Apple apologises after iPad Pro ad controversy

Apple apologises after iPad Pro ad controversy
Credit: Belga

Apple apologised on Thursday for its new iPad Pro advertisement, which sparked anger amongst many artists concerned about artificial intelligence (AI).

The advert, which depicts a pile of human artefacts being unceremoniously crushed by a hydraulic press only to be replaced by the new iPad, has elicited anger from many who fear that artificial intelligence (AI) poses an existential threat to their livelihoods.

British actor Hugh Grant also joined in the criticism on X (formerly Twitter). "The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley," he responded succinctly to Apple's CEO Tim Cook, who introduced the new iPad Pro on 7 May.

Tor Myhren, Apple's Vice President of Marketing, responded to the criticism. "Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important to us to design products that allow creatives to thrive globally," he told specialised news site Ad Age.

"Our aim is to celebrate the myriad ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through the iPad. We missed the mark with this video and apologise for it."

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Following the backlash, Apple decided not to air the advertisement on television, as initially planned.

While Apple refrained from mentioning AI during Tuesday's presentation and did not refer to generative AI technology, it was nonetheless on many artists' minds.

In the advert, objects symbolising human creativity including a metronome, paint pots, a piano, a jukebox, a mannequin, a sculpture, cameras, books, among others, were crushed by a huge hydraulic press. It then lifted to reveal an iPad Pro in their place.

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