Apple criticised for "crushing the symbols of human creativity" in iPad hydraulic press advert

Apple iPad advert

Creatives have described an advert for technology brand Apple’s recently unveiled iPad Pro, which shows a hydraulic press crushing instruments, desks, games and paint, as “killing everything we ever found joy in”.

Released to promote the unveiling of the updated iPad Pro, the advert was highly criticised on social media for showing the tools used by creatives being destroyed.

“Technology is killing everything we ever found joy in”

“Meet the new iPad Pro: the thinnest product we’ve ever created, the most advanced display we’ve ever produced, with the incredible power of the M4 chip,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook on X (formerly Twitter) alongside the video.

“Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create.”

However, creatives reacted negatively to the advert for the device, which was described as “the thinnest Apple product ever”, calling the technology company “out of touch”.

“This ad perfectly encapsulates the insight that people think technology is killing everything we ever found joy in – and then presents that as a good thing,” wrote Wall Street Journal reporter Katie Deighton.

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“As one of many, many artists who use the iPad Pro to create: this is horrifying,” wrote Emmy-nominated photojournalist Tyler Stone on X.

“The message you’re sending is that traditional creative tools are obsolete – and by extension, so are those who use them. Whoever approved this is unhinged and out of touch.”

Financial Times architecture and design critic Eddie Heathcote simply described the video as “Irony-free”.

“Perfect one-minute distillation of Silicon Valley’s metaphysics”

Set to the tune of All I Ever Need Is You by Sonny & Cher, the advert appeared to be a play on the Evolution of the Desk video created by the Harvard Innovation Lab, which shows the transformation of the desk environment from 1981 to 2014 with printers, frames, pencils, etc. all slowly replaced by an Apple laptop.

Other creatives believed that the film provided an insight into the thinking of technology companies based in California’s Silicon Valley.

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“Apple’s new iPad ad is an astonishing and terrifying cultural artifact,” director of Ethics and Public Policy Center Aaron Kheriaty on X. “Perfect one-minute distillation of Silicon Valley’s metaphysics. Like all great art it says much more than its creators intended,” he continued.

Meanwhile, novelist Hari Kunzru wrote, “crushing the symbols of human creativity to produce a homogenized branded slab is pretty much where the tech industry is at in 2024”.

“The destruction of the human experience,” added actor Hugh Grant. “Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

Unveiled this week, the new iPad Pro is the latest iteration of Apple’s tablet, which was originally launched in 2010. Described as “the thinnest Apple product ever”, the larger version is 5.1 millimetres thick and has a 13-inch screen. According to the brand, it also has the “world’s most advanced display”.

Earlier this year Apple unveiled its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, a wearable device that allows users to project visual applications in a 3D environment controlled by eye and hand movements.

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