Where Are All The Billboards For the New iPad?


Two weeks after the launch of the new iPad, this iPad 2 billboard is still up. This is the first time in years that Apple hasn't updated its signage to feature the new product. Photo: Leander Kahney

Whenever Apple launches a major new product, massive billboards usually go up within days. I know this, because my commute along San Francisco’s 101 freeway passes three giant billboards on the way into the city.

Year after year, I’ve seen the ads go up within days of the new product’s launch. Last year, ads for the iPad 2 were posted almost immediately after the device’s introduction by Steve Jobs.

Thing is, those same iPad 2 billboards are still there. Two weeks after the launch of the iPad 3, the billboards along 101 are still advertising the old iPad 2.

It seems to be the same situation across the country. We’ve been talking about this for days, and no one on the Cult of Mac staff has seen a outdoor ad for the new iPad.

What does it mean?

The lack of iPad 3 billboards strikes me as highly unusual. I can’t remember another major Apple product that wasn’t immediately advertised with a nationwide outdoor campaign. Going back years, billboards for iPods, iPhones and iPads went up within days of those devices’ launches. It’s easy to notice this in a city like San Francisco because Apple’s ads are everywhere: on buses, trains, bus shelters, billboards and the sides of buildings.

The new iPad was launched on March 16, but the ads for the old iPad are still up two weeks later.

Apple is advertising the retina-display iPad on TV and in magazines. I’ve seen lots TV ads for the new iPad. Apple certainly isn’t cutting back on advertising. The company spent $933 million in 2011, up from $691 million in 2010 and $501 million in 2009, according to Apple’s latest 10-K SEC filing.

Others have noticed the lack of new iPad advertising too.

“Apple Store on 14th Street. Looks like they didn’t plan ahead and replace the iPad 2 billboard with the new 3rd generation iPad,” said the photographer who snapped this picture of an iPad billboard in New York. In fact, all the photos on Flickr that match a search for “iPad billboard,” return photos of iPad 2 billboards.

Independently, AdAge has also noted the trend. And so has Barak Kassar, founder of digital branding agency Rassak in San Francisco.

It may be trite to say this, but it’s hard to imagine Steve Jobs standing for this. When Jobs was in charge, billboard ads went up immediately. Are things slipping at Apple? Or is this intentional? After all, the iPad 2 is still on sale. Perhaps Apple thinks it’s a good idea to keep advertising it?

Apple has not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Has anyone spotted billboards for the new iPad? If so, please send a picture to @cultofmac via Twitter .

Does the absence of outdoor ads for the new iPad mean anything? Photo: Leander Kahney.
Reader Branden Dae just snapped this picture of a building-sized iPad 2 ad still up in Dallas. https://t.co/fiYNOLzd –
Here's the iPad 2 billboard that's still atop Apple's store in New York's Meatpacking district. If any billboard was advertising the new iPad, you'd think it'd be this one. Photo by thebiblioholic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thebiblioholic/6842866712/


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.