Ellen apologises for iPhone spoof

22:14, May 06 2010
ellen iphone ad
A screenshot from Ellen Degeneres' spoof iPhone ad.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has become the latest casualty of the hyper-vigilant image police at Apple HQ.

DeGeneres apologised on air this week for a spoof iPhone commercial that she ran on her daily talk show poking fun at her inability to send text messages from an iPhone.

Click here to see video.

She said the spoof did not impress Apple when it aired this week and that she had since been contacted by the company.

"The people at Apple didn't think it was so funny," she said on her show. "They thought I made it look like it's hard to use and I just want to say I'm sorry if I made it look like the iPhone was hard to use."

She went on to say that the device was not hard to use, and that it was one of the few devices she did not have trouble using for the purposes of text messaging.

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"Everybody at Apple, Steve Jobs, Mr Macintosh, I apologise. I'm sorry," she said.

Tech industry commentators have responded with claims the company has become overzealous in defending its name.

"Maybe it's time for the folks over at Apple HQ to take themselves a little less seriously," wrote the Christian Science Monitor.

"It seems that Apple doesn't like - or simply doesn't understand - the extremely complex, layered satire presented on the Ellen Degeneres Show," said the Gizmodo technology blog.

New York Times blogger Nick Bilton wrotes: "Many consumers - in opinions expressed on blogs and websites - see Apple as a haughty and bullying company."

While he points out that the negative press hasn't hurt Apple's sales, he added "as more options for competing products appear in the marketplace, if the company doesn't get its image back on track, that tide could change".

Some Gizmodo readers also expressed their disappointment.

"I was watching Ellen as this aired in Australia. I honestly felt myself liking Apple a little less, which is happening fairly often lately. I 'was' a total Apple fan boy, only ever having owned Apple computers over the past 12 years. Please Apple, stop becoming a bunch of turds and win my total devotion back," wrote one.

Apple as a company is notoriously secretive, and has a reputation for managing its public image vigilantly.

Last month the police raided the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, who had acquired a misplaced prototype of the next-generation iPhone and published details about the phone in the technology blog prior to its launch.

He returned the device after receiving a legal letter from Apple, but, soon after, a computer crime taskforce searched his house and car and seized computers, several other gadgets, and financial documents. When Chen arrived home, police had broken open the front door and made him put his hands behind his head before searching him for weapons.

Although Apple has not been officially associated with the search, a number of news organisations have asked a judge to unseal the search warrant affidavit used to raid Chen's home. Court documents listing the legal reasons for searches are usually made public within 10 days, but the affidavit supporting the raid remains sealed.

Following the Gizmodo investigation, comedian Jon Stewart ran a segment on Apple in The Daily Show: "It wasn't meant to be this way. Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one, but now Apple is busting down doors in Palo Alto, while Bill Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes," he said.

While the company is making waves for guarding the reputation of its iPhone, bloggers and Apple enthusiasts are making their own very unique assessments of the iPad - the latest Apple device to roll out the door - by microwaving it, skateboarding on it, and even building it into kitchen walls.

Sydney Morning Herald