Apple apologizes for its controversial iPad Pro ad

Apple's ad for its refreshed iPad Pro tablet.

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but an ad by Apple for its thinnest-ever iPad has turned into a massive headache for the company.

The 68-second “Crush!” ad for the iPad Pro debuted with the unveiling of the new tablet on Tuesday. It shows a large number of objects such as musical instruments, books, and cans of paint being crushed by a hydraulic press in an apparent effort to demonstrate how it’s packed a huge amount of creative potential into an ultra-slim digital device.

Since Apple CEO Tim Cook posted the ad (below) on his X account, it’s received more than 15,000 comments, many of them criticizing the tech giant for the way it chose to promote its latest top-end iPad.

The company is clearly feeling the heat as it’s now apologized for the ad. Speaking to Ad Age this week, Tor Myhren, Apple’s vice president of marketing communications, said: “Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. 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.”

One commenter on Cook’s social media post wrote: “You destroyed all the creative tools and effort of humans. Worst. Commercial. Ever,” while another said that the ad “effectively convinced me I need less technology in my life.”

British actor Hugh Grant has also waded in, describing the ad as “the destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley,” in what seems like a dig at tech firms’ fondness for generative AI tools that replace human creativity.

It’s rare for Apple’s ad creators to mess up in this way, and the company will be keen to quickly put this gaffe behind it. Apple has now confirmed that it won’t be running the controversial ad on TV, though it remains on its YouTube channel, where it’s now racked up more than a million views.