Disturbing Apple ad shows human creativity crushed into perfect 5.3mm-thin shape

To promote its new M4-powered iPads, Apple released an ill-conceived ad that depicts musical instruments, art supplies and various objects representing human creativity being crushed by an enormous hydraulic press, which then lifts to reveal the thinnest device Apple has ever made.

If the intent was to suggest that the machine enables all those things while being ultra-portable, this Apple ad did not quite get there. At a time when artists, musicians and humans in general are terrified of big business using AI-driven technology to render them obsolete, the ad came across as a disturbing and oblivious admission that this is exactly what's on the cards. The Financial Times reviews the reactions:

Advertising industry executives argued the ad represented a mis-step for the Silicon Valley giant, which under late co-founder Steve Jobs was lauded for its ability to capture consumer attention through past campaigns.

Christopher Slevin, creative director for marketing agency Inkling Culture, compared the iPad ad unfavorably to a famous Apple campaign directed by Ridley Scott called "1984" for the original Macintosh computer, which positioned Apple as liberating a dystopian, monochrome world.

"Apple's new iPad spot is essentially them turning into the thing they said they were out to destroy in the 1984 ad," said Slevin.

Apple has long prided itself on the slim, minimalist designs of its hardware products. Some critics argue the company's marketing focus on device thinness can reinforce negative body image issues, especially among younger audiences. Others, though, just want better battery life.