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Thursday, January 12, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

New Apple ad catches Intel by surprise

Apple's latest television advertisement, which aired for the first time during the company's keynote presentation at this week's Macworld Expo, reportedly caught Intel by surprise.

The ad, advertising the first Intel iMac, claims that for years Intel's chips have been "trapped inside PCs — dull little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks." Apple's ad goes on to say that the Intel processor will finally be "set free" inside Macs. Intel, however, doesn't share those same sentiments about its other customers.

In a brief interview with CNet News.com's Ina Fried, Intel Vice President Deborah Conrad said: "Never would we characterize our customers that way."

She said that Intel cooperated with Apple for some particulars of the TV spot, but added, "We didn't know what the end result was going to be."

Apple reportedly offered Intel a peek at the final ad, but only right before Tuesday's keynote. "It's probably a good thing that we didn't see them earlier," Conrad said.

Conrad said Intel wouldn't complain if its work with Apple inspires some PC makers to think more creatively. "We certainly hope that this innovation engine kind of picks up and that you do see the beige box makers going, 'You know, maybe we could do something that looks and feels like that.' That would be a good thing, I think, from our perspective," she said.

According to Conrad, it was also Apple's idea to make Intel CEO Paul Otellini hop into a bunny suit.

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Steve Jobs and Paul Otellini