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A San Francisco highway near Apple Park wasn't pretty enough, so it got deleted

John Ternus was on a new BART railcar, but not everything Apple showed outside was real

Apple's "Let Loose" event showed commuters looking at their iPads instead of the scenery — but what they missed was a view of San Francisco's Bay Area that doesn't exist.

It sounds like something Apple Maps would have done when it launched, but this time it was deliberate. Apple quite painstakingly altered its footage of San Francisco used in its "Let Loose" event in order to create a prettier shot.

Viewers may have suspected that the Apple's John Ternus was enthusing about the iPad from within a set instead of a real train. But the panning shot across the country from Apple Park to that commuter train was definitely fake — or at least one key part of it was.

Aerial view of a town with distinct residential and commercial areas split by a highway.
Left: Apple's version of the Bay Area. Right: how it really looks, complete with non-photogenic highway (Source: SFGate)

As ever, Apple's video production is exquisitely well produced, and a real demonstration of how other technology companies fall flat in their presentations. In this case, one part of that was in showing what appeared to be a perfectly-timed drone shot of a train making its way both through San Francisco and through the middle of the frame.

But local publication SFGate wasn't fooled and said there was an "instant tell" that Bay Area had been doctored. As seen in the event, the train gently cuts through a beautiful tree-lined route — but in reality, Apple had to erase the I-280 to make it look like that.

Reportedly, several blocks of Oceanview homes were also digitally removed. Others homes were replaced by mansions.

On the other hand, Apple was praised for its realism as the scene was shot using one of the Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) new railcars. And John Ternus had to grip a pole for balance, like a real commuter.

To give Apple credit, they did this CGI work extremely well. Apple is now always doing CG well — if not always to everyone's taste, as the recent "Crush" ad has shown.