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Apple’s New iPad Ad Leaves Its Creative Audience Feeling … Flat

The trumpet is the first thing to be squished. Then the industrial compressor flattens a row of paint cans, buckles a piano and levels what appears to be a marble bust. In a final act of destruction, it pops the eyes out of a ball-shaped yellow emoji.

When the compressor rises, it reveals Apple’s latest commodity: the updated iPad Pro.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, posted the advertisement, called “Crush,” on Tuesday after the company held an event to announce new tablets. “Meet the new iPad Pro: the thinnest product we’ve ever created,” Mr. Cook wrote, adding, “Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create.”

For decades, Apple has been the toast of the creative class. It has won over designers, musicians and film editors with promises that its products would help them “Think Different.”

But some creators took a different message from the one-minute iPad ad. Rather than seeing a device that could help them create, as Mr. Cook suggested, they saw a metaphor for how Big Tech has cashed in on their work by crushing or co-opting the artistic tools that humanity has used for centuries.

The image was especially unnerving at a time when artists fear that generative artificial intelligence, which can write poetry and create movies, might take away their jobs.

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