Apple apologises for controversial iPad Pro ad, pulls it from TV

In a rare move, Apple Inc. extended an apology for its contentious iPad Pro advertisement, opting to halt its TV airing following backlash. The ad, showcasing creative tools crushed into an iPad, drew widespread criticism, even from actor Hugh Grant, who denounced it as endorsing the “destruction of the human experience.” As AI concerns rise and regulatory scrutiny looms, Apple emphasizes its commitment to empowering creativity. The incident shadows the launch of new iPad versions and the M4 chip.

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By Mark Gurman

Apple Inc. issued a rare apology for an advertisement touting its latest iPad Pro that upset many creatives and other customers. The company also said it won’t air the ad on television as planned.

The ad, which depicted musical instruments, TVs, paint cans and other creative tools being crushed into an iPad, was widely ridiculed on social media — an unprecedented response for an Apple marketing campaign. Actor Hugh Grant said the ad promoted the “destruction of the human experience.”

Others said the advertisement didn’t bode well for Apple in the age of artificial intelligence and as regulators look to break up key properties like the App Store. 

“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, the company’s vice president of marketing communications, said in a statement to AdAge. “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.”

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment further. The ad, which remains on the X account of Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, has over 53 million views. The campaign cast a shadow over an otherwise positive introduction of major new iPad versions and a new M4 chip on Tuesday.

One user wrote that “this ad effectively convinced me I need less technology in my life,” while others said it made them “hate” Apple products. “Totally unnecessary and extremely depressing ad!,” another user said. “For me, it had the opposite effect of what Apple wanted.”

Apple has an in-house marketing team that creates many of its advertisements, while it also works with agency Media Arts Lab for some campaigns. It’s unclear if Apple or its agency created the iPad Pro ad.

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