Apple Crushed Old School Tech With an iPad in New Ad. People Are Pissed

  • Outraged users on social media criticized Apple’s insensitivity to traditional artistic tools.

  • Apple’s new ad has horrible timing, given that AI poses a threat to artists in various sectors worldwide.

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“Today, we’re not only going to push the limits of what you can do on iPad. We’re going to crush them.” That's how Apple executive John Ternus introduced the company's new "Crush!" ad for the 2024 iPad Pro at the "Let Loose" event earlier this week. In the ad, a giant hydraulic press crushes different objects and devices. The message it wants to convey is clear: The new iPad Pro can replace them all.

The ad's approach was unusually aggressive for Apple, which typically delivers clean and careful messages. This year, it looks like the company decided to take a risk, but its decision is not without consequences. Apple's bold new ad has pissed a lot of people off.

The message presented in the ad isn't new. It's also been used to describe the effect of PCs and smartphones. In fact, there are two examples of how this message has been reused over the years:

The first one is a Reddit post from 6 years ago:

The second example is even more striking. In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, designer Linus Ekenstam claimed that Apple's new ad is a copy of a 2008 LG ad.

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Although this message isn't new, users have flooded social media platforms with criticisms of Apple’s iPad ad. On X, some expressed their concern about how the ad portrays the idea that “technology is killing everything we ever found joy in” as a good thing. The actor Hugh Grant also posted a message on his account on the ad, stating: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

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One user criticized the ad for “crushing things we love, things we played with, to produce an identical black box. Showing expression, nostalgia, craft being destroyed at this pivotal moment in AI, couldn’t be any more tone deaf.” Others shared similar concerns, stating that “celebrating the destruction of artistic tools & creations [is] appalling." In the last case, the user went on to say that the ad’s aesthetic was “fascist.”

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Notably, some Japanese users were highly critical of Apple's ad. One X user compiled a list of complaints, which included claims that Apple had “destroyed all the creative tools and effort of humans. Worst. Commercial. Ever.”

Other users emphasized that “we Japanese have a way of life that values people, things, and works of art.” Designer Sebastiaan de With noted that in Japan, the word “Tsukumogami” expresses the idea that creative tools have a spirit of their own.

Apple probably didn't realize that the ad could have such an effect. Interestingly, channels that feature objects being destroyed are very popular on YouTube. For example, the well-known "Will It Blend?" channel uses a blender to destroy various objects. Over on TikTok, there are others like "HPC Official", which uses a hydraulic press crush different things.

As mentioned before, Apple’s recent proposal is not a novel one, but it may not have come at the best time. Artists and craftspeople are seeing their jobs and creations more threatened than ever because of the emergence of generative AI models. This message contributes to the new vision of a world where technology not only replaces the artist, but also replaces their tools.

While some users viewed the idea positively, it hasn't pleased many. Apple hasn't responded to the criticism. Its "Crush!" ad on YouTube currently has comments disabled.

Image | Apple

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