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Intel takes another sad swing at Apple’s MacBooks

Published Oct 5th, 2021 7:31AM EDT
Intel MacBook
Image: Apple

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Intel has been attacking Apple’s MacBooks all year long, starting its big marketing push in early 2021. The advertising war wasn’t a coincidence. A few months earlier, Apple launched the Apple M1 System-on-Chip (SoC) that replaced Intel’s chips inside several MacBooks. The 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini shipped with the same Apple M1 chip inside. Apple then used the same chip for the 2021 iMac and iPad Pro models, just as Intel’s attacks intensified. And the chipmaker just delivered its latest sad attack against Apple, just as the company is readying the M1X MacBook Pro launch.

Why Intel is so afraid of M1 MacBooks

Intel has been bashing Apple’s laptops all year long because it’s terrified of the Apple M chips and what they mean for its business. The M1 MacBook Pro and Air saw excellent reviews, with users appreciating the performance and battery life. The two laptops are practically identical when it comes to speed, running on the same M1 SoC. The M1X should bring several big upgrades in terms of performance, especially on the graphics side of things.

Intel isn’t just afraid of the Apple M SoCs, which will only power a fraction of the computers sold each year. Apple’s lead is also inspiring others to come up with M1 alternatives. Google launched its Tensor SoC for Pixel phones, and versions of it might very well power Pixel-branded laptops and tablets in the future. Samsung might have similar ambitions for its ARM chips. And these SoCs could replace Intel in traditional Windows laptops.

Intel’s new ad against Apple

Intel’s new anti-MacBook commercial is called Breaking the Spell: Social Experiment. It’s a video that supposedly shows Apple fans included in a focus group for “upcoming devices.” The Apple fans all say they’re huge Apple device users at the start of the clip. The Intel representative then shows them all sorts of technologies supposedly coming to future notebooks.

Intel walks them through things like upgradeable laptop hardware, gaming support, and touchscreen displays. Then Intel reveals to the participants that these technologies for upcoming devices already exist on the market right now, in the form of PCs, not MacBooks.

It all seems amazing to these Apple fans. And Intel’s Ryan Shrout says these are genuine reactions rather than scripted ones.

But Intel is hammering out the same points it made in previous ads: gaming, touchscreen displays, and hardware upgrades. The whole promo does not mention performance and battery life. That’s where the M1 MacBooks “kill” Intel-powered alternatives.

Not to mention that the savvy MacBook users who rely on Apple to meet their computing needs are probably well aware of the shortcomings that Intel points out. And they still choose Apple computers. The MacBooks RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded, gaming support can’t match Windows, and there’s no touchscreen. But MacBooks running on Apple M-series SoC are a very exciting proposition to buyers right now.

Intel’s anti-MacBook ads on YouTube fell flat before, and it looks like the new commercial is experiencing a similar fate. The new ad already has more dislikes than likes, indicating that breaking the spell might be incredibly difficult.


Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.