Apple says destructive iPad ad 'missed the mark'

Apple doesn't often make mistakes and rarely apologizes, but its advertising chief said on Thursday that the company had made a mistake in making a commercial for the new iPad that showed an industrial compressor flattening tools for art, music and creativity.

“Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important for us to design products that empower creatives around the world,” said Tor Myhren, the company's vice president of marketing communications, in a statement provided to the publication AdAge . “Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video and we're sorry.”

Mr. Myhren said Apple would no longer air the commercial on TV.

The company faced a barrage of criticism from designers, actors and artists who saw the ad as a metaphor for how Big Tech has profited from their work by squashing or co-opting the artistic tools that humanity has used for centuries .

They found the crushing of a trumpet, a piano, paint and a sculpture particularly unnerving at a time when artists fear that generative artificial intelligence, which can write poetry and create films, could take away their jobs.

Apple intended the announcement to send the opposite message, that its ultra-thin iPad Pro could power a variety of creative tasks that previously required individual tools.

Apple debuted its iPad commercial, called “Crush,” on Tuesday after revealing an update to its tablet lineup. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a post about the X that it was a thin, advanced and powerful device. “Imagine all the things it will be used to create,” he wrote.

The reversal joins a series of rare apologies from Apple over the past 15 years, including one in 2012 from Mr. Cook over the shortcomings of its new Maps app. The app's problems included incorrect driving directions and the wrong location of some landmarks.

Mr Cook's apology for Maps broke with Apple's previous policy of withstanding pressure after mistakes. In 2010, Apple was criticized for releasing an iPhone that dropped calls. Steve Jobs, the company's co-founder and Cook's predecessor, went on the offensive, saying in a press conference that the problem wasn't the phone but the way some customers were holding it.

The company, which for decades has encouraged filmmakers, musicians and artists to use its devices, immediately heard the outcry from that group.

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