May 10, 2024 6 min read

And Finally! Apple finds out the hard way that not everyone thinks destruction is a form of creation

Apple put out a new iPad advert this week, which showed musical instruments, books, pots paint and more being crushed in a hydraulic press. It was supposed to depict the amazing creative things you can do on an iPad, but people just saw it as a metaphor for the tech industry’s attitude to creators

And Finally! Apple finds out the hard way that not everyone thinks destruction is a form of creation

The key to success on social media these days seems to be to find a thing that people like once and then do exactly the same thing over and over and over again. Do not deviate. The people have told you what they want. There can be no space for new ideas for fear that your subscribers might unfollow you and find something else to watch.

I don’t know why this is the case. After seeing a person basically making the same video as the first one I liked about three times, I tend to get bored of it and go somewhere else for my brief dopamine shot. 

There are exceptions though. Aside from a guy who dramatically reads out signs he finds online, it tends to be accounts that don’t feature any people that hold my attention longer. Also, and I don’t know what this says about me, but they seem to feature things getting broken quite a lot. Building demolitions, things exploding, all things I’ll stop and watch. 

Another that I see quite a lot is an account that drops a red hot steel ball onto things to see what happens. The answer in almost all cases is ‘pretty much nothing’. I still watch it every time it pops up. 

If you’ve seen anything like this online though, it’s probably one of the hydraulic press accounts that are knocking about. It’s a simple premise: put something in a hydraulic press and see what damage is done when several tonnes of pressure are placed upon that thing. Look away now if you don’t want spoilers, but what happens is that the thing is crushed. 

The results are technically different each time, but in reality there’s only about five different ways objects react to the crushing. I’ve seen them all. I’ve seen them all many times. And yet I’ll always stop scrolling to watch a hydraulic press video. 

I can’t be the only one, because this week Apple attempted to harness the attention sucking power of these videos by creating one of its own on a massive scale. 

The premise is simple, really. The new iPad Pro is the thinnest Apple has ever made. Also, there are loads of things you can do on an iPad. Watch TV, make music, draw, play games, read books. What better way to show that than to take physical representations of all those things and then show them being crushed down into a brand new iPad? How exciting!

“Meet the new iPad Pro”, chirped Apple CEO Tim Cook when unveiling an advert employing exactly this idea this week. “The thinnest product we’ve ever created, the most advanced display we’ve ever produced, with the incredible power of the M4 chip. Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create”.

Imagine! All of those amazing tools packed into one little iPad. It’s all about celebrating creativity. Everyone involved in the marketing of the Apple tablet must have been slapping themselves heartily on the backs all through the making of this video.

“We’re celebrating creativity”, they would have said.

“Everyone’s going to love this”, they probably gushed.

“Look at all those creative things in that big hydraulic press”, they might have smiled.

It’s not clear if anyone ever asked the big question, “Do you think that people will get that this is about celebrating creativity?”

If they did, the answer that came back must have been a resounding “yes”. And so the video made its way to Cook’s Twitter feed, ready to go viral. Which it did. But not in the way Apple had hoped.

See, it turns out that many people see videos of things being crushed in hydraulic presses as being more about destruction than creation. So if you show them a video where musical instruments, books, arcade machines and more are being flattened, they don’t think you’re saying that you love creativity, they think you’re saying, “Fuck all this shit”.

Actor Hugh Grant labelled it “the destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley”.

Filmmaker Asif Kapadia expanded further, saying it was “the most honest metaphor for what tech companies do to the arts, to artists, musicians, creators, writers, filmmakers: squeeze them, use them, not pay well, take everything then say it’s all created by them”.

Songwriter Crispin Hunt commented, “Crushing a piano, trumpet and guitar evokes the same primal horrific sacrilege as watching books burn”.

Don’t forget that there were books in there too. Not on fire, true. But definitely up there getting crushed in high resolution.

So great was the wave of criticism that a couple of days later Apple felt the need to apologise. Apple’s VP Marketing Tor Myhren admitted to Ad Age that the company had “missed the mark” with the video.

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

Despite this, this video remains online. I guess Apple knows that people are always going to stop and watch a hydraulic press video, even if they’re horrified by it. And don’t forget that there’s a shiny new iPad to look at when the video reaches its conclusion. Maybe the takeaway from all this is that stupid things like guitars can’t even survive being smooshed by a machine designed for flattening things, but an iPad can. 

I’m not about to try to test that theory myself, but - if you have an iPad and hydraulic press to hand - feel free to go ahead and do it yourself. Just please remember to video the results. 

Now, here are some other amusing music news stories we discovered on our travels this week...

Crywank hit the road to beat Frank Turner’s record of most gigs played in 24 hours – but there’s a row over the rules
Frank Turner broke the record for most shows played in 24 hours over the weekend but Crywank claim that they beat him to it.
Kanye West Seemingly Cancels Yeezy Porn As Every Single Piece Of Promo Evaporates Into The Ether
Kanye West was seemingly extremely serious about launching YEEZY Porn just a short time ago, but now it seems it has come to an abrupt end.
Joe Biden campaign disses Donald Trump with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Euphoria’ lyrics
Joe Biden’s campaign team has used Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Euphoria’ lyrics to diss former US president Donald Trump.
KoRn and Adidas Originals team up for second clothing collab
KoRn has teamed up with Adidas Originals for a second clothing collaboration following their first collab release last year.
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