Disguised Prague locations spotted in two new Apple ads

The Czech Republic has become one of Apple's favorite filming locations in recent years.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 11.03.2022 12:19:00 (updated on 11.03.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

American tech giant Apple has launched new products with a series of new ads, some of which feature cleverly disguised Prague locations.

The ad for the new iPhone SE features the curved glass facade of the National Technical Library (NTK) in Prague 6 and a minbus model SOR BN 8.5, which is used by the Prague Public Transit Company. The registration number 2027 can be seen on the front fender, which corresponds to a bus owned by DPP since it was produced in 2011.

Apple has put a disguised Prague into its adverts in the past, using the Czech capital as a generic city set, and this time is no exception. The National Technical Library appears behind CGI-added heavy traffic, a yellow taxi, shop signs in English, and a crosswalk sign with lights saying “Don’t Walk,” also in English. Yellow taxis are common in the United States while lit crossing signs of the type appearing in the ad used to be common.

The red-and-white minibus has also been altered. It has a circular logo saying “City” without specifying which one. The red-and-white coloring, though, is part of Prague Integrated Transit's new branding.

The glass windows of the National Technical Library, rising above the CGI storefronts, show the trademark alternating rectangle pattern. Filming seems to have taken place at the intersection of Studentská and Technická streets. Part of the word “knihovna” (library) can be seen faintly on the left of the screen when the building is visible.

The main actress in the ad, who is playing a racing game on her phone while the bus waits at a red light, is Slovak Judit Bárdos, who appeared in the Slovak film “House” (Dům), the Hungarian film “Sunset” (Soumrak), and the Czech film “Bear With Us” (Chata na prodej). Czech actor Pavel Šimčík can also be seen standing in the bus.

The ad for the Apple iPad Air also has shots from Prague, though they are harder to identify because the ad is very dark. The opening playground seems to be shot at Kaizlovy sady in Prague’s Karlín district. The indoor swimming pool is in Mělník, just north of Prague. Someone can also be seen walking rapidly down a Prague street before waiting at a bus stop.

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It's hard to identify the location with certainty due to the fast and shaky camera work, but a distinctive red rectangular street sign can be seen on the storefront the person passes while leaving a streaky light trail in his wake. The bus stop shelter also has a distinctive Prague design.

This ad is included in the one-hour “Apple Event” that streamed on March 8 to introduce new products for 2022 at 21 minutes into the hour-long YouTube clip of the show.

Apple has filmed ads in Prague before. An ad released in May 2021 showcased a privacy update to iOS 14.5. It started with a person buying a coffee at Kavárna Místo in Prague 6, and ended with a crowd gathered on Rybná Street in Old Town as people tracked the coffee drinker.

An Apple Watch Series 5 ad from 2019 featured shots in the Náměstí Míru metro stop, the Slavia sports complex, and the Velká Amerika quarry near Beroun.

In 2018, an ad for the iPhone XR Liquid Retina showed streets in Vršovice and a pedestrian tunnel in Holešovice, the Vltavska metro stop, the New Stage of the National Theatre, and Strahov Stadium.

The Thanksgiving 2017 ad for the iPhone X was filmed near Old Town Square, Výstaviště in Holešovice, and on the Vyšehrad railway bridge. Two Christmas ads for 2016 were also filmed in the Czech Republic.

Apple isn't the only company favoring Prague as a location for shooting adverts. Last year, Red Bull released an ad with a race car driving down Charles Bridge. The spot caused some controversy as the city objected to the idea, but the Prague 1 district gave the go-ahead.

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