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Apple says your next computer is not a computer. Excuse me, what?

Why does Apple continue with this?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
iPad Pro with keyboard

iPad Pro

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I thought Apple was over it.

I thought Apple was over itself.

Somehow, though, the company can't help itself.

It can't help crowing when it ought to be knowing what the world has become. We're all fluid these days, so why, Apple, must you be so rigid? And so, well, uncertain about your rigidity.

Yet again, you see, Cupertino has returned to a subject it's been obsessing about for too many years.

To wit: Is the iPad a computer or not? Six years ago, Apple insisted the Pro was. Six years ago, Microsoft couldn't help laughing at that.

Four years ago, Apple kept on insisting. But two years ago, there was Apple rather indecisive, claiming the iPad Pro was sort of a computer and sort of not.

The whole thing seemed quite strange. After all, the iPhone is a computer. Every gadget, in its way, is a computer, so why keep harping on that the iPad Pro has somehow attained computer status when it previously had none?

Don't real people just refer to these things as iPhone, iPad, and MacBook?

I thought -- or, perhaps hoped -- that Apple was done with these semantic antics.

But then came the launch of the latest iPad Air and, at its expansive, expensive event, Apple was comparing it to a Windows laptop. There was still, then, this odd inferiority complex.

And then the company emitted an ad that made me bow my head and mutter bad lines from the Da Vinci Code.

The scene is a class election.

The music is the utterly glorious This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us by the sublime Sparks.

This was all auguring well.

A young man and a young woman were vying to be elected to this position of great power. They clearly have wealthy parents, as they both have brand new iPad Airs.

Gosh, are those iPad Airs useful for creating election material. I'm astonished adult politicians haven't caught on. (Mind you, when do they ever really catch on?)

These two young enterprising political stars avail themselves of the Apple Pencil -- very rich parents, these -- the Magic Keyboard and even AirDrop their artworks with ease.

They're both so very desperate to win. What can the electors, and the people who made the ad, do? Choose the man or the woman?

I won't spoil the ending for you, though I fear you'll have strong views about it.

Also: iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2021): What's the difference?

I'm too busy, you see, trying to forget the words that emerge onto the screen at the end of this oeuvre: "Your Next Computer Is Not A Computer."

Why, Apple? Why?

Was there nothing more interesting to say at the end?

Couldn't you have made a joke instead? For example: "iPad Air. You Next Step To Power."

Couldn't you have even mocked a rival? How about: "The iPad Air. Microsoft wishes it had this level of support."

But no.

Your next computer is not a computer. Unless you buy a computer. Or something that doesn't look like a computer, but acts like one.

Or something that could be a laptop -- if you spend more money on a fancy keyboard -- but doesn't look like a laptop.

Or an iPad Pro. That's a computer, right?

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