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Intel’s latest anti-Apple ad has an embarrassing mistake

Published Apr 8th, 2021 3:12PM EDT
Intel vs. M1 MacBooks
Image: Apple Inc.

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Intel is so terrified of the Apple M1 processor that powers the latest MacBook Air, Pro, and Mac mini computers that it kickstarted an extensive marketing campaign to show the world how good Intel chips are and why people shouldn’t buy M1-powered MacBooks. The M1 MacBooks have received praising reviews for their power, speed, and battery life, which are features that Intel-based laptops can’t quite match. Intel might not just be afraid of the M1 devices, but what they represent. Apple is hardly the market leader in the laptop industry, but its success with ARM-powered devices should end up motivating other PC makers to invest more in laptops that do not have Intel inside. It’s already happening in the smartphone market, where several companies that used to rely solely on Qualcomm chips have followed Apple’s lead and begun to make their own chipsets.

Intel’s anti-M1 ad campaign has received plenty of criticism for the way it has been conducted. Intel featured cherry-picked benchmarks to highlight the advantages of Windows 10 laptops over M1 MacBooks. It hired Justin Long to appear in ads similar to Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign and sponsored other videos on YouTube promoting the Intel chips. In a comical turn of events, the number of dislikes surpassed likes for those ads on YouTube. The Intel campaign also featured notable blunders, with Intel accidentally mocking a PC in one of the ads. But the newest one is the best yet — Intel just used a MacBook Pro to promote “the world’s best processor on a thin and light laptop.”

The following ad appeared on Reddit, showing a man with headphones on apparently playing a game on a laptop — more on the gaming part later. It might not be immediately clear, but some people quickly realized that the laptop happens to be a MacBook Pro, and they pointed it out on Twitter.

That trackpad size and design combined with the keyboard are indications that we’re looking at a MacBook, or a MacBook lookalike, of which there are many. But the image Intel uses comes from a series of photos available on Getty Images. Intel placed its logo on the part of the image that would show two USB-C ports next to a headphone jack in the same port placement as seen on the MacBook Pro. Explore the Millennial Man Playing Computer Game On Laptop At Home collection, and you’ll get different versions of the image that show us we’re looking at a 16-inch MacBook Pro with a Magic Mouse next to it. The 16-inch MacBook still uses an Intel chip, but it’s expected to make the jump to M-series chips this year.

There’s no question that the “millennial man” is gaming on the laptop. He has the headphones on, and his left hand’s position on the keyboard indicates that he’s navigating a character in a game — or he’s at least pretending to be playing a game. What’s ironic is that Intel specifically criticized the M1 MacBooks for not being great at playing computer games. But that’s something you could say about any Intel-powered MacBook. Apple’s laptops were never great at gaming.

Could Intel be quietly advertising Intel MacBooks over M1 models? That’s definitely not the case because the ad references a particular processor. Intel says the Intel Core i7-1185G7 is the “world’s best processor.” MacRumors notes that this particular Intel chip is not used in any Mac.

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.