Apple pulls new iPad ad following backlash and issues apology

iPad Pro Crush! ad
(Image credit: Apple)

The buzz around the new iPad Pro has been mostly positive, with users excited about the raw power offered by the M4 chip and the new tandem OLED display. However, during the announcement, Apple aired a seemingly innocent "Crush!" commercial that has caused an uproar — so much so that Apple has now apologized for the ad.

In the commercial, a hydraulic press descends upon artistic creations. It starts crushing musical instruments and other pieces of art, which was probably meant to play upon the social media trend of seeing how things will crush under a press. Just like those videos, once the press reaches paint, a smattering of colors explodes all over. 

When the press reaches the bottom, the entire human artistic experience has been crushed. 

The press, having finished its job, begins to rise up. Instead of what was there before, only an iPad Pro remains, implying that the tablet can replace everything that was just crushed by the hydraulic press. It's a visually pleasing commercial with lots of colors and a plot twist at the end, with the iPad emerging from the destruction.

I thought nothing of it during the iPad reveal event other than, "That was pretty neat." But it appears that I didn't read the room very well. With thousands of jobs in artistic fields being threatened by AI (including mine at some point), it seems that implying technology can replace human artists' tools is a touchy subject. 

And Apple has taken note: "Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world," Apple vice president of market communications Tor Myhren said in a statement provided to Ad Age. "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."

Bloomberg reports that Apple has dropped plans to air the ad on television.

Apple's apology comes after a few celebrities have weighed in, as spotted by Deadline,. Hugh Grant took to X to say the commercial is the "destruction of human experience." Justine Bateman responded to Apple CEO Tim Cook's post featuring the commercial by saying, "Truly, what is wrong with you?"

Meanwhile, Ed Solomon of Men in Black and Bill & Ted fame, implied what he feels Apple is trying to say with its ad, "Who needs human life and everything that makes it worth living? Dive into this digital simulacrum and give us your soul. Sincerely, Apple." 

Alex Cranz of The Verge said they immediately thought, "Oh, this was not the right time for this commercial." That seems to be a common sentiment. It doesn't seem that Apple was being malicious with its ad, but we can understand the negative reaction. 

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.