Maybe The Apple Ad Is Not So Wrong After All

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Apple Ad Recently I poked lighthearted fun at one of the recent Apple commercials called “Network”

There are many who dislike the ads and claim that the ad is blatantly not true. One example is this humorous and well written rebuttal by Seth Stevenson.

Seth points out…

The final straw, for me, is that the spots make unconvincing claims. The one titled “Network” has a funny bit where “that new digital camera from Japan” is represented by a Japanese woman in a minidress. While Hodgman has trouble talking with the woman, Long speaks Japanese and shares giggles with her because “everything just kind of works with a Mac.” Now, I happen to have a digital camera from Japan, and it works just fine with my PC. It did from the moment I connected it.

Good point Seth. Perhaps the ad would have been more accurate had it been a Japanese printer rather than a digital camera. And I mean a printer that really is from Japan. My wife’s dad left us an Epson PM-950C Printer (among other things). This printer is not listed on the Epson U.S. site, but presumably can be found in the Japanese site.

In order to test it out, we plugged it into the USB port on her five year old iBook and printed a web page. Worked like a charm.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we want to use the printer on my PC. We plugged it in and get the Windows cannot find the driver for the hardware dialog and were unable to print. Effectively, it didn’t just work. I then downloaded a driver that is supposed to be the U.S. equivalent. Still didn’t work.

My wife laughed out lound and said, “See! The ads are right!” I caught myself making excuses explaining to her that there are technical reasons beyond her comprehension and that I just need to toy with it for a moment to get it to work.

But I caught myself. Why am I making excuses for PCs and Microsoft? The experiment was quite simple. I plugged in a Japanese printer into a Macintosh, and we were able to print. I plug in the same printer into our PC (which was recently re-installed) and it didn’t work. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but adds weight to the Apple claim that things just work with the Apple and they don’t just work with Windows.

And responding with, “Well it will with Vista” is not a satisfactory answer. Tomorrow cars will fly, the U.S. will win the World Cup, and we will control our computers by having conversations with them and manipulating holograms. But the fact of the matter is that we all live in today and I will give Apple a bit of credit here.

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7 responses

  1. Avatar for wife
    wife July 8th, 2006

    GO iBOOK!!

  2. Avatar for Other Scott
    Other Scott July 8th, 2006

    "...the U.S. will win the World Cup...". Let's not go TOO far off into fantasy land.
    Now, I plug my wifes 6 year old HP USB scanner into my iBook and it doesn't recognize it at all. Do some research online and you find out they don't plan to support it EVER. You can supposedly get it running using SANE and some other OSS.
    But that is another benefit, in my mind, of OS X. It doesn't tease you and let you think that your device MIGHT work if only you were smarter/younger/thinner/better-looking. Windows does. Windows pops up a dialog saying, "I found something boss. Can you tell me what it is?" Smashing the myth of USB devices (remember the windows 95 demos that had you plugging in a USB device and having it all "just work. "(unless you happened to be Bill G., then it would blue screen and provide anti-MS forces with a great video clip for years to come)). So you put in the CD that came with the device, assuming you have it. Otherwise you are off on the great internet device driver hunt. ("Well, this one lists devices with a model number one greater and one smaller than mine. Will it work? What does it mean when it says "model number HPX78-xxx"?"). OS X just ignores the device all together. Giving you the oppportunity to return the device quickly.
    See, kids. You can spin anything. :)

  3. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked July 8th, 2006

    Interesting. Why would they decide never to support it? I guess the moral of the story is that NEITHER company is committed to making it JUST WORK.
    Of course, you also need the hardware companies to committ to writing relatively stable and safe drivers that comply with Windows logo requirements (for Windows) and whatever requirements Apple has.

  4. Avatar for Colin
    Colin July 8th, 2006

    That's weird, I had the opposite experience. I found it hard to get my printer to work on my new MAC. Their list of supported printers seems a lot smaller than list supported by windows. There are some pretty obvious reasons for this but without resources like linux and the open source community in general I suspect they would be in a worse position.
    The one thing that they do do better is the actual networking bit, so I guess that the ads are technically correct. I noticed that my new MAC supports almost every protocol for connecting to a printer out of the box. On older windows systems I would have to install things like LPD printing from the OS CD. The MAC comes with everything from AppleTalk through LPD to Windows printer sharing out of the box.

  5. Avatar for Jeff Atwood
    Jeff Atwood July 9th, 2006

    > Interesting. Why would they decide never to support it? I guess the moral of the story is that NEITHER company is committed to making it JUST WORK.
    The only way this EVER works is if the same company sells you both devices.
    Eg, iTunes / Xbox360 / Playstation2 model.
    Everything else is just smoke, mirrors, and the vague hope that everyone involved does the right thing at all possible times.

  6. Avatar for Steve Harman
    Steve Harman July 9th, 2006
    the U.S. will win the World Cup

    So I suppose this means the Italians are one step closer to this dream world than we...

  7. Avatar for tod hilton
    tod hilton July 12th, 2006

    If you're interested, here's another parody of the ad campaign: check it out here.