At today’s product event, Apple stumbled backwards in time by trashing the computing devices used by hundreds of millions of would-be customers — 600 million, in fact.

“The majority of people who come to an iPad Pro are coming from a PC,” declared Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, while introducing the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in Cupertino. This is “designed to appeal to Windows users,” Schiller pronounced with affectionate disdain for those not yet converted to the Mac/iOS religion.

Schiller continued his enthusiastic contempt by citing an unsourced statistic that there are “600 million PCs in use over 5 years old.” And, naturally, he suggested that these beloved personal computers ought to be tossed in favor of Apple’s new $599 tablet.

Schiller’s macho rhetoric was unseemly and low-brow when compared to the “Hello, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.” ad campaign featuring Justin Long as a Mac and John Hodgman as a PC. The fun and good-natured commercials aired from 2006 to 2009. They also led some people to question whether Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were the inspiration for Long’s character, hip and casual, and Hodgman’s character, uncool and nerdy, respectively.

A couple of years later, even as they remained competitors, Jobs and Gates described their longtime friendship and revealed their feelings for one another at a 2011 conference. Speaking of Gates, Jobs quoted from a Beatles song, “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”

The same year, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak declared the Mac vs PC debate irrelevant. “You don’t have to be in the Macintosh versus PC side of the world anymore,” Wozniak said. “We’ve broken free of that.”

Yet, five years later, here was Schiller speaking with gusto about selling tablets to people who use PCs. He termed the new iPad Pro “the ultimate replacement for all those old PCs in the world.” Not exactly a compelling sales pitch.

Today’s Windows-bashing was a far cry from the gentler era captured by the “Hello, I’m a Mac” commercials:

 

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