Science and Tech


Apple's new iPad ad strikes a chord with creatives. Now the company is apologizing

The ad showed a hydraulic press crushing everything from musical instruments to books to unveil the new product.
In this image taken from a video advertisement, a hydraulic press crushes an array of creative instruments.
Posted at 9:31 PM, May 09, 2024

What do you get when you equate the whole history of creativity with the future of technology? Unsurprisingly, a crowd of angry creatives.

That's what happened after Apple released an ad called "Crush" for its upcoming iPad Pro —and now the company is apologizing for it.

The minute-long ad, which Apple CEO Tim Cook posted on social media Tuesday, shows a hydraulic press physically crushing nearly every form of creativity you can think of: Musical instruments, books, paints, sculptures, cameras, arcade game pieces and more explode under the pressure while Sonny and Cher's "All I Ever Need Is You" plays in the background.

In the end, the Cook-described thinnest product Apple has ever created is revealed, within it the "most advanced display we've ever produced, with the incredible power of the m4 chip."

"Just imagine all the things I'll be used to create," Cook said in his post alongside the ad.

It's an obvious message: This skinny device has the capacity to perform all of your creative activities without leaving your hand. But the destructive yet true message was interpreted as tone deaf in communities already trying to protect themselves from the encroaching technological industry.

Actor Hugh Grant wrote in a post on X, "The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley." Director and writer Asif Kapadia wrote, "It is the most honest metaphor for what tech companies do to the arts, to artists musicians, creators, writers, filmmakers: squeeze them, use them, not pay well, take everything then say it's all created by them."

Other social media users said the ad "lacks any respect for creative equipment and mocks the creators," called it "heartbreaking, uncomfortable, and egotistic," or that it "convinced me I need less technology in my life."

And although it remains on Cook's social media, Apple's vice president of marketing communications, Tor Myhren, told AdAge Thursday that the company was sorry after realizing it "missed the mark" with the video, which will no longer run on TV.

"Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad," Myhren said.

It's not the first time an Apple iPad ad has drawn criticism. In 2018, similar ire arose from its commercial showing a kid asking, "What's a computer?"

The new iPad, unveiled on Tuesday at Apple's headquarters, comes amid a deepening slump in the tech giant's iPhone sales. That means it's likely depending on the product and the latest operating system to drive growth, but time will tell if the ad will be a detriment to that goal.