"Tone-deaf and insulting to artists of every kind": New Apple iPad Pro ad showing musical instruments being destroyed described as "horrendously bad" and "deeply offensive"

A new Apple ad for the recently announced iPad Pro has provoked widespread criticism on social media, being variously described as "dark", "dystopian" and "deeply offensive". 

The ad (embedded above) which Apple has titled Crush!, depicts a collection of objects associated with creativity - including a number of musical instruments and a mixing desk - being crushed by a gigantic slab of metal. After the objects are slowly pulverized, the press lifts up to reveal the new iPad Pro in their place.  

The message of the ad isn't hard to discern: you no longer need any of your beloved creative tools because the iPad Pro can do it all. Musical instruments, analogue recording equipment, studio monitors - the device makes all of these redundant. "Everything beautiful, charming and analogue will be destroyed by a flat black screen," as one commenter put it.

Many have accused the ad of showing flagrant disrespect for tools that creatives value dearly. "I cannot get my head around how you or anyone thought this was wise - and not incredibly disrespectful and dismissive to every artist, designer, musician and creative person of any kind," responded Joe Natoli on Twitter/X.

"This is the most ghoulish, tone-deaf ad I've ever seen in my life. Fire all of your marketers. This is utterly catastrophic for your brand," added Geoffrey Miller. Others have pointed out that the ad features a number of scenes involving the destruction of objects with "human-like qualities".

Such is the backlash to the commercial that Hollywood actor Hugh Grant has even weighed in, accusing the advert of promoting "the destruction of the human experience".

"I’m definitely the target audience for the new iPad Pro but this ad is tone-deaf and insulting to artists of every kind," commented cartoonist James Kochalka. "We think of our tools with reverence and respect, and enjoy a healthy dialogue with them. Our tools are like trusted companions on the journey of art."

Arriving at a moment when many creatives are concerned about the looming threat of artificial intelligence, Apple's ad has clearly touched a nerve. Adam Singer described it as "the perfect metaphor for today's creative dark age: compress organic instruments, joyful/imperfect machines, tangible art, our entire physical reality into a soulless, postmodern, read-only device a multi-trillion-dollar corporation controls what you do with". 

Announced earlier this week, the new iPad Pro is described by Apple as the thinnest product it's ever manufactured and features an all-new M4 chip and OLED display. The company has also unveiled new versions of the music production software Logic Pro for both Mac and iPad. 

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.