That much-maligned Apple ad might be creepier than it seems

If you haven't yet seen Apple's new and already infamous commercial, the one in which a giant mechanical compactor violently crushes a pile of musical instruments, books, sculptures, art supplies and toys, turning them into an iPad Pro, then Apple executives probably they are happy. They saw the headlines: “Apple's iPad ad is terrible”; “Because the stench from that bad iPad ad won't go away”; “The advert for Apple's new iPad is a beautiful metaphor for the end of the world.” They saw the mocking posts on social media. They know Hugh Grant it weighed. (“The destruction of the human experience,” she wrote on X. “Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”) In response, Apple did what it rarely does: it apologized. “We missed the mark with this video and we are sorry,” one of the vice presidents said. Apple will not broadcast the commercial on TV. He wants to move forward and he wants you to do the same.

But I can't move on and I'm sure I'm not alone. The ad, titled “Crush!” – it's just too good. I don't mean to say it's intelligent, wise, or edifying. I mean, like many Apple products, it was clearly made with meticulous attention to detail and no expense spared. The slow-motion, high-resolution focus on the destruction of each object—the way we watch closely as they bend before breaking, as if resisting the inevitable—has a visceral effect that's hard to shake. Electronics company LG made essentially the same commercial in 2008, as an ad for its Renoir camera phone, but it was missing that Apple touch. Unfortunately for Apple, “Crush!” achieves every ad creator's goal: it sticks in the mind's eye.

Just as numbing is the real-world backstory it implies. Picture it: a team of highly paid, experienced professionals spent months perfecting a strategy. Ideas were pitched, selected, refined, ridiculed. Finally, after countless steps, a winner emerged, and somehow it was This. They could have depicted all that equipment happily shrunken and crammed into an iPad, waiting for creative fun. Instead, they just tore everything down. Has anyone pointed out that people are increasingly wary of the impact of tech companies on creative professions? That people have soured on Silicon Valley's apparent desire to monetize human creativity in as many ways as possible, from extractive streaming deals to collecting human-made art as AI training material? Nobody understood how Bad this would seem? It's not just that the ad depicts a car crash: it's that the people who put so much work and money into something so off-putting seem to have thought they were orchestrating a parade.

It was not like this a long time ago technology companies could advertise by telling us about new possibilities. Whatever their flaws, they were indeed injecting a real novelty into the human experience: suddenly you could carry thousands of songs in your pocket, take a decent photo on your phone and share it immediately, make a video call to someone on the other side of the world . planet. It wasn't difficult for the ads to strike an optimistic tone; they simply showed people that they use new products in their daily lives and have fun doing it.

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