You’ll own nothing and Apple will like it


Apple released a controversial new ad last week that it apologized for a mere 48 hours later. The ad, released on X, features a large collection of artistic items, including paints, a trumpet, a statue, a piano, books, and an acoustic guitar, stacked between the cold steel of an enormous hydraulic press.

As the machine slowly crushes these artifacts of human creativity, the song “All I Ever Need Is You” by Sonny and Cher plays in the background until everything has been flattened. Then the ram of the press moves back up away from the bed, revealing the new iPad Pro. 

(Apple via AP)

“The most powerful iPad ever is also the thinnest,” an unthreatening female voice says. “Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in his post embedding the video.

The message of the video was intended to be empowering.

“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 Vice President of Marketing Communications Tor Myhren told AdAge. “We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.”

Many people, especially artists, took the video as incriminating admission by Apple. “What an incredible self own by Apple,” author Brian Merchant posted. “LOL — at a time when artists, musicians and creatives are more worried than ever that tech companies are trying to crush them into dust for profit, along comes Apple and makes an *ad* whose whole message is: yes that is exactly what we’re doing.”

Apple has recently taken forays into the content creation business (see AppleTV), but I don’t see the ad as an attack on artists or creativity. University of Notre Dame political philosophy professor Patrick Deneen hit closer to home when he wrote, “Buy and keep real things. Books. Vinyl. Instruments. Art supplies. This destruction of actual things that you can own and keep, replaced by permanent renting of ‘virtual’ content, is what they are aiming at.”

This is much closer to the real sinister intent behind Apple: the destruction of real things you can own in place of temporary things you rent. 

Just think about the iPad Pro being advertised now. How long will it be usable? Three years? Maybe five? Whether it’s an iPod, an iPhone, or an iPod, at some point, and usually far sooner than you think, Apple stops making software updates for all the devices you buy. You’re not really buying an iPad, what you are actually doing is renting access to Apple’s software-based platform services.


When Apple stops making software updates for your device, no matter how perfect your device is working at that time, it will suddenly stop working. It will be useless. You will own a brick.

But at least it will be the thinnest brick Apple has ever made.

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