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Apple’s new iPad ads remind us of the Mac vs. PC era

Why it matters to you

If you're an iPad user, Apple has a few ads that will make you feel better about your purchasing decision.

Apple generated a fair amount of controversy when it announced the “post-PC” world during its presentation of the original iPad. The idea was simple — the tablet made “real” PCs obsolete, and from then on out everyone would be ditching their Windows and OS X machines for the iPad.

Of course, while PC sales have been stagnant, they haven’t actually gone away. Meanwhile, iPad sales have cratered, and today’s Windows 10 PC ecosystem is arguably stronger than ever, at least in terms of the number of excellent notebook options available to buyers. Now, it seems that Apple is feeling some pressure, and the firm has responded with a set of iPad ads aimed directly at PCs, as MSPU reports.

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The first ad highlights “PC viruses,” and claims that the iPad doesn’t have any. That’s true by definition, of course — PC viruses only run on PCs.

In an era where “fake news” is such a hot topic, is Apple’s claim legitimate? Given that the iOS App Store is a walled garden with significant controls over which apps are installed by the typical user, it’s probably safe to say that iPad viruses are rare compared to PCs, but they do exist. Interestingly, Apple doesn’t specify which kind of PC it’s talking about, Windows 10 or MacOS, and given that more malware is being created for Apple’s own PC platform all the time, that’s an interesting omission.

The next video asserts that the iPad Pro is “better than a computer.” Again, that’s an interesting assertion — an iPad is a “computer,” even if it’s not technically what’s commonly referred to as a “personal computer.” In any event, Apple makes the claim that the iPad Pro is “faster than most laptops” and has a touchscreen that can be written on.

Whether an iPad is “faster” than a notebook, though, is a debatable proposition. An iPad Pro doesn’t run the same kind of extensive, feature-rich applications as “real” PCs, and so it’s likely a fair enough claim that it can run lighter mobile apps faster than many notebooks can run something like the full version of Adobe Premier. Of course, plenty of Windows 10 2-in-1 machines have touchscreens and active pen support, and so the iPad Pro can’t really claim those features as a unique strength.

The final video says that you can “do more with Word” on an iPad Pro. Of course, Microsoft’s cross-platform strategy has been a relative success, with millions of users on iOS — and Android — running the Office Mobile suite of applications. It should be noted, of course, that the Word 2016 application on Windows 10 and MacOS is a bit more feature-complete than Word Mobile, and the same can be said for the rest of the Office suite and the universe of “real” PC applications in general.

Apple is likely preparing for its expected announcement of new iPad devices in the relatively near future. It’s not really a “post-PC” world yet, which Apple has essentially confirmed by releasing ads that expressly compare its iPad tablet to PCs.