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Desktops

Crave Talk: Five things Apple made up

If you listened to everything Apple said about PCs you would have an impression they're dull and rubbish. We would politely like to set the record straight

If you haven't seen the Mac and PC adverts, you must be living on the moon, in a soundproof room with a blindfold on and earplugs in. Put simply, these ads are everywhere, and are designed to remind us how cool Macs are, and how lame and sucky PCs are.

The problem is, Apple has stuffed them so full of untruths and smugness that all they have done is prove that PC users are lovable, normal people, while Mac users are constantly struggling for approval from people who have spent the last 20 years not buying Macs. Here's a selection of our favourite porkies. You can find a full list of the ads at the ever-nerdy Wikipedia.

Ad #1: Which Vista
In this advert, Mac laughs as PC tries to choose a version of Vista to install. PC claims the six different versions make picking one really hard. Of course, the truth is picking a Vista is easy -- there are three versions for home and three for work. We can rule out the work ones because your IT department will take care of that. The three that remain are Basic, Premium and Ultimate. Basic is useless, so forget about that, and Ultimate is too expensive, so that just leaves Premium. See, that wasn't so hard now, was it?

Ad #2: Security
Here we find PC with a hefty bodyguard -- anything Mac asks him has to be confirmed by this man in black. Now, my problem with this advert is that for years the whole argument from Apple has been "PCs aren't secure, buy a Mac". Now its argument seems to be "PCs are too secure, buy a Mac". So which is it Apple, do you want security or not?

Ad #3: Tech support
Today, PC is having a webcam fitted. This is apparently a huge deal, because IT has to come up and install it. We are then told by the IT guy that "Macs come with webcams built-in". What he fails to mention is that many PCs, such as the Sony Vaios and Asus' various sports-car themed machines, have had built-in webcams for ages. And if you never want to make an arse of yourself on YouTube, wouldn't it be nice not to have to pay for it?

Ad #4: Surgery
PC is getting Vista installed, and needs to have a hardware upgrade to make Vista work. Of course, there are risks to an upgrade -- PC might not make it. What this advert fails to mention is that most PCs built in the last two years, with 1GB of RAM, will take to Vista like a duck to water. At least a PC is designed to be upgraded -- and that's a good thing. With a Mac you can add more memory, and that's about it, meaning when Photoshop needs more power, you have to buy a whole new cheese grater.

Ad #5: Pie chart
This is our favourite, because it's here that Apple claims PC is no fun, that all he's designed to do is work. Of course, Apple totally fails to mention games. There was one Mac-only game, back in 1996: it was called Marathon and entertainment-starved Mac users went mad for it. Oh, and it was developed by Bungie, so all the Mac fans cried tears of blood when Microsoft bought the company and set them to work developing Halo for the Xbox. For us, this one is the nail in the coffin of these adverts. PCs are great all-round computers: they do office stuff and fun stuff. And they do it without complaining and without being smug.

If you have recently returned from Moonbase Alpha, you can see the Mac and PC adverts on the UK and US Apple sites. -Ian Morris