First, Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI) called Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) users iSheep. Now, it's payback time. The Mac maker has released an ad that comes dangerously close to mocking those not hip enough to hop aboard the iTrain.

"If you don't have an iPhone, well, you don't have an iPhone." And, you're not cool. In fact, you're a loser. Cue awful junior high school memories. I'm not in with the hip crowd! Gaaaahhhhh!

It'd be insulting if I weren't already an iPhone owner. Actually, you know what? It's still insulting. And more than a little presumptuous. Apple is acting as if my 3G somehow defines me.


Look, Steve, I love your products. But I also run Windows 7 on my Mac and do most of my communicative work using Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) cloud computing tools. The Mac OS happens to be my preferred computing environment, that's all.

To be fair, Motorola's ad was every bit as mocking and presumptuous as Apple's infamous "I'm a Mac" ads that skewered Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Windows. The difference is that Moto lacks the market validation to play snooty with users and get away with it. Apple doesn't have that problem.

Even so, there's a risk to attacking Android in this way. By tying the iPhone's edge to apps and the App Store, Apple is ceding control of its competitive positioning to developers who are piling onto the Android bandwagon.

Check the numbers. In November of 2009, there were just 17,000 apps in the Android Market. Today, reports differ on how many apps are active, but reports more than 250,000 accumulated apps for Android. In December, Apple confirmed hosting more than 300,000 active apps in the App Store, but clearly the gap has narrowed.

And while Apple has spent ample effort making the iOS design clean and the App Store secure and easy to use, it would be folly to claim Android doesn't have advantages.

Newly released tests conducted by site acceleration specialist Blaze Software found that Google's Nexus S smartphone running Android 2.3 was 50% faster at loading common Web pages than an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3, Computerworld reports.

Apple's tone is understandable. Not only did Moto strike first, but mockery has also worked in the past. Why not go with what you know? Still, with Android surging, this latest iPhone ad feels like an odd mixture of overreaching and denial.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about the new iPhone ad, the apps arms race, and whether Android offers a compelling alternative to the iOS using the comments box below.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft and has written Apple puts. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is too big for the Ad Man.