Apple apologises after iPad advert backlash

The tech giant was accused of being ‘tone deaf’ after a new advert for the latest iPad showed creative tools being crushed by a hydraulic press.

Martyn Landi
Friday 10 May 2024 10:08
The newly-released ad promoting Apple’s new iPad Pro has sparked a strong reaction, with many expressing horror at creative tools being crushed (Apple via AP)
The newly-released ad promoting Apple’s new iPad Pro has sparked a strong reaction, with many expressing horror at creative tools being crushed (Apple via AP) (AP)

Apple has apologised for “missing the mark” after a backlash over its latest iPad advert that showed creative tools, including musical instruments and books, being crushed by a hydraulic press.

The video was meant to demonstrate the wide range of creative tools that have been compressed into the latest iPad.

However, the destruction shown in the advert sparked a strong reaction on social media, with a number of high-profile figures expressing their horror at the concept.

Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry

Tor Myhren, Apple's vice president of marketing communications

In a statement released to marketing publication Ad Age, Apple’s vice president of marketing communications, Tor Myhren said: “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. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

The one-minute-long video attempts to show the various creative tools that have been squeezed into the new iPad Pro, which is the thinnest the company has ever made, by showing a wide range of instruments, an arcade gaming machine, books, paint cans, a sculpture and other items being crushed under the press.

It then rises to reveal the new iPad.

However, many critics suggested that rather than symbolising the power of the new device, it actually highlighted how technology is being used to stifle creativity rather than enhance it.

Actor Hugh Grant said the ad showed “the destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley”.

Songwriter Crispin Hunt said the “crushing” of musical instruments “evokes the same primal horrific sacrilege as watching books burn”.

“Surprisingly tone-deaf from Apple, who’ve previously enabled and championed creativity,” he said.

Posting the advert to X, formerly Twitter, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the new iPad Pro said the device had “the most advanced display we’ve ever produced” and highlighted its “incredible power”, adding “just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create”.

However, replies to the post also expressed horror at the visuals of the adverts, with commenters saying it showed unnecessary destruction and a lack of respect for creative equipment.

The criticism comes at a particularly sensitive time, with many in the creative arts sector raising concerns about the impact of technology, and specifically the rise of generative AI, on their work and its potential to take jobs from people.

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