Apple’s dumbest ad yet?

I’m trying to be nicer to Apple. But while I was watching my favorite soccer club embarrass itself for the nth time this year, I saw this intelligence-insulting ad:

Technically, of course, this is correct. Apple products don’t get PC viruses, in the same way that dogs don’t get cat viruses. But that’s a manipulative rhetorical trick. Apple devices are emphatically not immune to viruses and malware.

In fact, according to Kaspersky Labs, Mac-targeting malware rose 3,600 percent between 2010 and 2014, and in the years since Mac malware has continued to spread. Last year saw Apple devices fall victim to an exploit that allowed hackers to record users’ voices, collect their passwords, read their messages, and track their locations. The exploit was in the wild for over a month before Apple discovered and patched it. Earlier this month, experts uncovered more password-stealing Mac malware. And security experts seem to agree that Macs are far from immune.

“MacOS is just as vulnerable as any other [operating system],” Cybereason researcher Amit Serper said in a presentation last week. “More and more threats are coming to Mac, and they’re easy to exploit with social engineering.”

…that makes this ad dangerously misleading.

To be clear, it’s true that Apple devices are generally less vulnerable to viruses, thanks in part to Apple’s built-in security measures and in part to the fact that more people use Windows and Android, which makes malware-writers more likely to target those systems.

But I still hate this commercial. It’s part of a new four-part ad campaign Apple launched last week that aims to demonstrate how the iPad Pro can solve real users’ problems. That makes this ad dangerously misleading: buying an iPad Pro will not make your system immune to viruses. And because this ad implies that “nasty viruses” aren’t a problem for iPad Pro users, not-so-tech-savvy consumers may be tricked into thinking that it’s safe for them to let their guard down.

The ad implies that iPad Pro users don’t need to be concerned about cybersecurity. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. If you’re reading this site you probably know that and have taken steps to protect your Apple devices, but plenty of Apple consumers aren’t that tech savvy. That’s why they buy Apple: Apple makes it simple. This ad makes me worry that some of those users won’t bother switching on optional security and privacy settings or taking other steps to protect themselves, because now that they’ve got an iPad they don’t need to worry about “nasty viruses” anymore. That’s a dangerous assumption.

To me, what’s most frustrating about this ad is that Apple could have bragged about its superior security without misleading consumers into thinking it’s fine for them to let their guard down on an Apple. Macs and iOS devices are generally less vulnerable than their PC brethren, and Apple has done some great things with its device security. Why not focus on that, instead of running this misleading “No PC viruses” ad as though that was some sort of accomplishment rather than a fundamental reality of operating system incompatibility?

This is an opinion piece.

This post Apple’s dumbest ad yet? appeared first on Tech in Asia.

via Penn Olson

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