Apple’s iPad announcement exposes the psychopathy of Big Tech

With just two bad shows at the Royal Albert Hall in 1991, Gerald Ratner ruined his company’s reputation. Last week Apple had a trial, but on a much bigger budget.

In the company’s TV commercial, a wide variety of musical instruments, creative tools and materials and games are destroyed by a giant black slab. Even a vintage Space Invaders-style arcade console has been flattened.

The ad loves to destroy them and at the end there’s nothing left but the new iPad, which we’re told is now a bit thinner: 0.6mm thinner, in fact.

Rarely has the response to an advertisement been so unanimous. For art critic JJ Charlesworth, the video was, “in the most degraded way, an expression of the love of material culture, creativity and tactile sensibility”, he wrote. “Imagine a hell where the only culture that existed was captured on a screen.”

Many others were also baulked by the quasi-fascist image of power imposed from above, where individuality is crushed, and resistance is futile. If we wanted a demonstration of the arrogance of the modern technological titans, the Robber Barons of the 21st century, then Apple has just done it for us.

“We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry,” owned the company, as it pulled the ad from circulation. “Crush” won’t appear in the pre-booked TV slots, but the damage is done.

In the past, Apple has shamelessly co-opted artistic genius to build its luxury brand before. He tries to convince us that the cool and creative people use Apple products, while the ones made by his competitors only use boring conventions. Poor people, and people without taste, in other words. Don’t be like them!

Today, “Ratner’s Moment” is taught in business classes as an executive disaster class in what goes without saying.

The chief executive joked that the jewelery he sold was so cheap it would have cost him a prawn sandwich from Marks & Spencer.

Today, with each customer investing thousands of pounds in Apple’s ecosystem of products, we are not going to abandon the company overnight. But it’s worse than “doing Ratner”, because it dramatizes Big Tech’s perception of us, and our value.

We get from such images because we know that we don’t have to destroy something beautiful to create something interesting and new.

That was the suggestion that the town planners insisted we have to accept in the 1960s, as they wasted our beautiful Victorian heritage, and what Russell T Davies and Disney keep today, while giving an ax to Doctor Who Who.

However, it is false. Old things can take new forms and find new uses. As a builder you can add, not subtract. We are more excited by what has been branded as artificial intelligence to come, and the amazing flood of low-quality derivative “content paste”.

It’s making the world softer because it’s all derivative and feels a lot less human. It is coming at a great cost to human creators.

How could Apple underestimate the audience so badly? Steve Jobs would certainly have been horrified, and everyone involved: including Tim Cook, the paperclip man who took Jobs’ seat. Apple may be lost without its late co-founder, and we don’t see how bad it is now.

Tim Cook and Steve Jobs in 2009

Tim Cook succeeded Steve Jobs as head of Apple in 2011 – EPA/MONICA M. DAVEY

The Crush TV commercial is very chilling because it reveals the psychopathy that can be found in the titans of Silicon Valley: a generation of immature man-children who believe they are worthy of the Masters of the Universe, who can bend reality to their will.

One notable example is the recent “Techno-Optimist” manifesto by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

Anyone who questions Andreessen’s version of the future – one in which restraints on his behavior have been removed – must be motivated by “fear, guilt and resentment”.

But “technology has no obvious destiny”, says Neil Turkewitz, a former music industry executive turned creator’s rights advocate. “It’s up to us to decide his arc.”

Popular historian Rick Perlstein remembers attending a book club held at Andreessen’s palatial home, where the former small-town boy “made it clear that people who chose not to leave such places deserved whatever poverty , cultural and political neglect, and alienation. they suffered”. Such disdain is evident in the Crush ad, too.

Art critic Charlesworth also wondered if Apple “realized it had no fresh product ideas and now it’s trying to break everything”.

In truth we don’t know, because Apple, like the other Big Tech giants, doesn’t have to try very hard to create new things – the new iPad that promotes “Crush” is almost identical to the one it replaces .

Because Apple knows when we’re locked out, it can extract rent from us, and from business sectors like finance and third-party developers, through the subscription and service fees we’ll pay forever. Technology is now a cozy oligopoly.

Perhaps we can use the PR disaster as a reminder of the ingenuity of the underappreciated scientists whose work allows the iPad to get 0.6mm thinner every two years. Much of the technology is based on stolen stems.

To all those creators Apple insulted last week: new inventions and creativity keep the world feeling fresh and alive, more so than today’s complacent tech giants counting their profits and wondering on what to do in the world.

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