Intel hires Justin Long to mock Macs in throwback to 2000s “I’m a Mac” ads


Intel’s “Justin Gets Real: Touch Screens” ad.

Chipmaker Intel has produced a series of ads mocking Apple’s M1 Macs, and it brought on actor Justin Long—famous for his role in Apple’s 2000s “I’m a Mac” ads opposite comedian John Hodgman—to satirize Apple’s own ad campaign.

In five video ads labeled “Justin Gets Real” that have been published to Intel’s YouTube channel, Long begins by saying, “Hello, I’m a… Justin, just a real person doing a real comparison between Mac and PC,” referencing the “Hello, I’m a Mac” and “I’m a PC” start to Apple’s numerous ads.

Long briefly examines a Windows laptop with an Intel processor, then an Apple Silicon-equipped Mac. Eventually he comes to conclusions about how the Macs are too limited compared to what the Intel PCs can do.

It’s no coincidence that the two Macs that are compared unfavorably in the ads are Apple’s M1-based MacBook Pro and MacBook Air computers. Intel has been beleaguered of late, with both Apple’s M1 and AMD’s Ryzen processors consistently beating Intel in performance. The ads appear intended to point to other, mostly non-performance-related reasons why Intel-based laptops might provide a better experience than Apple’s recent M1 Macs.

Some of these reasons ring partially true, while others are a stretch. In one example, Long examines an Intel-based Windows laptop connected to three external monitors, then beholds a Mac laptop that only supports one external monitor. This is true; the new M1 laptops only work with one external monitor at a time by default, though the M1 Mac mini can drive two displays. Other Macs that still have Intel CPUs work with more monitors, though, just like the Windows machine in the ad does.

Intel’s “Justin Gets Real: 3 Monitors” ad

That said, this is an example of one of the criticisms highlighted in the ads that may not stand the test of time. Apple has been clear in interviews and statements that the first wave of Macs with Apple Silicon were low-end machines with limited features and ports compared to the higher-end laptops in the company’s lineup. We don’t know for sure yet, but it seems likely that more expensive Apple Silicon Macs that are expected to launch in the coming months will indeed support more external displays.

It’s worth noting that some of the original Mac ads these videos are riffing on were equally distorted in their characterizations of PCs, though.

Other examples from Intel’s new ads include a brief conversation with a PC gamer wherein the PC gamer comments, “No one really games on a Mac,” and Long quickly agrees. There’s also a sequence where Long is surprised and disappointed that he cannot use a touch interface on MacBook’s screen. He is instead confused by the Touch Bar (which Apple is expected to stop shipping in new Macs later this year, according to some reports).

Intel still provides processors for some Macs, but Apple is expected to replace them in most if not all of the Mac lineup over the next year and a half. We embedded some of the ads above, and here’s the rest of the lineup below.

Intel’s “Justin Gets Real: PC Gaming” ad

Intel’s “Justin Gets Real: 2-in-1 Flexibility” ad

Intel’s “Justin Gets Real: Having Choices” ad

Listing image by Intel

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