couldn't help but smile every time I saw one of these. Everyone laughed along. But I'm a little peeved by all this now.


All Apple's doing really is causing serious FUD through a funny ad campaign. I'm not sure how any of their commercials would help me make a decision on wanting to buy a Mac. They're just really just convincing me about why I shouldn't go with a PC. Which in itself is just totally ridiculous. But what has been annoying me more of late is that some of the things they are claiming in their commercials, are just not true.


So here's a list of most of Apple's commercials. I'm not refuting everything. I'm not justifying anything. And, yes, I do have a sense of humor. I really do. I'm simply and categorically trying to state the facts here.



  • Computer Cart : Macs don't give out cryptic error messages when something goes wrong? Really? I beg to differ. Ask a Mac user. On a different note, I found this picture, courtesy alextram to be pretty funny :

    iDvd error!

  • Flashback : I'm not sure what exactly Apple is trying to imply in this ad : That some things never change? That our product names don't start with the letter 'i'? And how is that supposed to help me make my decision about buying a Mac, exactly?

  • Security : This is a really funny commercial. BUT, in all honesty, these UAC prompts aren't as ubiquitous as this commercial makes it out to be. I have UAC turned on, and it doesn't bother me at all. But that's me.

    And, here's the kicker (you may already know this if you have a mac), Macs ALSO have a somewhat similar security feature (that prompts for your password when software updates or certain applications have to be installed). Now, tell me this, where you able to gather that from this commercial?

    macossoftwareupdate

  • Tech Support : Umm, there are PC laptops that have webcams built in them. More FUD.

  • Surgery : Like a "Lot of PCs"? How did they gather that, exactly?

  • Goodwill : ?

  • Gift Exchange : Probably one of the only commercials that highlights one of the Mac features, like iPhoto.

  • Sales Pitch : Selling like hotcakes? Notice how the PC guy said that?

  • Meant for Work : Whatever man. There's plenty of software out there to let children do what they want to do on PCs. Maybe our computers don't ship with the software, but they are definitely available.

  • Counselor : Are PC manufacturers really that insecure? How many articles or commercials can you point me to that do this PC vs Mac thing that HASN'T been created by Apple? What does that tell you? How many PC users out there bash Mac users?

  • Better Results : Ok, I'll hand them this one. Genuine comparison.

  • Self Pity : More FUD. More FUD.

  • Accident : Yeah, not as glorious as its made out to be. Guess what, the other day, the magnetic power chord didn't quite detach as it should have from my Mac. The whole thing nearly went flying. Thank God for my super duper reflexes. But, nice feature nevertheless. I'll hand it to them for the innovative hardware.

  • Angel/Devil : How many seconds did they spend on talking about the Mac or its features in this commercial?

  • Trust Mac / Viruses : I'm probably preaching to the choir, but its a known fact that there aren't as many Macs out there as there are PCs. And as a hacker, I'm guessing you want to cause as much damage as possible. So you target a PC. But that being said, its not like Macs haven't had their share of viruses, even with their small user base.

  • Out of the Box : More FUD. Damn. They can't be serious. I think for all the basic operations, a PC works out of the box just fine. Our biz model really revolves around creating an ecosystem of partners (the HPs, Lenovos, etc.), software vendors and consumers. We help them be successful on our platform. And because of the number of players involved, sometimes, that can get a little overwhelming for the end user.

  • Touché : I have just one word to describe this commercial : touché. So, what you're telling me is that in spite of all the supposed problems you've described with Windows, its still ok for me to run Windows? And why exactly would I do that, Mac guy?

    I have the same issue with the Bootcamp webpage. I would imagine that this site would talk about why you would want to use Bootcamp and all the other goodness behind it. But even on this site, where they're supposed to be touting Bootcamp so that they can sell more Macs, Apple is taking cheap shots at Windows - check the right-column on the Bootcamp page for "EFI and BIOS" and "Word to the Wise".

And then there was this video that was played at WWDC this past week :



Another cheap shot. Just pathetic, Apple.


The PC guy is doing most of the talking in these commercials. And the Mac guy has just this smug look about him. That seems to be fairly common in all the commercials. But after having seen these commercials as many times as I have, I think I've started to take a liking to the PC guy. There's something about him that's likeable. Maybe its just me...


Here's another cheap shot : "Vista : Leopard to come in different versions"


Let me ask you, the consumer, a question? Will you want to buy from a company that advertises its supposed goodness through anti-campaigning?  Would you trust such a company?


"ai"


Comments (29)
  1. Oh, Anand, please. You can’t be serious.

    I left Macs around System 7.5. They were shitty then. I went to Windows 3.1, that was shitty too, but they were popular. I went back to Mac at OS X and I have never looked back. It’s stable and reliable to a level that Windows users can’t even fathom.

    My most recent Mac I have only had to do one operating system upgrade on. It was optional and took two hours. That was my longest continuous downtime. I never have to reboot my Mac unless software installation requires it, which is almost never.

    Because of my job I have to work with both. But let me give you my most recent Windows experience. A virus somehow got through my intense firewall and updated virus protection. Minutes after coming back from a sleep (one of the three different sleeping settings) it would hang for 8 minutes at 100% CPU. Because of the poor design of the operating system, viruses can do that.

    Eventually I gave in and gave the PC over to IT to completely rebuild the OS. That took one day. They gave it back to me but without having all of the critical updates installed. One more day. Then another half day to install the developer tools and upgrade those. Then even more time to bring back all my files and settings.

    Even after all that, my PC still randomly has issues every couple of days and the best thing to do is just to reboot.

    Sorry dude, I know what’s underneath the hood, and Windows is just a hodge-podge patchwork of rubbish underneath. While OSX is a solid Unix core with real security.

    And the Zune… Ugh. Don’t even get me started. It’s ugly as sin. Has poor usability. The two people I know who have them. Well, let’s say the Zunes are gather dust while the iPods get the workouts.

  2. Slava says:

    Agree. Brainwashing. But the reality is… people like to be brainwashed 🙂

  3. Anand

    I am a recent switcher to mac.  

    Yes, mac has its shortcomings of absurd messages and incompatibility issues – but in the past 9 months I have had my mac – it has never maxed out the CPU, even when I batch process photos, burn DVD AND convert a DVD folder to MP4 – all at the same time.

    My previous PCs – all of them, HP, Dell etc had some form of hardware trouble or the other – I understand most of it may not be Microsoft’s problems – but more of the manufacturer’s problem.

    But as an end user, I certainly prefer an iMac over any of the dozen odd PCs I used / use.  It may just be me – but the end feeling I get is OSX is certainly much better.  

    I don’t think I will ever buy a windows PC again.

  4. ai says:

    @Jack,

    Fine, fair enough. You have your reasons to switch to the Mac. But my gripe is that, Apple is not talking to their strengths through their commercials, they are talking to our supposed weaknesses. With PLENTY of exaggeration. You can’t possibly agree with everything that the PC guy seems to cave in to?

    And I’ll be honest, I’ve been a PC user most of my life. I mostly ran Linux (even on my laptop) and wasn’t a power Windows user. But I really haven’t had very many of the issues that people complain about. Could it be that only the frustrated ones are making the most noise? I don’t know…

    So, out of curiosity, what version of Windows were you using when you ran in to all those issues? And didn’t you buy a Vista desktop recently? Whatever happened to that?

    ta,

    ai

  5. Brainwashing? Have you ever tried a Mac? I’ve been a software engineer for a quarter century. I’ve worked with ever major operating system. I’m not brainwashed. The kernel of OSX is *nix. It’s more secure and stable than Windows. Period.

  6. ai says:

    @Slava,

    Agree. Brainwashing. But the reality is…

    people like to be brainwashed 🙂

    I know… Sad, but true. 😐

  7. ai says:

    @Anand,

    Apple is in the unique (and thus far non-monopolistic) arena of combining their hardware and software. As you probably already know, we on the other hand, look to creating an entire ecosystem around software. Its hard to appease everyone, but thats what we try to do.

    Keep in mind though, that I never said that OSX is better or that Vista is better. I’m just refuting some of the preposterous claims, exaggerations and accusations that Apple’s trying to make through these commercials. Things are not that bad in PC land. And Apple’s campaign to create FUD is just bullcrap.

    ai

  8. @ai,

    Case in point. This morning I have had to reboot my Windows box twice, and it overheat once. (I guess I can’t blame MS for the overhead). Once Windows decided it didn’t like wireless networks until I reboot. And the second time because MSDEV locked a file and the OS wouldn’t let it go even though I quit MSDEV. So I had to reboot that time to. Such are the perils when you don’t really have a kernel, but just a hodge podge of horrible code.

    Ah, yes, the Vista box. After many attempts I couldn’t get it running. I’m so frustrated with it I just let it sit there rotting. Thousands of dollars wasted. The joy of Windows. I suppose I could try again, but I’m not sure which of the many Vista versions to buy. I suppose it’s just a matter of how much money I want to waste.

    And for what, really, new Vista bugs? From what I have read (and experienced) Vista doesn’t seem all that better to me.

    What Apple says in those ads are fact based. Stop living in your own little fantasy land. You have seen the stories right here in this comment section. People who switch are happy and never want to go back. Nobody I know who has switched has considered it a bad decision, and with every release it just gets better and better.

  9. The thing that should scare you guys the most isn’t those ads. It’s the thousands of engineers switching to Mac. Those guys are the tech support people for their families. And they will switch their own families, and their extended families, like a virus. It’s like TiVo.

    Every time I go to a family gathering it’s the same thing. I take some photos and I hook the camera to my Mac. iPhoto pops up and sucks in my photos. Then I can crop and fix the photos and upload them to Picassa in seconds. Invariably I get uncle or aunt so-and-so looking over my shoulder and they ask me what’s this and that. I don’t do the hard sell, I just show them how much better and faster it is.

    A couple of months later I get an email, they got a mac, they love it, they are going to get another, they don’t use the crappy PC anymore, blah de blah…

    Microsoft gives people too many options. Even as an engineer I don’t care where the photos go, I don’t care where the music goes. Just handle it. Computers are supposed to make my life easier. Not give me thousands of options that will just confuse me.

    It’s a core difference in philosophy between Windows ‘hackers’ and Mac ‘customers’. My free time is precious. I don’t want to spend it installing virus updates and answering firewall questions.

    Plus, and this is a big plus, having all of the standard apps of such high quality really brings out the best in third party developers. You honestly don’t know what good stuff is until you have tried QuickSilver, OmniGraffle or TextMate. And then there is MacFUSE. Ah, lovely FUSE…

  10. (While I’m waiting for my Windoze box to reboot for the third time this morning…)

    I think there are two types of Windows users. Those who hate their computers. And those who love to hate their computers.

    My step-father is one of the ‘love to hate’ guys. He loves to install stuff just to see it break and have to tweak it and stuff. It’s like working on his car. He doesn’t have a ‘personal computer’ he has a ‘personal problem’ he loves to tinker with.

    They people you could lose to Mac are the straight up ‘hate their computer’ types. People like me who don’t want to endless tinker with settings and drivers and crap. People who just want stuff to WORK, and work properly, without configuration nonsense.

    The ironic thing to me is that the whole perception of ‘toy computer’ has changed. It used to be that PC was the ‘business computer’ and the Mac was a toy. No longer. Now Macs just work all the time. And PCs are the annoying toys. They look like toys. They work as well as cheap junk toys. The accessories are like toys. The applications are junk.

    The only reason I would ever buy a personal PC is if I wanted to have a little annoying soduku type toy which gave me endless problems, and if I didn’t solve them right would eat my documents. So, why would I want that?

  11. ai says:

    @Jack,

    First, dude, don’t make this personal. That said…

    I’m so frustrated with it I just let it sit

    there rotting. Thousands of dollars wasted.

    Ok, I’m going to offer to help you fix the computer. I don’t know what exactly is wrong with the computer – you haven’t really explained (probably out of scope). But, I’m willing to help. Lets find out whats going on. Fair?

    And for what, really, new Vista bugs?

    What new Vista bugs? And tell me about Vista bugs that YOU have personally experienced, not that someone has written about.

    Stop living in your own little fantasy land.

    What fantasy land? Stop making bullshit accusations, Jack. I have a Mac, I use it everyday. I know what both platforms have to offer. And I wouldnt have dedicated an entire post to talking about how Apple’s trying to spread FUD to the masses.

    ai

  12. @ai,

    Thanks for the offer. If you can get Vista on my desktop machine to somehow unwind itself from the Virus scanning, please have at it. That’s the Vista problems I had, Vista’s security conflicted with Norton’s security and the two security systems are not allowing the OS to update itself.

    And dude, calling Mac users brainwashed is personal. If you can say I’m brainwashed, I can say you are living in a fantasy land.

    Ok, so you have a Mac, good for you. When was the last time you had to reboot your Mac (not including OS updates)? When was the last time you had to install a virus update? When was the last time your Mac was infected with a virus?

  13. ai says:

    @Jack,

    The thing that should scare you guys the most

    isn’t those ads.

    Scared? Hardly. As I mentioned in my post (which I  encourage you to read), I’m peeved that Apple’s making ridiculous claims, some of which are untrue.

    Computers are supposed to make my life

    easier. Not give me thousands of options that

    will just confuse me.

    Agreed. I think we can do a better job with usability. We try to do too much sometimes because of the large base that we try to cater to. Its a tough problem to solve.

    I don’t want to spend it installing virus

    updates and answering firewall questions.

    How much time have you spent doing this exactly? You’re making it sound like a much bigger deal than it should be. I’m not saying you’re lying, but it just doesn’t sound right.

    having all of the standard apps of such high

    quality really brings out the best in third

    party developers.

    Huh? That makes no sense to me whatsoever. Because there’re some solid apps that work really well on the Mac, on their own platform, that brings out the best in other developers? More FUD.

    ai

  14. ai says:

    @Jack,

    And dude, calling Mac users brainwashed is

    personal.

    I think you’re going beyond being rational. Go back and read everything I’ve written so far. When did I ever call any Mac user brainwashed? What I did was agree that Apple is trying to brainwash people.

    If you can say I’m brainwashed, I

    can say you are living in a fantasy land.

    Grow up man. Seriously, how old are you? 12? "You called me names, so I’m going to call you names". Fuck. I can’t believe I’m having this discussion with you.

    ai

  15. ai says:

    @Jack,

    When was the last time you had to reboot your

    Mac (not including OS updates)?

    Yesterday. I put the Mac to sleep whilst watching a movie, and it came back up and crashed. So, ok, I didn’t reboot it myself, it rebooted (itself).

    When was the last time you had to install a

    virus update?

    I don’t know – I don’t think I ever have thus far.

    When was the last time your Mac was infected

    with a virus?

    I’ve only had mine for 7 months, and thus far, never.

    On the other hand, how many viruses have infected my PC in the last 3 years? None. Howmany virus updates have I installed on my PC? I don’t know – I get periodic updates, but I understand they are making my computer even more secure. When was the last time I had to reboot my PC (not including updates)? Can’t remember. Honestly, can’t remember.

  16. Alright, Slava says "people like to be brainwashed". Which either says that Apple is brainwashing but nobody is buying it, or that Apple users are brainwashed. I don’t think the first version of that makes any sense.

    You went on to compound that by saying that being brainwashed was ‘so sad’. Look at it from my perspective, it sounds really condescending.

    Your comment "Things are not that bad in PC land" was what lead me to say that you are living in a fantasy land.

    That being said, I agree about the personal stuff. I apologize about the fantasy land comment.

    Now, back to my points about the Mac. The points Apple makes in the ads are salient and reasonable. I actually find no factual error in them and lots that I agree with wholeheartedly.

    For example, I think pawning off security issues onto the end-user is a completely ridiculous solution to security problems. The ad directly addresses that concern. Instead of cringing about the ad, why not fix your OS so that you don’t have the virus problems?

  17. @ai,

    "Because there’re some solid apps that work really well on the Mac, on their own platform, that brings out the best in other developers? More FUD."

    Not FUD at all. What Apple has done is commoditize the basics; photos, calendaring, address books, email, music, etc. Sure, for high end users there are other apps that provide more functionality, but there is little traction for developers in that area.

    So what can developers do? Build on all of that as a platform for personal productivity. QuickSilver is a great example of that. I can find someone in my address book with just a few keystrokes, get a file with another few, and mail it to them with one or two more. Why? Because the platform is strong and handles the real customer basics.

    Another great extension is Salling Clicker, and it also leverages that great platform of applications.

    About the reboots, three for my PC this morning.

  18. "Computers are supposed to make my life easier. Not give me thousands of options that will just confuse me."

    "Agreed. I think we can do a better job with usability. We try to do too much sometimes because of the large base that we try to cater to. Its a tough problem to solve."

    It’s really not. It just takes a real understanding of the customer and the willingness to make the tough decision to only satisfy 95% of the users. What Microsoft is missing is that by giving fewer options they might lose a few customers here or there, but make the vast super-majority of customers much much happier with their computers.

  19. kettch says:

    Some people I know that have Macs don’t have the same problems that they had with their Windows computers, so they say that the Mac is better. However, I’ve noticed that they have a whole world of different problems that bother them. But it’s OK, because they don’t have the old problems any more.

    I’ve never understood people having problems with Windows. I’ve hardly ever had problems with any of my Windows computers. I’m not gentle with them either. The only instabilities I’ve ever had have been directly attributable to bad hardware or bad drivers. Neither of which are the fault of Windows. True, with a closed ecosystem like Apple has, there isn’t going to be much in the way of driver issues.

    So, you’re having problems with Norton? You mean the company that is mad at Microsoft for getting on their case about using undocumented APIs and doing things that are known to cause stability problems in Windows? The product that is resource hog and can bring even the most formidable of hardware to it’s knees? For the record I ran XP without antivirus or antispyware and I’m running Vista the same way. Never had a problem.

    My thought has always been that when it comes to security, at least you know where you stand with Windows. There is a very open environment for getting holes out in the open and getting them fixed. Apple tends to be more closed, and they are always denying that their software has security problems. One might be inclined to believe them, until you realize the sheer numbers of security holes have been patched in OS X just this year.

  20. You are missing the point. The ads are not Mac vs. Windows, they are Mac vs. PC. From the customers perspective it doesn’t matter if it’s a driver problem, or some legal issue with Norton, the result is the same; MY PC DOESN"T WORK.

    That’s the great thing that you are completely missing. If my wife has a problem with her Mac, she takes it to the Apple store and they fix it. No matter what it is. Hardware, software, no problem, computer FIXED. Problem SOLVED.

    With Microsoft it’s always someone elses fault. It’s a bad driver. It’s bad software. It’s bad hardware. That attitude leaves the customer holding the bag on all of their problems.

    That security thing is just one more case in point. Could my Grandma answer firewall questions? Nope. And Microsoft knows that. But why should they care. If Granny pushes the right button, so much the better. If not, then Granny has to spend some more money at a local IT place getting her computer cleaned. And who is to blame? Granny. Because she was stupid enough to press the WRONG button. Nice.

  21. @Jack

    You got that right.

    Forget granny – I am a full time software professional – but I sure DON’T want to spend my time fixing my home PC.  I don’t – really don’t.

    And that is exactly what I did when I had a PC. Fixing software and hardware issues with it all the time.  I don’t do that with the mac.  All I want to do is handled by two vendors, Apple and Adobe – and I am very happy to keep it that way.

  22. A few of us got in to a little something something about the PC v the Mac after my post about Apple’s

  23. Aaron says:

    I think the problem with Windows is that 99% of the software is just designed to piss you the hell off (hello Visual Studio, Word, Searching in Windows XP, IE, Excel, CVS shell integration, etc etc etc).  Good luck with that MS 😉

  24. It worked.  The Apple ads got under the skin of another PC evangelist, and they’re busy swatting angrily while Apple continues to sell more and more computers that work.

    AI agreed with the accusation that people (and by extension, I’ll assume this to mean Apple buyers) like to be brainwashed.  Thank heavens PC users aren’t painting Apple users with the broad strokes they’re accusing Apple’s advertisers of making.

  25. ai says:

    Alright, I’ve read every single one of your comments. And none of you have answered the quesiton I’d asked in my original post. In fact, all you’ve been doing is whining about how much your PC sucks.

    I think Apple’s an awesome company making simple products. Never denied that. What I don’t like, and is starting to get to me (you’re right, absent.canadian) are the commercials.

    @absent.canadian,

    and they’re busy swatting angrily while Apple

    continues to sell more and more computers

    that work

    They are selling more computers – good for them , more power to them. BUT, sell computers by advertising your strengths, not your competitor’s weaknesses. And, I’m not angry. I’m just peeved.

    Some of the commercials are exaggerations (read my post). And my original question was – would you trust a company that anti-campaigns to the degree that Apple is? I’m not a fan of anti-campaigning.

    ai

  26. @ai,

    "Some of the commercials are exaggerations (read my post)."

    Actually, your original post doesn’t site "exaggerations" anywhere. Your original post just lists the adds and some rebuttals. A few people came on then to rebut your rebuttals.

    I think that’s certainly fair. Especially since the Apple ads often understate the case, IMHO.

    Besides, what should Microsoft care about the Apple ads? Apple is talking about ‘PCs’ not about Windows. Or is Microsoft going to taking responsibility for all of the customer problems in this exciting ‘PC ecosystem’ of which you speak?

  27. ai says:

    @Jack,

    First, I think you and I can both agree that reading and comprehending is not your forte. You have agreed yourself (in an earlier comment) that you "thought" I was name-calling and apologized. So I’m going to use that as the premise going forward (that you don’t understand things well).

    Actually, your original post doesn’t site

    "exaggerations" anywhere.

    In my original post (which I recommend you read and try to comprehend) :

    "But what has been annoying me more of late is that some of the things they are claiming in their commercials, are just not true."

    and

    "All Apple’s doing really is causing serious FUD through a funny ad campaign."

    Especially since the Apple ads often

    understate the case, IMHO.

    I disagree. Unless by "case" you mean, anti-campaigning.

    Besides, what should Microsoft care about the

    Apple ads? Apple is talking about ‘PCs’ not

    about Windows. Or is Microsoft going to

    taking responsibility for all of the customer

    problems in this exciting ‘PC ecosystem’ of

    which you speak?

    Ok, this is where I draw the line. Not only are we arguing on semantics of the english language, I feel like I’m repeating myself and talking to a 12 year old. Also, if you read the disclaimer on the left side of my blog, you’ll notice it says :

    "All entries in this blog are my opinion and don’t necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer."

    This is my blog. I wasn’t reflecting Microsoft’s opinion. In fact, if anything, there are a few within the company who are mad at me for posting about this. This is my opinion (as you’ll notice when I use the words, ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘myself’ and ‘I’ and ‘me’ in the post). And what I do care about, is that Apple is trying to sell Macs by anti-campaigning against PCs, which I think is unfair. Anytime I see a commercial on TV, whether it be a car insurance company, or a soda drink company anti-campaigning, I think to myself that I can’t be trusting the company (doing the actual anti-campaigning). In this particular case, I actually know something about the industry being referred to, so I’m going to comment on it. And, Jack, THIS IS MY BLOG. I’ll write about whatever I damned well please.

    You’ve turned around and made this post about something else all together. As I mentioned in one of my comments – this is NOT about the PC v the Mac (which is what you’ve made it out to be). It is about the commercials and how they are grossly exaggerated in some cases, spreading FUD, and just plain untrue in some other cases).

    ai

  28. @ai,

    Sorry Anand, I just can’t seem to do right on this. I actually consciously talked about Microsoft and not you because you asked me to keep it non-personal.

    For the record, I’m not, and was never, trying to attack you personally.

    Again, I apologize and I’ll leave it there.

  29. Nivas R says:

    As a software designer (or in any other ‘creator’ role) I understand the pain you get when someone copies your design. Ok. "learns from" your design. We need to accept that Windows has learnt a lot of stuff from the Mac and Unix. Yes. I accept that this kind of evolution is inevitable for any successful product. I also accept that Windows has a lot of originally designed stuff. A lot really. But we cannot ignore the "learing" part.

    When you see tht someone is successful and the same someone has used your design (not necessarily linked to the success) and you are not that successful, its human that you tend to fin fault with the other.

    And I think the Mac vs PC ads are because of this. I am (also) of the opinion that Apple should talk more abt their strengths rather than the other’s weaknesses.

    But at least we (in the software field) should (at least) try to understand Apple’s position: It IS painful to see someone succeeding with your design when you are not.

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