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Apple

Apple's 'What's a Computer?' Ad is Annoying People: Business Insider (businessinsider.com) 594

Can an iPad replace your computer? It has been the topic of debate for years, with plenty of people advising against it. Apple sure begs to differ. It has been running a commercial in which it predicts a world where a computer is extinct and a child with an iPad doesn't even know what the word "computer" means. Business Insider reports that plenty of people are finding that commercial annoying. From the report: "Does this commercial tick anybody else off?" writes one commenter on a snippet of the commercial that was posted to Facebook. "I want to smack this kid. What's a computer? You know what a computer is you disrespectful smarta--!!" Plenty of other social media posts, some with thousands of retweets, have made the same observation.
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Apple's 'What's a Computer?' Ad is Annoying People: Business Insider

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  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:42PM (#56001077)

    _ALL_ads are annoying!

    • Annoying ad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:17PM (#56001505)
      Another annoying ad is the Geico ad where the gecko is hosting a meeting in a conference room, and a call-in attendee is speaking at the same time he is. It's annoying when it happens in real life - We don't need to see it in a commercial.
    • by fropenn ( 1116699 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @03:32PM (#56002333)
      What's a commercial? Since we got streaming Netflix seven years ago, I hardly see them any more (aside from the brief viewing of OTA TV).
  • by TigerPlish ( 174064 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:43PM (#56001091)

    Every ad-writing person, ever: We did our job right!

    Adverts work by either appeal or by being annoying. But eventually one does learn to tune them out.. either by applying the brain filter, or by adblocking before it gets to the brain.

    • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:58PM (#56001263) Journal
      There's annoying, and then there's what they apparently did here, which is 'say something stupid'. It's closer to trolling than anything else.

      It's stupid because:
      1. A 'tablet' is actually a 'tablet computer'. Just because it doesn't come with a keyboard and mouse doesn't mean it's not a computer -- and you can connect a keyboard and mouse to it if you want regardless.
      2. There will always be many, many applications where the power and flexibility of a full-size desktop computer are necessary or desirable. Now, someone will come along and say "Tablets will become more powerful to the point where desktops and laptop/notebook computers are irrelevant", but that's just plain wrong, too, because more traditional form-factor computing devices will also get more powerful simultaneously.

      Really, the basic, incorrect assumption here is that a 'tablet computer' is some totally different device compared to any other computer; it's not, it's just a different form-factor that doesn't include a keyboard and a pointing device (not counting the touchscreen interface) by default -- and you can add them easily.
      • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:14PM (#56001447)
        Your points are valid and nicely elucidated...
        However I have to point out that many Grammar Nazis and other pedants chocked back a little sob when you didn't use irregardless...
      • by imgod2u ( 812837 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:49PM (#56001845) Homepage

        To your point #2:

        While there will always be *some* applications that can utilize the computing power of larger form factors, they tend to, over time, become more and more niche.

        Just look at laptop sales vs desktop sales. Same OS, same programs, but once laptops got "good enough", entire demographics began using them and forgetting about ever having a desktop.

        I expect the same will happen with tablets: the majority of users eventually will use a tablet as their primary computing device. There might still be a market for the 16-core mega-towers but only if you're a content producer. And even then, it might be relegated to 1 per office.

        There are many many content creators now that use "pro" laptops instead of desktops and that's plenty computing power for them.

      • Really, the basic, incorrect assumption here is that a 'tablet computer' is some totally different device compared to any other computer; it's not, it's just a different form-factor that doesn't include a keyboard and a pointing device (not counting the touchscreen interface) by default -- and you can add them easily.

        The narrative is annoying, but the premise of the commercial is not "computers are archaic" but "The iPad Pro is a good computer." That is, adults are supposed to watch the commercial and think that, yes, a well executed tablet meets the criteria for 'computer' and is sufficient for my needs.

        The kid's question is meant to be taken both ways. And I am not trying to make Apple look better as I hate so many of their other ads, I just think it's a well done spot.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 ( 626475 )

          The narrative is annoying, but the premise of the commercial is not "computers are archaic" but "The iPad Pro is a good computer." That is, adults are supposed to watch the commercial and think that, yes, a well executed tablet meets the criteria for 'computer' and is sufficient for my needs.

          With the iPad Pro...it IS pretty powerful and I'd dare say it beats some laptops out there for power, and certainly for screen quality.

          I've been playing with one, doing Affinity Photo and doing some pretty heavy compu

      • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @03:29PM (#56002299)

        It's stupid because:

        Your points are mostly true, but they are not why the ad is stupid, and insulting, too.

        1. The "smart kid" who is using the Apple device knows what a computer is, she'd just playing stupid for pretend. You can't be older than 5 and not know what a computer is, and many sub-5s probably know, too.

        2. She just plain rude. Her next door neighbor is attempting to have a conversation with her, she knows that the question means ("what are you working on?"), but she flippantly dismisses her and continues tapping away on her computer after hardly acknowledging the existence of the other person. A more polite response would be to show her neighbor the cute bug document project she's working on and act like a real human with the person who lives next door.

        Congratulations, advertising team, for an ad that teaches me that Apple users are rude morons.

        • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @04:07PM (#56002711) Homepage
          Maybe, but I see it as an ignorant kid who doesn't know how things work, where they came from, and what things are used for. They're the kind who, when they grow up, won't know how to do simple things like change a light bulb or repair a toilet.

          It's a bit like the Spectrum commercial where the kids are watching television on a phone and a tablet. They're bewildered by the notion of watching television on an actual television. Kids like that irritate me.
    • Every ad-writing person, ever: We did our job right! Adverts work by either appeal or by being annoying. But eventually one does learn to tune them out.. either by applying the brain filter, or by adblocking before it gets to the brain.

      iPad Pro: Apply Directly to the Forehead!

    • Every ad-writing person, ever: We did our job right!

      Adverts work by either appeal or by being annoying. But eventually one does learn to tune them out.. either by applying the brain filter, or by adblocking before it gets to the brain.

      You want to avoid being so annoying or offensive that the audience reaction is "I hate this company," but the conventional wisdom within the field seems to be that there's no such thing as bad publicity. If that was true, there would be no effort whatsoever to avoid scandals...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:46PM (#56001117)

    It is so smug and self aggrandizing. The very essence of Apple. Exponential smugness.

  • Hah! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:46PM (#56001127)

    I hate to tell you but an ipad IS a computer. Just because the packaging of the computer is different doesn't mean it isn't a computer. Just like your cell phone is a computer. It has a processor, memory, operating system, drive... sound like a computer?

    • Re:Hah! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ranbot ( 2648297 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:57PM (#56001249)

      But, it says "iPad" See?
      *points* ...it doesn't say "computer" anywhere. You're so dumb.

    • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

      To be fair, most electronic devices are "computers" if we go by that definition. But you'll never hear a TV, DVD player, watch, toy or walkie-talkie be referred to as a "computer".

      It might be one of those terms that become anachronistic one day. Kinda like "adding machine".

    • Re:Hah! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @03:08PM (#56002039)

      "It has a processor, memory, operating system, drive... sound like a computer?"

      It sounds like a microwave oven.

      Perhaps you need to get yourself a viable definition of computer before you go "telling" people what it is. You can start by avoiding definitions that fail to rule out the thermostat on your wall.

  • from the future? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:47PM (#56001131) Homepage

    The only possible explanation that I could come up with is if the commercial was supposed to be someone from the future, and they're talking to someone so old that they were from today's era.

    But if you're going to do that, you need some flying cars or something to suggest that it's in the future.

    As it is now, it's just a free-range child mouthing off to her neighbor.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:47PM (#56001137) Journal
    It's because the kid acts like an arrogant rich twit who can't look away from his screen for three seconds to have a decent conversation with someone. He looks like a poster-boy for smartphone (or tablet in this case) addiction.
  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:49PM (#56001153)
    Apple removed the useful headphone jack and yet other companies follow suit. The keyboard may be the next victim. It's just as easy to ignore why people need a keyboard as it is to ignore people who want a single standard headphone for everything.
    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      The keyboard may be the next victim.

      Haven't Amazon Echo and Google home already done this pretty effectively already? Even with Apple's HomePod entering the fray in a few weeks, Siri doesn't exactly threaten the keyboard.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    LOL, Apple just replaced the keyboard/mouse with a touchscreen. That's what an iPad is. It removed access to a filesystem also. It's still a (neutered) computer, no matter what that dumb, brainwashed kid thinks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:50PM (#56001167)

    All those non tech geeks writing swift code on their ipads because hey, what's a computer?

  • .... "Is that a PC?"

    A "Computer" is too general. A PC could connote 1980s, IBM, Microsoft and Windows, etc.

  • by qzzpjs ( 1224510 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:52PM (#56001183)

    An iPad can replace a computer when they can actually write all the code for iOS on an iPad. Until then, people will need real computers.

  • by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:53PM (#56001195) Homepage

    An iPad is a computer. I am at a loss to understand the outrage. Does it do everything everyone might want? No. Does any other computer do anything anyone might want? No.

    Ads are generally dumb. There is no reason to get mad.

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:53PM (#56001197)

    "I'm glad you asked, kid. A computer is any device that's Turing-complete".

    • Except physical computers technically aren't turing complete, because they don't have infinite memory.

  • A computer is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurkosdr ( 2378710 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:53PM (#56001199)
    A computer is a device that is user-programmable, aka you are not restricted to the apps found in the vendor's app store. The iPad is a content delivery mechanism much like a BluRay player (which has games too thanks to BD-J)
    • I prefer the definition from "Time Bandits":

      "A computer is an electronic apparatus used for making calculations."
  • Actually what annoys me more is the concept of the parents just abandoning their child, presumably because they are too busy working 24/7 so they can afford $1000 ipads and a city centre house with a garden.

    'Take your computer and fuck off out the house'
    'What's a computer?'
    'Less of your cheek. I've got to get a pointless report over to the boss before 11pm'

  • Even annoys my teen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by valkraider ( 611225 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:55PM (#56001223) Journal
    This ad even annoyed my teenage daughter. We are a very pro-Apple family, so itâ(TM)s not because we dislike Apple. But she feels that of course the kid knows what a computer is, and that the ad makes kids look stupid or oblivious to the world around them and she doesnâ(TM)t like that stereotype. Even if you donâ(TM)t use a âoecomputerâ - you certainly can know what one is. A better response would have been something witty about progress, maybe like âoeThis is more than a computerâ or âoewho uses computers anymore?â or something. This is all even before we get into the fact that from a technological standpoint, an iPad *is* a computer...
  • "Can an iPad replace your computer?"

    Of course it can. Software installations? There's an app for that. Web design? Fill-in-the-blank template. Communication? Tweet-filled emojis. Research? Ask Siri.

    We seem to overlook the side effect of dumbing down devices to create an idiot-proof UI for the masses; most users are not tech saavy because they don't need to be.

    It makes sense to devolve the computing environment.

  • In a post-Turing world, where 1984 will be ... like 1984.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @01:59PM (#56001277)

    Unfortunately, people are playing directly into the hands of the "there is no such thing as bad publicity" trap because it bring awareness to their product. If they wanted to protest the commercial better then they should be posting things like, "Fuck you, Apple! #NeverBuyFromApple" which would have a better impact. The reason for this is that it sends a negative signal about a brand without leaving the ability for someone to dismiss it. It will leave people a bit bewildered but they will get the message you are trying to send instead of the one Apple is trying to send.

  • I'm remind of... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormy Dragon ( 800799 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:01PM (#56001297) Homepage

    ...how Apple had to cancel the "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" ads because everyone thought Mac guy was an insufferable douche and liked PC guy better.

    • and that proves that most people didn't even understand the ads in the first place.

      They were not "Mac guy" and "PC guy", they were Mac and PC in human form.

    • Apple has always looked down on geeks and nerds, at least their marketing department. You can get a sense of this toxic Apple culture from Tim Cook himself [slashdot.org].

      The whole anti-nerd thing reeks of anti-intellectualism. We should probably be embracing people that can operate the machines that our modern civilization depends on.

      What's sad for Apple is they often want to embrace artists, but artists are geeks in their own way. Maybe geeks about paint and canvas instead of geeks about compilers and debuggers, but I r

  • Back when I was at UC Irvine, the campus had come out with a donor marketing plan that many, many people found pompous and condescending. Check it out here: ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] ). The general feel was "If you just see a normal every day object, you're an idiot."
  • It's all about making iOS the dominant platform. You can see it in the way Apple deals/supports its Mac line compared to the iOS devices. You can see where it gets its revenue (75% or more from iOS). The "computer" - OSX - is a thing of the past, to be dropped into the dustbin as soon as they can replace all its functionality. Right now, Apple considers a Mac simply a means to build tools for iOS - but once iOS on an iPad Pro can do that - the Mac will go bye-bye.
  • apple should show the new mac pro at Superbowl with an kick as ad.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:09PM (#56001395)

    That pisses off a lot of Mac users. See the MacRumors forums if you don't believe me. Mac mini was last updated in 2012. It was downgraded in 2014. Apple is on the verge of killing the MacBook Air even if their new butterfly keyboards are crap, they're so obsessed with USB-C that they're dropping USB-A even though a lot of people still ASK for them. Don't like the overpriced MacBook? Buy an overpriced MacBook Pro instead! It's like they think everyone is as rich as americans. Mac Pro? They released a freakin' no-future-upgrade-path of a cylinder tower instead. Would have been cool for a Mac mini, pointless for pros.

    Tim Cook really does seem to think iPads can replace computers, including Macs.

    But most people with a Mac need to have it, just as PC users need their PC. Whatever your choice of OS, computers are tools to work with, not toys to consume data.

    If a stupid tablet was enough, we'd buy tablets!

  • To me, the point was, they made it soooo good it's a completely transparent tool now - no learning curve, it knows what you want and does it, or um "it just works", only Apple's been failing that one more and more seriously of late. Spinning that they've gotten better - the opposite of reality - ain't gonna fly in a time when a lot more people then usual are flat broke anyway and can't afford an Apple tax for something that's no longer even close to being superior. Hubris and vanity is how I took it. And
    • ... the point was, they made it soooo good it's a completely transparent tool now - no learning curve, it knows what you want and does it, or um "it just works", ...

      The same can be said about a toothbrush, but there's even a learning curve for that -- to use it effectively, anyway.

  • is the computer.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:24PM (#56001555)
    to keep insulting your customers.
  • The next one is a kid on Facebook not knowing what the internet is.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:33PM (#56001653)

    ... a child with an iPad doesn't even know what the word "computer" means.

    Because that kid is dumb or uneducated. Even if we accept Apple's premise, History would still exist and that kid would certainly know that word from there and how her iPad came to be and it is actually a type of computer.

    I hate marketing people -- probably more than lawyers and politicians.

  • Writer's Desk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @02:34PM (#56001663)

    A hundred years ago, authors wrote books/manuscripts with pen/pencil and paper. Neither pen, nor pencil, nor paper requires a desk. An author can easily operate a pen, and write a book from a park bench, or lying on the floor. Police detectives can write in their paper notebook while walking the streets of any city on-foot.

    And yet, with the mobility of pens and paper, authors still had writing desks, and police still did written reports from a desk.

    The keyword in "desktop computer" isn't "computer", it's "desk".

    A desk is a marvelous thing. It's an organizational structure. It's a focus. It's big. It's dedicated. It's productive.

    If you can do anything from an ipad, then you can do six anythings concurrently on a desktop with one large screen. You can do 18 anythings concurrently on a desktop with three large screens. And if one of your "anythings" involves another something -- like an object, or another person, or a product sample, then your desk supports that kind of additional item.

    And if one of your "anythings" involves real collaboration with three other humans, in one place, as most creative tasks do, then a big desk in a big room with a big screen allow three humans to function in parallel (as opposed to series).

    If you can accomplish your task in a 12" screen, then enjoy your flattened 1980s original imac. 12" doesn't get much accomplished these days. It does, however, do the same thing that it always did.

    Your ipad is harder to read than an old newspaper, more awkward than an old book, bigger than a walkman, has worse sound than a record player, and is more delicate anything that's ever been handheld before. It's wonderful and amazing for all sorts of other reasons, especially for varied functions, but it is absolutely worse at each individual effort.

    Jack of all trades, master of none. If you don't plan on excelling at anything, the ipad is the perfect device for you.

    Some advice: when you hire a contractor to build your house, don't hire one who comes with a swiss army knife. You want the guy with the big rusty hammer, and the big box of screw drivers.

  • After seeing the commercial for the first time my wife and I looked at each other and remarked something to this effect: "She doesn't know what a computer is. Is that kid just stupid, or completely undereducated?
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday January 25, 2018 @03:18PM (#56002165) Journal

    It doesn't annoy me. It's just Apple actually TELLLING us what we've long observed: that they don't want real computing being done with their hardware. They want you to be a media consumer in their walled garden. No arbitrary programming languages, no installing your own OS on the hardware, none of the things that we associate with computers.

    They want to kill computers. That's Apple's vision of the future--children never seeing an actual computer. They want it to be like my early childhood, except with a fancier TV.

    Apple has its spaceship castle. Time to raise the drawbridge.

That does not compute.

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