I’m a Mac (fanboy): Apple ads across the years

Imamac
John Hodgman (left) as PC and Justin Long as Mac (Apple photo)

It’s no secret that I’ve been an Apple fanboy ever since I first read about the company and how it was founded in the 1970s in a Cupertino, Calif., garage by two guys named Steve.

In fact, my first computer was the Apple II, which brought personal computers to millions of people back in the day.

I’ve also been a fan of its advertising campaigns across the decades. Along with its groundbreaking technology, Apple has always taken a different and memorable approach to advertising its products.

But it gained notoriety in 1984 with the debut of the Macintosh.

Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad, which skewered IBM while introducing the Mac, is hailed as perhaps the most groundbreaking ad ever. It only aired one time. In case you missed it or it’s been a while, you can play it below.

Then, co-founder Steve Jobs left the company when he was fired by John Scully, the CEO he hired. Apple wandered in the wilderness for a decade before Jobs returned, first as interim CEO and then with the full title.

One of Jobs first and most memorable acts upon his return was to launch Apple’s Think Different campaign. I loved it, and apparently millions of other people did, as well. The company’s sales began to soar. Watch the ultimate Think Different ad here, that celebrates The Crazy Ones.

Another well received Apple ad campaign was known as the Switcher ads, featuring regular people who had switched from PCs to Macs.

My favorite Apple ad campaign of all time was the I’m a Mac campaign that ran from 2006 to 2009. I’m a Mac was actually a series of short vignettes starring Justin Long as the Mac and John Hodgman as the PC.

Long was one cool dude, while Hodgman was hopelessly uncool, out of date and out of touch with popular culture.

But mostly, the ads were funny, which hooked me immediately.

Although it’s been 12 years since the ads were aired, you can easily find them on YouTube. Here’s my favorite I’m a Mac ad of them all, featuring Patrick Warburton, who also played “Puddy” on Seinfeld.

Enjoy the comedy.

BREAKING NEWS: Just saw this from the Wall Street Journal about Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. became the first U.S. company to reach $3 trillion in market value, the latest milestone in a pandemic-era surge that carried shares of the iPhone maker and other large technology companies to unprecedented highs.

Apple shares crossed the milestone when they topped $182.856 Monday. The share price has more than tripled since the pandemic lows of March 2020, adding around $2 trillion in market capitalization.

My 2007 test drive with the original iPhone

Steve Jobs holds an original iPhone at the Apple launch event in 2007.

Editor’s note:  In honor of Apple’s special product event today, I’m reprinting a column I wrote as technology reporter at The Oklahoman in 2007 after using the original iPhone for a week at the invitation of AT&T.  I’ve been an iPhone user now for almost a dozen years. However, in the months after the iPhone debuted in 2007, I had only a lowly flip-phone and some serious iPhone envy. 

I was seated prominently in a popular lunch spot along Western Avenue on Monday afternoon talking on the new iPhone that AT&T provided me for a one-week tryout.

I was there to show it off.

Parked at a table in the center of the busy restaurant, I whipped out the shiny new high-tech toy and proceeded to flaunt it for 45 minutes.

Important e-mails were read and sent, using the iPhone’s virtual keyboard that magically appears when any typing is needed. Web sites were accessed, appearing just as they do on a desktop or laptop computer. Tunes were cataloged on the device’s iPod. Photos were taken with the camera phone.

Nobody seemed to notice or even look my way.

Obviously, the crowd was suffering from a serious case of iPhone envy.  Their jealousy caused them to look the other way, even as I held it up to input an important appointment on the calendar.

So, I stepped it up a notch and took a very important phone call. I let the telephone ring several times before answering it. Loudly.

People continued their conversations at neighboring tables. I’m sure they were seething because they had no iPhone like the one that was providing me with such child-like wonder.

Meanwhile, I was seething at their ignorance. Or was it apathy?

Of course, they had no way of knowing that the very important phone call I took came from a coworker whom I had asked to call me at that time so I could make a show of taking a very important phone call.

I was engaged in animated conversation on the iPhone for several minutes when I looked around and noticed that the entire section of the restaurant was empty save for me.

I gave up, inserted the phone back into my shirt pocket and quietly walked to the car. Lunch was a bust.

When I walked back into the newsroom, my mood brightened. At least I had a captive audience who couldn’t run when I whipped the iPhone out. I could show off its many great features, from the easy YouTube access right on the main screen to the Google Maps button that let me see a great close-up satellite view of my house.

So, I walked into an editor’s office and pulled it out of my pocket. He was armed only with a Blackberry, which was suddenly relegated to old school technology status. The editor wanted to see the iPhone’s Web browser in action.

We had no WiFi network for the device to automatically find and use, so I called up a page using AT&T’s wireless network. We waited. And waited. Finally, we both had to go back to work.

“I’ll bring it back in when it’s feeling better,” I said, walking out.

On the way back to my desk I passed a co-worker I’ll call “Paul” and sprung the iPhone on him.

Just as I was about to list some bragging points of the device, he reached in his pocket and pulled out … an iPhone.

Paul had had it for a week and never told anyone until that moment. I almost quit on the spot.

Instead, I put the phone away and slinked back to my cubicle. An editor shouted some instructions from her desk.

“Write something about your experiences with the iPhone.”

Oh, great. Well, at least my wife liked the device until I told her about the $600 price tag. She made me put it in a drawer for safekeeping until I could give it back to AT&T.

iPhone, I hardly knew you.

Don’t criticize me! Steve Jobs shows how to respond to criticism

 

I’ve never responded particularly well to criticism.  I tend to have an instant reaction and lash out at the person providing the critique with words that I regret.  It’s something that I’m aware of and have to guard against constantly.

But it seems that I never handle it as well as I should. Call it a character flaw (among many).

Anyway, I saw this clip of Steve Jobs responding to an insulting question from an audience member at a 1997 developers conference. The guy wanted to show that Jobs didn’t know what he was talking about as far as software programming, along with a second question on what he had been doing the past seven years.

Jobs’ response blows me away. Instead of becoming angry and hurling an insult back at the guy (as I almost certainly would have), he sat and thought for several seconds. You can see that the wheels are turning as he formulates his answer and responds initially with a cliche about pleasing some of the people some of the time.  His long answer actually provided insight into why Apple developed products as it did.

Finally, he responds directly to the insult by admitting that he sometimes doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that mistakes will be made. At least someone is making some decisions for the company, he told the audience.  

Jobs’ response seems heartfelt and honest. It’s something I hope I can emulate in the future.  

I invite you to click on the video and watch Jobs respond to the insult.  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.