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How Might Apple Tout Intel? Or Not?

? An analyst raises iPod shipment estimates |


| iTunes Traffic Jam ?

December 19, 2005

How Might Apple Tout Intel? Or Not?

Arik Hesseldahl

Last week in the "Byte of The Apple" column I raised the issue of how Apple might -- or might not -- advertise its new affiliation with Intel. Remember that other computer makers who use Intel chips get subsidies from Intel to help defray advertising costs. I've gotten a lot of reader comments and email on the subject, and it seems that everyone here has an opinion.

So I thought I'd ask readers here to chime in with their own comments. Put yourself in the shoes of Apple management, and ask yourself what you would do in this situation:

Would you refuse Intel's advertising money -- which may or may not be a little hard to explain to shareholders -- and stick with the traditional advertising and marketing strategies?

Or would you take the money, add the recognizable Intel marks and logos and add them to print and TV advertising campaigns in much the same way other PC companies do?

Or is there a third way? Perhaps Apple, a company which throughout its history has always broken new ground in advertising, can take the money and find a creative, Apple-friendly way to wave the Intel flag? And if so, how would you do it?

What would you do? What would you not do? Leave us feedback by posting a comment. I look forward to your ideas.

03:39 PM


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As long as they leave the issue to Apple creative departament I'm sure they can find a way to place with the intel brand nicely and not the way pc makers do. (awful looking stickers everywhere)

Apple's branding way.

intel would get a new high profile use of their brand and benefit from Apple's high value (as a brand). (does this make any sense?)

Posted by: singermornings at December 19, 2005 05:01 PM

The only way I can see apple do this is a small, laser engraved intel logo near the palm rest of the laptops with no colour used. That's too much even for me, but if that's the worst it got, while dropping costs due to advertising subsidies, I could live with it. Anything else, I'll take off right after removing it from the box.

Posted by: Roberto Felgueiras at December 19, 2005 05:04 PM

Did Apple ever advertise "Motorola Inside", no. It isn't so much the CPU as it is the OS that sold the Mac. They could tout the Intel chip, it might help bring in switchers, it wouldn't hurt.

Posted by: Seth Bullock at December 19, 2005 05:08 PM

I couldn't see Steve Jobs or Jonathan Ives allowing a intel inside sticker on the outside of the computers. Just not going to happen. The apple logo and the computer name that's it. I think they will work with Intel on a "Apple-like" way to work it in. Should be interesting...

Posted by: geno at December 19, 2005 05:15 PM

There should not be any Intel badging defiling my Powerbook or any other Mac or Apple product for that matter.

Posted by: Lee at December 19, 2005 07:48 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if option 3 is what happens.

Posted by: Ben at December 19, 2005 08:49 PM

Apple will accept this money, no doubt.

Jobs will negociate with Intel a new way of advertising the alliance in a "think different" way.

Intel will accept because Apple is an innovator, and they like all the "mystic" the Apple brand will bring.

Intel knows Apple is the underdog everybody loves to watch, and the mac users consider themselves rebels against the system (MS), so some independence and distance is important to the old user perception.

Apple will benefit from Intel brand recognition to convince new potencial switchers to make the transition knowing they are using the same PC processor brand in their new macs, familiarity is the key.

We mac users will gladly accept, because we know Apple and this alliance will change the computer industry for many years to come.

We mac users will sadly accept, because we always liked the underdog label and soon we will grow so much, than we will be labeled the massive mighty dogs.

Posted by: J. Carlos at December 19, 2005 09:25 PM

Perhaps a silhouette add featuring the blue-man group?

Posted by: pianoman at December 19, 2005 09:29 PM

Not a chance. Let the Dell's of the world muck up their chintzy boxes. I guarantee that Apple will NOT have 'Intel Inside" anywhere on the computer, and possibly only as one of the logos placed on the side of the packaging.

Posted by: Dale at December 19, 2005 09:34 PM

The biggest flaw with the argument that Apple has to tout Intel to please shareholders is that you assume that Apple will be marketing OS X heavily. However, for a long time now, Apple has not done any major advertising of its mac computers, and I don thtink it was due to lack of money. So assuming that their advertising strategy will remain the same, they would not save much money because their advertising costs by themselves are low.

Posted by: Varun at December 19, 2005 09:36 PM

I guarantee that Steve Jobs would NEVER allow Apple to put Intel stickers or run the "traditional" Intel jingle in its advertising. That would be good Intel, good for PC competitors and bad for Apple. On the other hand, there could certainly be significant financial incentives offered by Intel for some form of co-op advertising. IF Apple accepts the money, it would be for something cool and never-before-seen and probably not in the same form as with PCs. No goofy stickers on Macs, ever. That is about as un-Jobsian as it comes. Perhaps a new Apple-only Intel logo in print ads. Perhaps voiceover in TV intro ads for six months. But I doubt it would be "forever" and probably minimally visible.

Posted by: nimno at December 19, 2005 10:33 PM

Since Apple doesnt do much advertising for its computers (the only stuff I see nowdays is in Time magazine), I doubt they will take the money, wave the intel logo all over the place and possibly piss off Mac users. Maybe its just where I live, but when was the last time you saw a Mac commercial that wasnt for an iPod? The last I remember was when the G5 came out and there was a commercial with a G5 blowing some kid through the house into a tree outside. Thats it. Before that was for the "Lamp" iMac. Apple will probably just do exactly what they have done with the PPC stuff. A little logo on the side of the box. No flashy Intel Inside stickers stuck on the monitor and several places on the computer and inside the computer.

I just hope that when they do ship "Macintel's" that they arent slower than other PC's with similar processors. That would be harsh. Apple has forever (not lately though) said and showed how much faster Macs were than PC's at rendering stuff in Photoshop and other programs. Recent studies show that the new Quad G5 2.0 is just about the fastest thing out there other than some Dell box with 2 dual core opterons. But it smashed the Dual 2.5 G5 and several other souped up PC's.

Posted by: Chris at December 19, 2005 10:35 PM

To me, the processor isn't what makes a Mac a Mac. It's the entire user experience, from the box it comes in, to the case, to the operating system, to every little detail that goes into the machine.

I'm not sure that most users care what's under the hood of their iBook, Mac Mini, or iMac. Us Mac geeks might care a bit more - we may debate the plusses and minuses of each platform... but I'm not sure we're the people Apple wants to advertise to anyhow.

Long story short, I don't see Apple touting the processor any more than they do with the g5 - on the specs page and the specs page only.

Posted by: Daniel Andrews at December 19, 2005 10:38 PM

For Apple, the brand is everything, and nothing will be allowed to dilute it. Shareholders [should] understand this. Apple's ability to keep its brand "pure" and valuable is part of the reason stockholders won't utter a peep when the company refuses Intel's ad money... at least when it comes to putting a sticker on a piece of hardware.

OTOH, I don't think Apple will shy away from acknowledging the partnership with Intel in more transitory media. In fact, I expect it to be a key focus of Apple's ads when the first Intel boxes start rolling out. You might also see Intel reciprocating with complementary advertising of its own, touting the connection to Apple. This is a win-win situation for both companies, and they'd be crazy not to attempt to exploit it.

But "Intel Inside" on a G[x]? I don't think so.

Posted by: Eric at December 19, 2005 11:18 PM

Here are my thoughts:

1. I honestly don't think Apple needs Intel's help in marketing, whether it be monetary or the intangible. All of us can agree that Apple's brand marketing strategy is among the best, if not the very best, in the world and they do not need help from Intel to promote their products. I agree that any company would jump at the chance to defray prohibitive marketing costs in a highly competitive market, but I feel that they will pay too great a price in possibly diminishing their unique brand identity if they were to succumb to investor and media pressure. How can they be expected to "Think Different" if they follow along the footsteps of their Wintel counterparts?

2. Unfortunately, if it so happens that one of their agreements to sign with Intel was a co-branding of sorts, then you can expect Apple to work that into their creative space and industrial design with the usual "Apple Touch". While I can only speculate and my ideas won't be half as good as what their design and marketing teams can conceptualize, here are possible options:

- Scrap the beyond fugly stickers in ill-placed spots on desktops and laptops - that'll never happen. Instead, I'd expect Apple to laser etch or engrave Intel's logo near where all those government regulated markings are shown on laptops and place a similar laser engraved Intel logo on a custom designed processor heat sink cover (a la the G5)

- Apple will never mar their gorgeously minimalist startup screen with an Intel logo. Instead, it might include their logo or words into the Mac OS X startup dialog box with the progress bar, which would need to be as subtle as possible and/or include the words or logo under the "About This Mac" screen

- I doubt Apple will break with tradition by changing the startup "bong" to incorporate Intel's chimes as some have suggested, but if done right, it might be a perceptive shift in aurally expressing the identity of a new generation of Macs

- Print and media ads will most certainly not have the Intel logo or chimes in the long run. There's a possibility that initially to create awareness, they might include the Intel brand in their campaign, with a distinct Apple flourish of course, but once that is established, you can expect them to phase out such ads. One such target area would be the Windows/x86 audience to facilitate switcher awareness - places like PC Magazine, PC World, Electronic Gaming Monthly, G4TechTV,, and the likes.

Here's to looking forward to MWSF and beyond and the hushed awe of every expectation being shattered.

Posted by: Menhir at December 19, 2005 11:21 PM

"Intel the apples core"

Posted by: Funky Love Bunny at December 19, 2005 11:31 PM

Everytime you start up your Mac you get the familiar Intel chime rather than the Apple start-up hum.

BITE MY TONGUE! Did I just write that?

Posted by: gb at December 20, 2005 01:42 AM

If I were Steve Jobs (mmm Gulfstream...) I would mention the association with intel in keynote presentations, but not in the actual marketing of the products.

The keynotes would follow along the lines of: "We've been working with intel for years now on the new (just for us) CPUs, and They, Are, Amazing..."

The actual advertising will concentrate on the new form factors (slimmer, lighter, wider) and the better battery life and other performance gains, but actual mention of intel would be buried somewhere on "page two."

There's absolutely no chance of any intel inside branding, or the jingle, or any decals.

Just as a Bentley Continental is essentially a Volkswagen Phaeton, but what you see and touch is "Bentley," and the buyers really don't care -- so will it be with Apple and intel.

Posted by: Andrew Burke at December 20, 2005 02:25 AM

First and foremost, there will be no stickers on laptops. PC makers not only get money back from Intel processors but also graphics cards from the likes of ATI and NVidia. I don't see Apple touting their stickers on their machines. Then you also have the Steve Jobs factor. He doesn't want to put stickers all over the beautiful design he's just approved. That side of things ain't gonna happen.

Advertising though... well when Apple releases it's first Intel macs I think that it may go on an advertising blitz, much like with the iPod. The increases of 1 million laptops sold next year over this year could turn to 1.5 or even 2 million with enough advertising. And that is where Apple could possibly give in. Maybe not on the TV but it doesn't take that much away to put an Intel badge on a newspaper or magazine ad.

But then you have the huge point of Intel wanting Apple as much as Apple wants Intel. After all, Apple is one of their latest customers yet they are also going to be the first to announce computers with the latest Intel processors. Intel may be giving Apple huge discounts on the chips as it because it knows Apple will use and showcase the latest chips to the world. Therefore you get the 3rd scenario that Apple doesn't need to include the Intel jingle to get discounts, because it already gets them.

There was an article on the inquirer yesterday that pretty much summed it up. While the rest of the PC industry is going for the cheapest components to make the cheapest computer, Apple is willing to pay a bit more to get something that works, that looks good and that keeps up the standard that Apple has set. That applies to all aspects of Apple, including marketing.

Posted by: Martin Pilkington at December 20, 2005 04:48 AM

Apple has a brand-recognition that is huge by anyone's standards. Advertising often is abstract and it tries to convey an impression instead of providing information. So, what business does the Intel-inside message have in their advertising?

We might see G5 jumping to P6 when it comes to naming the new models. Something subtle like that, yet strong.

Funny ideas is that we might get the Intel-chime as the start-up sound, although this would probably annoy a lot of buyers. Perhaps the new boot-code allows different start-up sounds where the Intel-chime is one of them. Seems like a reasonable offer towards Intel.

It is all just speculcation, but so far Apple has been downplaying the role of the CPU for the average user. If they are serious, then you'd have to really know where to look to see what engine is running the Mac.

So far, for me, Intel has always been synonomous with Dos and Windows and the first thing I did when I bought a PC-laptop (I use it for testing the Windows version of my software that I develop on the Mac) was removing the Intel-inside sticker. The first Mac that comes with an Intel CPU would better have no visible indication of Intel or I might leave it at the store. But I am very interested in owning one, but much depends on being able to run Windows together with MacOSX. But that's just because of my job, not for the way I use my computers.

Posted by: Eddy at December 20, 2005 10:00 AM

In my opinion Apple will go for a 3rd way, only a non-linear strategy will create new wealth for Apple. What the company now needs is to reinvent their product and service concepts, redraw the computer market boundaries, so that they can radically alter deep-down computer industry economics. Apple should know how to get different rather than how to get better. The challenge nowadays is strategy innovation.

Posted by: Henrique Pl?ger Abreu at December 20, 2005 11:47 AM

I see no reason to make any kind of advertising deals.

Apple's market share is growing, not shrinking. As such, they have no need to lower their prices. (The shift to Intel chips is out of a need for more performance, not lower cost.)

Furthermore, Apple has no need for extra cash - they've got more in the bank than any other computer maker.

I don't think you'll see any "Intel inside" anything around Apple's products. They're going to be getting discounted chips simply due to the high volume they'll be purchasing, and their current advertising seems to be working just fine.

Posted by: David C. at December 20, 2005 12:42 PM

I think I would do a commercial with Blue Man Group and a new Intel iBook. It has a certain coolness factor. I think people still associate Intel with Blue Man Group in their mind.

Posted by: Douglas Lu at December 20, 2005 01:27 PM

I think Intel will do the advertizing not Apple.

Posted by: Robert at December 20, 2005 01:31 PM

There's no way Jobs would ever agree to putting those unsightly stickers on Apple's hardware.

They will either make do with an Intel logo on the packaging, or at most, place a meant-to-be-seen-and-then-removed sticker on the machine (like the one explaining how to eject a CD/DVD on the laptops).

Posted by: Michael Stango at December 20, 2005 01:44 PM

What would they have to explain to shareholders? "Sorry we didn't get you more money but we sold more computers cause they still look good. Oh yeah, also we apologize for our stock going from $5 to $72 (split adjusted) over the last two or three years."

They would have nothing to apologize to shareholders about. I do not expect anything other than when you open the computer up, instead of it saying G5 it will say Intel ____. With the ____ being which every processor is in it.

Posted by: Scott at December 20, 2005 02:19 PM

One way Apple could go about it might be a "combo brand", a kinda "Mac + Intel" -style logo either on the Mac itself, startup screen, or "About This Mac" (as Menhir suggested). That'd signify more of an equal partnership, and Apple gets to maintain its brand identity (sure some Mac users might be offended anyway, but that's inevitable). Of course, such a move might offend all of the other PC makers who slap on the Intel Inside sticker.

As for the Intel jingle, since Apple hasn't advertised any actual Macs on TV since the LCD iMac IIRC, there's no problem there IMHO.

Posted by: Mav at December 20, 2005 03:35 PM

who cares? just do what i do: peel the stupid sticker off. you do know it is a sticker and it does come off?

Posted by: nickman at December 20, 2005 04:29 PM

I don't think they'll ever do it on their pro machines. The way I can see them getting more consumers interested is by touting it with commercials and also etching it on the iBook or iMac somewhere, but not a sticker. Part of Apple's legacy is design and nobody would want that marred by an Intel inside sticker.

Posted by: The Chez at December 20, 2005 06:19 PM

I wouldn't use the logos of other companies on Apple hardware and I don't expect Apple will do this. The hardware is the sleekest in the industry and no other company should besmirch it. Similarly, no other company should share in any cool-factor runoff.

Upon review of a number of past Apple commercials I have determined that the company emphasized G4 / G5 brand in advertising only for PowerMacs. The processor was never mentioned in ads for consumer desktops or any notebooks. No nod to any other manufacturer was found. It is my contention that this is evidence to suggest that the company would likely use it's own naming scheme for chip generations, leaving focus on the qualities that distinguish a Mac from Windows machines. Apple traditionally focuses on what makes their machines different (better) than the competition, rather than what they share in common.

I would include the Intel logo in reduced size in print ads, but not in television.

Posted by: Dan at December 20, 2005 10:19 PM

Was there an ugly sticker on the Next boxes? I think they would rather go for a startup icon on the screen rather.

Posted by: Nagendra Mishr at December 21, 2005 07:58 AM

Apple image branding is so far ahead of Intel that they aren't even in the same league.

Intel should BEG to be included in any advertising or promotional materials produced by Apple. Intel could not possibly contribute anything to Apples image or "buyability" without a complete revamp of their own branding - which would take a couple of years-if they started today!

The ONLY thing Intel has to offer Apple is their technology.

Posted by: Buz at December 21, 2005 04:42 PM

Simple solution-- put the logo inside the box-- "Intel Inside"

Posted by: Nick at December 21, 2005 06:50 PM

Two well-known companies - each with their own brand. One brand has earned the hearts and minds of the people over many trials and tribulations, essentially going against the grain of commoditization. The other has often muscled their way to reach their might.

In my mind, it is clear which brand should be protected and which one should stand second. If you have not figured it out yet, reach deep down inside and ask yourself, which of these two brands puts a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart? If you still don?? get it, well you must wear a lot of blue??

On the matter of co-marketing, as much respect that I have for Steve Jobs and what he has done to strengthen the Apple brand over the years. It is unfortunate that he did not pick the superior performance brand of CPUs, especially for his loyal audience of talented artists who demand unrivalled performance and proudly evangelize the power of their Apple desktops. The truth over the past year however is that AMD (Intel?? competitor), has undoubtedly beaten Intel on the performance factor, yet the mighty marketing dollar of Intel has sucked Apple into the typical boring tactics that have made the PC world so heavily commoditized and in many cases outright boring.

Why am I so confident of AMD?? superiority? Simple, I work at VoodooPC and we carry both technologies for our high-performance gaming machines. In our minds, AMD is the true performance leader and has been for some time now. Note: all of our major awards this year were Voodoo machines based on AMD technologies.

Bottom line: an Intel sticker will not dilute Apple?? brand. What will affect Apple?? brand is when Apple knowingly does the wrong thing for the wrong reason. In this case, Apple does not need marketing dollars and yet they are being sucked into the inferior technology for the all mighty dollar.

In the long run, it will hurt Apple?? brand when they tout how Intel is the superior technology, when in fact, every gamer on the planet knows that AMD truly has the mightier sword. Unfortunately, the loyal Apple artists will get the back end of the paddle...

Ravi Sood, CEO VoodooPC

Posted by: Ravi Sood at December 30, 2005 06:26 PM

fyi, here's a link to all the current Apple/Mac online ads in the current "Intel inside" campaign. Very derivative of the TV campaign, but give it a look --


Posted by: adverlicious at January 17, 2006 01:15 AM

Why would all that money make you compromise something so well built and known world wide as the best .Every studio in the world that uses Mac knows it's the best unlike PC that crashes all the time . Why make a deal to put Intel in the best machine made ? Did you really need it ? NO!!! If I wanted to buy a PC That's what I'd buy .I will not buy a Mac now I 've already got a PC . So I'll look for a used one or buy a quad processor intel machine and put Tiger X in it and save money . BIG MISTAKE !!

Old Mac Lover

DeWayne Phillips

Posted by: DeWayne Phillips at May 4, 2007 11:30 PM

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