Apple’s new iPad Pro commercial seems to imagine a world where computers are obsolete — and, of course, it’s sparking quite a bit of anger.
The ad spot seems innocuous enough at first glance. A young child spends her day hanging out with friends and working on school projects in a fairly hip American city. At the end of the commercial, the child lays down on the grass in their backyard. A neighbor asks what the child is doing on their “computer.”
“What’s a computer?” the child replies with a quick glance, before returning to her iPad-ing.
Of course, the new ad spot is only the latest in a long line of commercials touting the iPad Pro as an excellent replacement for a full-fledged PC notebook. But it might be the first one to send some internet denizens over the edge.
Apple’s commercial implies that, in the ad’s world, computers have become so obsolete or old-fashioned that a child wouldn’t even know what one is. The video’s description on YouTube even proclaims that a “post-PC world is closer than you think.” Whether this is meant to be a present-day scenario or a not-too-distant future is up for debate.
It’s pretty standard fare for an Apple ad, but it is perhaps a touch unrealistic. Computers — Macs and PCs alike — are still how the majority of the world gets any significant work done, of course. That’s true even with the rise of the smartphone era. Alternatively, the girl in the ad could have just been asking “what’s a computer” sarcastically, as if to suggest that she has no need for one.
Either way, the ad seems to have people across social media pretty riled up.
Good morning to EVERYONE except the "wHaT’s A cOmPuTeR????" girl from the iPad commercial
— Chazzy (@TheRealCPhantom) January 20, 2018
I’ve never hated another human being more than the "what’s a computer" iPad child
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) January 22, 2018
I want to throw a brick at the tv when the hipster apple "what’s a computer" commercial comes on
— Chad Ellwood (@ChadEllwood) January 21, 2018
It’s worth noting that the ad might also be a clever comeback to a comment made last year by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, Quartz noted. During a press event in India, Nadella spotted two reporters equipped with iPads. “You need to get a real computer, my friend,” she said to one of them.
In that context, the ad girl’s “what’s a computer” comment certainly seems like a sly and subtle dig toward Nadella’s own snarkiness. Apple and Microsoft have been ribbing each other for years, and while we’re not sure if the iPad Pro commercial is another example of that, it paints the ad in a new — and slightly smarter — light.