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July 7 2006 2:48 PM

Stem Sellouts

How principled are opponents of scientific research?

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Reactions to Apple's latest spot, reviewed by Seth Stevenson, brought out strong feelings of operating-system partisanship and rivalry.

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This, despite the fact that the distinction between Macs and PCs has diminished somewhat with the former's adoption of the Intel processor, as carmen2u points out. Au contraire, saysmelvil: "new Windows that may be available by this time next year (after they beta test it on a million suckers) will be a slavish imitation of OSX." 

PasadenaJake summarizes the shortcomings of Apple's ad in this way:

Apple plays to their stereotype while turning off the corporate buyer, me. This campaign gives me no reason why I should have the technical department switch wholesale to Macs. Sure, Windows can be installed on Macs, but I've got a guy who installed OS X on a PC and without having to turn it off and on to run the other OS. Show me a Mac that can do that. Show me a Mac that can run cost-efficiently in the corporate world. Show me a Mac used by somebody you would want to hire. IOW, do not show me the smug, unshaved, yesterday's clothes wearing Justin Long telling me about the PCs of eight years ago.

Self-appointed MacAdvisor rises to PJ's challenge and makes a plug for Parallels Desktop, which "can have both Mac OS X 10.4 and Windows running at the same time, switchable between both, with copy and paste functioning. It is far superior to Bootcamp from Apple." To show how serious he is, MacAdvisor is willing to quit his current job "with two-weeks notice" and offer tech support services exclusively. Interested parties can respond here.

While noting that Macs are already the environment of choice for advertising, graphics, and publishing, -Isonomist says that their appeal for everyone else is primarily cultural, not technological:

Mac users are in love with the iconoclast idea, though, and that's where the new campaign comes in. This is the Big Brother campaign of the 21st century: more subtle, less brash, but the same message: only doped up clones would do the PC thing, and hip folks are on Macs. Preaching to the choir, yeah, sort of. But when I see writer friends showing off their new iMac (or insert any Apple product), which is (for them) basically going to serve as a word processor (it may as well be a Lanier) and maybe a DVD on the plane, some Internet porn downloads, what have you-- I can only think that whatever Apple thinks it's doing, people are digging it.

For Rhonda25555, Apple's mean-spirited campaign backfires completely, as "these ads only cement my allegiance to the PC more firmly. A serious miscalculation on Apple's part: when they designed these ads they created a likable underdog, forgetting that people like to root for the underdog."

Shokanso pointedly disagrees with Stevenson's grade of C:

The beauty of the spots is that they're NOT mean spirited. The Windows guy isn't a villian. He's a nice guy, but he's a bit nerdy. He's a buttoned-up business guy (maybe because 99% of businesses are running Windows?) The Mac guy is all about cool media stuff (music, photos, videos) because Apple has spectacularly simple, elegant applications for these.

The Mac brand is young, hip and fashionable. The PC brand is... oh wait, there isn't one.

I think an ad that makes its point brilliantly, no sets, no effects and no product shots whatsoever, is worth an A, not a C.

Where computer malfunction is involved, NeoModerateRevolution and Isonomist reduce the Mac vs. PC debate to a choice between "the spinning wheel of death" and the "frozen screen of death," respectively.

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