Who is Justin Long and why the internet is on fire thanks to Intel’s campaign against Apple

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Who is Justin Long and why the internet is on fire thanks to Intel’s campaign against Apple
If you are a tech enthusiast, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Apple’s ad campaign against the PC. While in the beginning the guys from Cupertino created only a handful of short ads, they ended up making 66 of them. Yes, 66! That’s not a typo. However… Why!?

We’ll have to go back to 2006, when Apple launched the first MacBook with an Intel processor on board. This new piece of hardware, and a bunch of other improvements to the MacBook helped sales dramatically, as you can see below.

So, while Intel’s precious processors boosted Apple’s sales, they also helped shape their identity as a brand. In the present day this brand is the highest-valued company in the world!

Today, Intel takes shots at Apple left and right! So, what happened? Why is Intel so bitter?

The answer is the M1. The M-series of processors are Cupertino’s new secret weapon to… virtually everything. The M1 MacBooks, including a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, as well as a Mac Mini, were announced back in November 2020, and changed the history of computers forever. In the most simple of terms, Apple integrated a mobile processor (ARM), just like the one you’d find on your iPhone or iPad into the MacBook. Not only this was a successful experiment, but the laptops went from being good to being unmatched in a few key aspects, most notably performance (bearing in mind performance per watt power), and battery life - categories dominated by Macs at the moment. The computers are able to run cool and fast, even under heavy loads. Not to mention, the MacBook Air doesn’t even have a fan.

But! You know who does have a fan? Intel! His name is Justin, and as you might have guessed by the title, he is important to the story.

So… Who is Justin Long!?

Let’s dial back the drama. He’s simply an actor, who does ads… for Intel. That’s right. As you’d be able to see from the 66 Mac vs PC ads, the same Justin did a lot of work for Apple during their Mac vs PC campaign back in the day.

The tables have turned and over 15 years later, he is now on team PC (man’s gotta eat), and makes fun of Apple. Sort of. Kind of… Not really.

The TikTok-length videos are straight to the point. They aim to show the PC as the better alternative to a Mac. However, the majority of people who’ve seen them are united in their opinion that they are… Cringy?

Justin is great for the role (there’s literally no one else who could do it), and it was a smart, if a sneaky move by Intel to hire him. However, the end product is… a mixed bag.

Let’s break the videos down just so it’s not so confusing:

Justin Gets Real: 2-in-1 Flexibility

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In this one, Justin compares a 2-in-1 PC to a MacBook (a fake one, by the way), and he actually makes a good point! Apple doesn’t offer convertible devices - the iPhone is an iPhone, the iPad is an iPad (you can get a keyboard for it), and Macs are… You get it. Apple wants to sell more of everything. It’s a lucrative business model. On team PC, you get a ton of options, with some of the most interesting ones being the 2-in-1 models, which allow you to completely detach the keyboard, and use the screen as a tablet PC (of course, thanks to the touch screen). However, there are a few problems with this ad:

It gives Apple a lot of exposure. Yes they don’t have a convertible PC, but they have a tablet and a pen for it (which is pretty good, apparently). If the people watching the video didn’t know… Now they do. Well done, Intel!

The very last shot shows someone handing Justin a dongle, and that’s just ironic. Apple still produces MacBooks with Intel chips, which just like the M1 Macs require a dongle, if you want to plug in more than two peripherals. Still, it’s a good point, but not because the Macs need more ports, but because every laptop needs more ports. The point is - there are thin and compact Windows laptops, which also compromise when it comes to ports. Of course, that’s not an excuse for Apple to do so. Rumour has it that Cupertino is going to double the amount of ports on the next Macs. Justin will be watching you, Tim!

Justin Gets Real: PC Gaming

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This one is aimed at gamers, and it worked. Many gamers have left comments under the videos… about how ridiculous the video is. Speaking of comments, we’ll just leave the top one here. It describes what’s wrong with the video pretty well and it has almost 1000 likes as of now:

User: holotape 4 days ago

Intel's Idea of Chad Gamer:
Controller ️
Large Headphones with boom mic ️
Tiny Laptop with 2-year old mobile GPU️
Gaming Chair ️
Poor Posture ️
"Sup" ️

Justin Gets Real: Having Choices

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You guessed it - this one is about the abundance of PCs out there. There’s all kinds, all colours, all shapes and sizes. However, as some have pointed out, most of these laptops also come with processors made by AMD - Intel’s direct competitor. Yet, Justin says “Oh, Intel… Nice!”, when he picks up the Asus laptop. That makes us wonder if Intel is trying to pursue people to buy a PC or a PC with an Intel processor… Neither of them exist in a vacuum.

However, the most shocking decision by whoever directed the videos was to use a fake MacBook (as mentioned earlier). Wait for it… It’s a better looking one than any MacBook we’ve ever seen before, thanks to the thinner bezels they’ve decided to give to the competing machine. Seriously... Who does that!?

Oh, and although we are nitpicking, Justin holds up what looks like a ZenBook Duo, which unlocks with Windows Hello, “recognising” his face, despite him saying that he’s “never seen a screen like this before on a laptop”... This would raise serious security issues, if we didn’t know it’s just a poorly scripted ad concept (no offence).

Justin Gets Real: Touch Screens

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This one’s an armada of shots taken. First on the line is the touch bar on the Mac, which is apparently too small for Justin. Then, the lack of a dedicated mute button (because of the touch bar), and then Siri (this one was about time).

The thing is… Apple made the secondary display (touch bar) cool. Many aren’t fans of it, but it gave manufacturers confidence to experiment with their own secondary displays, which is a great thing! Again, the rumour is that Apple is actually bringing back the row of function keys at the expense of the Touch Bar with the next bunch of Macs, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Justin Gets Real: 3 Monitors

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This one's self-explanatory. You can plug in only one monitor to your Mac. There are a few workarounds to plug two or more monitors to your MacBook, such as DisplayLink or Plugable (with the USB-C Triple HDMI Display Docking Station). Is that practical? No! Of course, no. It costs more money too. However, users underneath the video ask “who plugs in three displays into their MacBook, for a total of four screens'', and they’ve got a point. There are professionals who need a setup like this, but are they likely to be using a MacBook Air? Not really. They are more likely to be using an iMac Pro. Or a powerful Windows PC (relax, Justin!).

All in all,

Intel’s goal is very unclear here. There are some valid points raised. For example, Siri is definitely not the best voice assistant out there, and Macs are boring in a way. However, that’s what makes them so recognisable, which consequently reinforces Apple’s brand identity, which is strong! Referring back to the fact that Intel helped Apple to find this strong brand identity, the PC (as a whole) did too! Cupertino’s campaign was built on “how cool the Mac is”, and “how nerdy and lame the PC was”. You can go back and check out the ads. This is how Apple created the perception that they are the way to go for everyone who doesn’t want to be “nerdy” like John Hodgman (the PC guy).

On the other hand

Yes, everyone on the internet seems to be mocking Intel now, but we think they got what they wanted from this marketing campaign. Because… That’s what it is. It's an advertisement. Whether people like or dislike the video, they’ve watched it. The videos have over 33K dislikes thus far, and that’s not a bad thing! It means there is a conversation about the company and their computers now. Marketing isn’t a “likes competition”.

Still, the biggest question remains: Why is Intel pushing PCs as Intel only machines!?

By watching the video, someone might decide they want the “cool pink laptop”, but what stops them from buying the AMD version of it? Nothing. Intel was so focused on bashing the Mac, that they really didn’t make a case for their own product. That’s especially important, because according to PassMark Software's PerformanceTest benchmarking tool, AMD already managed to pass Intel in the Windows desktop CPU market share worldwide with 50.8% to 49.2% (January 4, 2021). That’s largely thanks to the excellent Ryzen series of processors that come from AMD.

By the way, it’s almost funny how the rumours point to Apple basically “addressing” all of Justin's worries very soon. The new Macs are expected to come with more ports (thumbs up from Justin), function keys (Justin likes that), and very powerful chips, which should unlock great experience on the gaming side (Go, Justin!).

Moreover, Apple isn’t the Mac. According to Statista, the company’s revenue is largely made from selling vacuum clea... iPhones. Of course, it’s iPhones. They contribute over 40% of the total revenue. Macs only contribute about 14% as of late 2020, with the rest coming from iPads, wearables, and the increasingly popular Apple Electric Toothbru... (We got you again!) - Аpple services, including subscription-based ones.

We are sure, it will be long until Intel’s business starts to really struggle thanks to the Mac. Intel sells hardware to manufacturers, which make laptops at every and any price point. So far, that’s a “feature” that the MacBook still lacks. Intel is safe until the “MacBook SE” comes out. How amazing would it be if they get Justin to promote it...

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