Apple says it's sorry for smushing musical instruments and art supplies to advertise its latest iPad

 An arcade machine being crushed in Apple's controversial iPad Pro ad.
An arcade machine being crushed in Apple's controversial iPad Pro ad.

After making a lot of people very mad at it, Apple has apologized for a new advertisement and says it's scrapping plans to air the minute-long spot on TV.

The ad, called "Crush," is meant to emphasize the thinness of Apple's new iPad Pro, and features a pile of media devices and art-making tools, including cameras, a piano, and paint cans, being squashed into a thin film by an inexorably descending metal plate.

I suspect the ad was partially inspired by videos of hydraulic presses crushing everyday objects that are popular on video platforms like TikTok, and I bet it would've gone over better if the woman who does those hydraulic press reaction videos were in the corner saying "absolutely not, get it away," but I'm afraid Ayamé P is nowhere to be seen.

The video was tweeted by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday, and was immediately and widely dunked on. Rather than 'look how thin we made all this stuff,' many saw the destruction of instruments and art supplies as disrespectful to artists and their crafts at best, and at worst, unintentional evidence of Apple's true ambitions to optimize the arts into a smooth colorless paste, or perhaps an ode to anti-creative forces like generative AI.

My favorite objection to the ad, just as a piece of writing, came from former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who worked at Valve for a time. Sounding much like an RPG character urging the hero to action, Varoufakis wrote on X: "Tim Cook has just revealed his techno-feudal urge to crush everything of cultural value in his quest for power. It is time for humanity to reprimand him. To boycott this rotten Apple. Starting with the new iPad, the birth of which Cook chose to announce in this grotesque manner."

(Varoufakis happens to have a new book out called Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism, if you'd like an elaboration on that thought.)

Personally, in this instance, think Apple meant to show that the iPad Pro is thin, and for whatever reason failed to realize that crushing stuff people like would upset them. But whether it was a simple blunder or a glimpse at behind-the-scenes "Saturn Devouring His Son" vibes at Apple, the ad is now toast.

"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 VP of marketing communications Tor Myhren told 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."

According to Ad Age, the ad won't be aired on television as previously planned.

Aside from making computers you can't repair, Apple has gained a reputation for running iconic ads, including its famous Ridley Scott-directed "1984" ad, the dancing iPod silhouettes, and its Mac vs PC campaign. Here's another for the list, and although it'll go down as more infamous than famous, I can't say I'm not aware that the new iPad Pro is thin. It's 5.1mm, if you were wondering.