In November 2020 Apple hosted an event showing off the company's new M1 chip and the upcoming redesigns for products like the MacBook Air and Pro. As part of this it brought back actor John Hodgman for a cameo (below), who reprised his role as the 'I’m a PC' character, a rather clueless dweeb who can't believe how much better Macs are than Intel-based PCs.
This campaign ran in the early 2000s in the US (UK readers may remember a similar one starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb).
One thing missing was Hodgman's former co-star, Justin Long, who played the 'I'm a Mac' character. Well, it turns out Intel didn't like Apple's little digs at PCs one bit, and now Mr 'I'm A Mac' has re-surfaced in a bunch of Intel ads dedicated to booting Macs (thanks, Verge).
Each commercial starts by mocking the style of the originals, with Long saying "Hello I’m a... Justin, just a real person, doing a real comparison between Mac and PC" against Apple's usual sterile backdrop.
The ads then go for the classic Mac vs PC arguments though, as you might expect, Long is now on the side of the angels: among other things he mocks the Mac touch bar, the "grey" or "greyer" choice of colours, and the M1's lack of multiple monitor support.
The best of the lot is when Long meets a character described as a PC gamer, observes he's doing this on an Intel laptop, then asks where the Mac gamer is for comparison. We get a shot of an empty desk with a Macbook, and the PC player delivers the line "no-one really games on a Mac."
"Tch, I know," says Justin.
Yes this stuff is quite childish, and it's not the first time Intel has had a go at Apple's gaming failings recently either. Some of the comparisons it makes are also a little unfair, but it's not like Apple's ads were ever dedicated to objective truth either. An especially funny one is when Long admires the Lenovo Yoga 9i, an Intel laptop that's also a tablet, goes over to the MacBook, and is one-by-one handed the four accessories required for the same functionality on the Apple device.
While John Hodgman's cameo for Apple in November was just that, Intel's Justin Long videos are full-blown commercials. It's also worth bearing in mind that Intel has not yet revealed the details of its competitor to Apple's M1 chip. With the innovative Alder Lake laptop chips ranging between 5W and 55W Intel's next-gen CPUs have a lot of promise.
Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has not been beating around the bush when it comes to Apple, telling employees that "We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino makes. We have to be that good, in the future."
A lifestyle company in Cupertino? Big talk indeed: let's see if Intel can back it up with more than funny adverts.