Oh, Apple. Did you have to?

Apple's Earth Day ad, squarely aimed at Samsung, undercuts Apple's sincerity in dealing with the environment. But some may love seeing a little arrogance back in Apple's ads.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Good day for a joke? Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You've probably had a lover like this.

One day, they're caring, sweet, forward-thinking, and, as is de rigueur these days, deeply environmentalist.

The next, they're snippy, snappy, haughty, and just a little snooty.

That's how Apple seemed on Tuesday after releasing an ad that purported to celebrate Earth Day but really was just one more bazooka shot in its scorched-earth strategy against Samsung.

"There are some ideas we want every company to copy," sniffed the headline.

Just in case you hadn't embraced the arf-arf element, the first line of the copy read, "There's one area where we encourage others to appropriate our ideas."

Some might not be aware that environmentalism was a concept designed by Apple in California.

But this was a strange segue to a long ad released on Monday, in which Tim Cook himself extolled Apple's deep sincerity in leaving "the world in a better place than we found it."

The ad was very serious, evoking a passionate commitment to the environment and the people who live in it.

In that ad, Cook said: "To us, better is a force of nature."

How hard, then, would it have been to be the better man on Earth Day and not use it as an opportunity to snipe at a company with which you're bickering in the courts over intellectual property?

Yes, Apple's sense of design has been preeminent for many years. But so, at times, has its sense of righteousness.

The company's inability to control itself on Earth Day might make some feel that all this environmentalism is just another platform upon which Apple slaps its competitors -- the environment thing is just business, nothing personal.

At the same time, the snippy ad shows that Apple's distaste for Samsung is more than mere annoyance. There's a little fear peering from beneath the underskirts, as has been suggested in some of the e-mails released during the current court case.

Perhaps Apple might use other supposedly serious occasions to offer its own barbed expressions, like spiked Google Doodles.

How about a Christmas ad that celebrates the birth of the iPhone with the headline: "The Virgin Birth. Why didn't Samsung think of that?"