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New Samsung ad is all about Apple’s iPhone throttling mess

Months after the controversy made headlines and angered consumers, Samsung is only now getting around to trolling Apple for throttling iPhones. A new commercial tells the familiar tale of many Samsung ads: an iPhone user gradually becomes so fed up with Apple’s phone that they ultimately make the switch to the latest Galaxy device, which in this case is the Galaxy S9.

The minute-long spot aggressively hammers on Apple’s decision to throttle performance of iPhones containing older batteries. Our tortured iPhone owner is too slow to pull up her boarding pass in the Wallet app. (Who waits until they’re right in front of the TSA agent to do that?) The TV app takes a few extra seconds to load her in-flight entertainment. Then there’s the Uber car mix-up that occurs while it’s pouring outside.

These problems stemming from Apple’s throttling eventually lead the iPhone owner to make an abrupt stop at the local Apple Store for help. The employee notes she can disable the performance management option to restore fast performance, but this comes with the risk of her smartphone randomly powering down. (The “Battery throttling!” line that follows has to be the most absurd part of this whole ad. Who says that?) “Or, you can just upgrade it,” he says.

Somehow the fake Apple employee fails to mention the best option: replacing the battery. Handing over $29 probably would’ve rectified the situation and alleviated this person’s many frustrations for less money than any new phone upgrade. It would’ve given new life to her iPhone 6 — as much new life as an iPhone 6 can exhibit in 2018, that is. Instead, Samsung’s commercial understandably ends with someone buying the latest, greatest Samsung phone and reveling in immense satisfaction after replacing their iPhone.

Okay, fine. It’s an ad after all. By the end, the notch haircut that pokes fun at the iPhone X (and now many of Samsung’s Android competitors, I suppose) makes a return. Both ads feature the same song, so this is clearly something of a sequel to that original Note 8 spot.

Several of Samsung’s past ads chastising Apple have been pretty great. The recent Note one was better because it told a fair story of Samsung being a step ahead of Apple’s design over a few generations of phones. And I think these direct, aggressive ads have played a big role in Samsung’s mobile success. But this feels both late and a little petty. There’s not much creativity to it. Here’s the commercial that started all this off back in the era of the Galaxy S2:

Look, I’ve owned and genuinely enjoyed many Samsung smartphones over the years. But for this to be the company chiding Apple over slow software? Or anything having to do with batteries? Come on! Only in the last couple years have smartphone processors finally reached a point where they can run Samsung’s software smoothly and maintain that same responsiveness after a few months of use. Before that, factory resets were a routine thing if you wanted to maintain optimal performance and keep everything feeling quick.

Apple screwed up and wasn’t nearly transparent enough about the way it slowed down phones until a rising controversy forced it to be. But 2014’s iPhone 6 still runs pretty well when Apple isn’t mucking with its speed — even if, yes, a modern flagship from Samsung handily trounces it.