Apple’s New OS to Skirt Current Ad Campaign

This weekend, Apple Computer will begin hawking its newest OS release — despite the fact that it doesn’t support many of the features seemingly promised in the company’s current advertising.

Many analysts are pegging the company’s Mac OS X as the company’s “make-or-break” offering — following slumping sales of its Power Macintosh and iMac computers. It’s also been called the most radical revamping of the Mac operating system since it first debuted.

“Mac OS X is the most important software from Apple since the original Macintosh operating system in 1984 that revolutionized the entire industry,” said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs in a statement. “We can’t wait for Mac users around the globe to experience its stability, power and elegance.”

Yet while Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple is betting a lot on a $129 software package, several of the features touted in the company’s current ad campaign are curiously missing from the new OS.

The “Rip. Mix. Burn.” campaign, which was designed by TBWA/Chiat/Day (which also devised Apple’s award-winning “1984” spot) aimed to highlight the Mac’s ability to burn custom music CDs using Apple software. Sixty-second television spots featuring musical artists like Barry White and George Clinton debuted March 6 on major broadcast and cable networks, touting the features.

But strangely, the ads apparently refer to an earlier operating system, Mac OS 9. The new product will actually not support the ability to burn CDs and DVDs using Apple’s software.

Stranger yet, in Mac OS X’s pre-launch marketing materials, Apple is hyping a digital music program that ships with the system — a program that the company unveiled this year as a way for Mac users to create their own CDs and DVDs. Under the new OS, though, those creation features are not available.

Apple did not disclose the amount it spent on the “Rip. Mix. Burn” campaign, but dropping the CD and DVD burning capability is clearly an unusual move for a company whose products are largely positioned toward artists and professional designers.

Apple spokespeople declined to comment on the company’s marketing strategy, but said that the OS and the program, called iTunes, would be updated later in the year with burning functionality.

Additionally, in an admitted workaround for the current situation, Apple said it’s going to offer Mac OS 9 for free with a purchase of Mac OS X. Users of the new product would have to restart their computers into the earlier operating system to burn CDs and DVDs.

Spokespeople from TBWA/Chiat/Day’s Playa Del Rey, Calif. office also did not return calls.

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