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Apple issues rare apology over ‘crushing’ iPad Pro ad that sparked outrage: ‘We missed the mark’

Apple has issued a rare apology – admitting that it “missed the mark” with a new commercial that showed beloved cultural symbols like a guitar and piano being slowly crushed into the shape of an iPad Pro.

The mea culpa came after Apple was pummeled on social media for days in response to the 60-second ad, which was titled “Crush!” Various tools for human creativity, including paints, a turntable and even a sculpted bust, were pulverized to the tune of Sonny & Cher’s “All I Ever Need Is You.”

“Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world,” Tor Myhren, Apple’s company’s vice president of marketing communications, said in a statement to AdAge on Thursday.

Apple admitted its ad had “missed the mark.” @tim_cook/X

“Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad,” Myhren added. “We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

Apple said it no longer plans to run the 60-second ad on TV as a result of the backlash – though it was still available on its official YouTube page as of Friday morning.

Apple shares were flat in trading on Friday.

Critics were outraged by the commercial, arguing it was just the latest sign that Apple and other Big Tech firms were looking to replace traditional art and entertainment with their tech gadgets.

The commercial surfaced as part of APple’s overhaul of its iPad lineup, which has struggled through a sales slump in recent years.

Actor Hugh Grant, one of the most prominent detractors, described the video as “the destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

Noted tech industry expert Shelly Palmer said the ad had “turned my stomach. Then, it made me incredibly angry. Then, I was just sad.”

“To me, it is a horrifying declaration of how Apple thinks about the creative community,” Palmer said.

Actor Hugh Grant described the ad as the “destruction of the human experience.” @tim_cook/X
Apple no longer plans to run the ad on TV. @tim_cook/X
The commercial showed creative instruments slowly being crushed to create an iPad. @tim_cook/X

Other users said the commercial was an affront to the legacy of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, with one quipping that he “would have never approved this ad.”

“Crushing a piano, trumpet & guitar evokes the same primal horrific sacrilege as watching books burn,” said songwriter Crispin Hunt. “Surprisingly tone-deaf from Apple, who’ve previously enabled & championed creativity. But I imagine they’ll see how out of tune this is once they turn off the autotune.”

“Who needs human life and everything that makes it worth living? Dive into this digital simulacrum and give us your soul. Sincerely, Apple,” added “Men in Black” screenwriter Ed Solomon.

Most of the anger was directed at APple CEO Tim Cook’s post on X, which included the commercial. Cook’s post is still live and has been viewed more than 57 million times.

Apple has touted the iPad Pro as its thinnest device ever. Apple

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

The new iPad Pro is $200 more expensive than its previous version and features the M4 computer chip, which is designed to support artificial intelligence features.

The uproar is yet another headache for Apple, which has recently drawn the ire of regulators on several fronts over antitrust concerns.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department filed a historic antitrust suit alleging Apple has taken illegal steps to ensure the market dominance of its iPhone.