Samsung may be running Apple close in the smartphone and tablet war, but Apple may have found one battle that it can't lose: the battle to be most American.

Apple's 'Designed by Apple in California' advertising campaign is the latest in a series of moves the company has made to remind the world that it's an American company. These come at a time when Apple has come under fire for locating its profits overseas and consequently minimising its tax liabilities in the US, and for basing its manufacturing in the Far East, where questions have been raised over the labour conditions and environmental impact of factory operations.

After talking up the idea of manufacturing the next Mac Pro within the US, and then naming its latest desktop OS after a California surfing spot (instead of the traditional big cat), Apple has rammed home its patriotic credentials in the most obvious way yet: with an advertising campaign.

The series of adverts, which started to appear around the time of WWDC 2013, focus on the Apple design ethos rather than the products themselves, and appear to suggest that Apple's uncompromising quality control is down to the fact that its design teams are American (well, US-based anyway; Sir Jony Ive is of course an Essex boy).

"We're engineers and artists," the ad says, "Craftsmen and inventors. We sign our work. You may rarely look at it. But you'll always feel it. This is our signature. And it means everything. Designed by Apple in California."

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Apple California advert

Our first problem. With this advert. Is the number of full stops. (Although all Apple watchers have grown used to that by now.) And the second is the shocking apostrophe crime in the third paragraph:

Apostrophe crime


Apostrophe crime


Apostrophe crime


But overall the advert makes a lot of sense. California is a wonderful place for a company to come from: it signifies free-thinking creativity, liberalism and sunny optimism (in the UK just as much as in the States). But it also represents the Silicon Valley legacy: the fact that Apple was in at the ground floor of the American computer revolution. And of course it ties Apple back to its roots at a time when it's increasingly seen as a litigious global corporate superpower.

The adverts, unsurprisingly, have been most visible in North America, although some have made it as far as Canada: 9to5Mac reports on a print copy of the spot appearing in the Toronto Star. Presumably Canadian readers are thought to prefer US-sourced products to South Korean alternatives. The adverts are also visible on the 'Designed by Apple' section of Apple's website, which is present on the UK version of the site too.

(And on the German page, funnily enough - where the subtly different phrasing of the translation frees us from apostrophe hell. But we couldn't get it to work on the .kr Korean version, which runs in Samsung's home territory. If any readers speak Korean, let us know if you can find a 'Designed by Apple' page on

Follow David Price | Macworld UK