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Apple didn’t have to show an ad at the Super Bowl

Everybody is talking about ads that aired during this weekend Super Bowl. Some are talking about Samsung’s Galaxy Note ad. Some are talking about GoDaddy’s ad. Some are talking about Apple’s ad. But wait, Apple didn’t have an ad at this year Super Bowl. Nor did they had one since 1984. Why?

Apple don’t have to run an ad just because they are called Apple and just because this is the Super Bowl. Apple’s ads are all about making statements or educating their potential customers about something really new. This was the case back in 1984 ad that, by the way, didn’t event mentioned a single new product. This was also the case with the Mac vs PC guys ads that were very successful and popular. Still, some think Apple had to have one this year. This is what Lance Ulanoff think. I disagree completely with him. Here is why.

First, Samsung. 

Right now, Samsung is shooting in every single directions with they mobile strategy. Their ad was about a smartphone with a pen. The pen seems to be the main feature of the Galaxy Note smartphone. Does Samsung remember Palm? How is this phone supposed to be positioned within their mobile strategy? They showed us a phone that can take a pen as an input device. Wow. But who really cares?

Lack of real new Apple hardware


In case you haven’t noticed, Apple’s iPad’s second birthday came and went without the introduction of the eagerly anticipated third generation of the landmark tablet. There is an iPad 3 in the works. Everyone knows it and numerous leaks all but prove it. We even have some ideas about the specs; a faster A6 processor and a high-rez retina display with edge-to-edge screen coverage. It may also be thinner and lighter or perhaps there will be multiple versions, including a 7-inch iPad.

Still, for all we think we know, Apple was not ready to tell us anything about it during the Super Bowl.


What Mr. Ulanoff seems to forget is that Apple’s doesn’t come up with radical new hardware every year. This is true with the iPod. This was true with the iPhone. The latter example is very telling about Apple’s hardware upgrade cycles. Here comes the iPhone. The next year you see the iPhone 3G. Faster. Different shape. 3G. The next year, the iPhone 3GS comes out. Faster. Only a faster phone running a more advanced iOS version. Then, two years later, after the iPhone 3G comes the iPhone 4. A new iPhone with a radical new design bundled with a new iOS revision. This marked a two years period before seeing something really new. We can say the same thing about the Mac mini. It took more than two years before seeing a entirely new design with only small incremental upgrades in between. And we will say the same thing about the iPad 3 when it comes out. The iPad 3 will be a more radical change than what we saw when the iPad 2 came out last year.

Apple is not Samsung. Apple is not about creating a new phone every six months. This is way too many. This is not efficient. This is not Apple. Even if Apple went with the iPad 3 at the same time of the Super Bowl, I don’t think that a Super Bowl ad would have been required. Everybody would have talked about it anyway. People. The press. The Internet. 

About the iTV

Imagine if right after the Samsung Super Bowl ad, Apple had run some sort of iconic spot for, say, the Apple iTV: “Television is about to change forever, thanks to the company that, 28 years ago, changed computing forever. Watch…” Now that would’ve been cool.

May be but the iTV or whatever it is called is vapour. It is a bunch of rumours. It is not a product. So what is the point here Mr. Ulanoff? Just like “copy and paste” on iOS, only when Apple is ready, only if Apple has something really new to show, when Apple think they’ve got a game changer, they’ll let you know. Don’t worry.

[Update: Apple ran a Super Bowl ad in 1985 too.]

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