John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist dissects a recent Apple advertisement.

If nothing else, Apple’s horrible ad announcing the new iPad Pro has the virtue of being brutally honest. The one-minute clip opens with an old vinyl playing Sonny and Cher’s “All I Ever Need Is You,” and then shows an industrial press slowly crushing an eclectic assortment of old musical instruments, paint and art supplies, and Gen X-era toys and tchotchkes.

In other words, it destroys a bunch of stuff that makes life fun, unique, interesting, and fully human.  

After all that old stuff — the quirky objects and sentimental artifacts of the pre-digital era — has been flattened under the inexorable weight of machine technology, the press lifts up to reveal the new iPad Pro. The message is so obvious it hardly needs to be spelled out: This thin digital tablet is supposed to replace — and supersede — all these clunky, analog, obsolete things. All you need, we are made to understand, is this new piece of digital technology, this iPad. The rest, the detritus of the real world, can simply be destroyed.

Apple CEO Tim Cook posted the ad on X and commented, “Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create.” (An odd comment, after just showing us all the things it’ll be used to destroy.)

The message was not well received. Hugh Grant, retweeting Cook’s post, succinctly put it on X like this: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.” 

Grant is right. It’s hard to imagine a better visual depiction of the way Big Tech flattens and destroys art and creativity, replacing our very natural, human experience of the physical world with a shiny digital simulacrum of it. And what a contrast the ad is to Apple’s iconic 1984 ad, which promised that technology could liberate us from the crushing tyranny of Big Brother. Instead, Apple is now promising to destroy the physical means of human creativity (musical instruments, arts and crafts supplies, whimsical toys) and replace it with their cold, soulless technology — the fake replacing the real.