Apple Apologizes for Crushing Camera Gear, Creative Tools in iPad Ad

A futuristic laboratory with a large, intricate experiment setup centered under a massive overhead extractor, surrounded by dimly lit, ambient lighting.

Apple is apologizing after a new iPad Pro commercial sparked controversy for showing a wide range of creative tools, including a camera and lenses, getting crushed to bits by an industrial hydraulic press.

Titled “Crush!”, the new 1-minute ad spot was released last week after the announcement of the latest ultra-thin iPad Pro. It shows a large pile of equipment used by creatives in fields that include photography, writing, music, painting, and more.

A wooden artist's mannequin posed as if it's directing a movie, surrounded by vintage film cameras and equipment in a low-lit, cinematic setting.
Camera gear seen in the pile of creative tools.

As the song “All I Ever Need Is You” by Sonny and Cher plays, a massive hydraulic press begins descending on the pile to flatten it.

Old camera equipment submerged in shallow, moving water, including cameras and lenses in a worn and possibly discarded condition, highlighted by a soft overhead light.

Close-up view beneath a piece of machinery showing three black, cylindrical rollers arranged in a line, all partially illuminated by a blue light.

Once the crushing is complete, the press lifts up to reveal the shiny new iPad Pro in the place of all the gear. Here’s the full ad:

The commercial was intended to be a metaphor for how much creative potential the iPad Pro holds — and how much equipment the device could potentially replace — but the sight of creative tools getting obliterated didn’t sit well with many creatives who quickly took to social media to voice their displeasure.

Apple has played a central role in the decline of the camera industry — its groundbreaking launch of the original iPhone in 2007 ushered in an age of increasingly competent cameras being built right into smartphones, reducing consumer demand for standalone cameras. 2007-2009 marked a peak for camera sales, and the industry has been experiencing a severe contraction in the years since as smartphone sales have exploded.

As outrage of “Apple crushing creativity” grew, Apple issued an apology last Thursday.

“Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world,” Apple marketing VP Tor Myhren tells 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.”

While the ad is still available through online channels such as YouTube, Apple says it has abandoned plans to run it on television.