Apple was uncharacteristically way off the mark with its latest splashy ad for the new, ultra-thin iPad Pro, which drew a ton of criticism on social media. And now they're apologizing.

The ad, released Tuesday in conjunction with Apple's latest product-launch event, is titled "Crush!", and some brilliant marketing or advertising professional thought it would be a fun idea to show a massive, industrial crushing machine — the sort that are used to crush junk and compress scrap metal and the like — crushing a pile of art supplies, musical instruments, paint cans, cameras, and other tools of human creativity.

The ham-fisted metaphor here is that all the power of art- and music-making, along with video gaming and more, are packed into this thin tablet — and the crusher raises up to reveal the new M4-powered iPad Pro.

But the imagery is pretty plainly that of a machine crushing a bunch of human-related objects and forms of expression, which many took as darkly symbolic of the threat AI now poses in many fields.

"The destruction of the human experience," wrote actor Hugh Grant in a reaction tweet on X Wednesday.

And Handmaid's Tale director Reed Morano addressed CEO Tim Cook directly, saying in a tweet, "READ THE ROOM, BRO. CUZ THIS SHIT IS ACTUALLY PSYCHOTIC."

Apple now tells Ad Age that they have nixed a plan to run the ad on TV and streaming apps.

"Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it's incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world," says Apple vice president of marketing communications Tor Myrhen in a statement to Ad Age. "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."

Apple has been, historically, more brand- and ad-savvy than this, and it was certainly a curious choice to create an ad like this — did no one in any conference room bring up the obvious symbolism? Because it also works against the goal of selling more iPads by dramatizing the disappearance of more tactile, analog media.

"This ad effectively convinced me I need less technology in my life," said one social media user quoted by CNN.

As CNN notes, this "mea culpa was rare for Apple," though they haven't yet pulled the ad off of YouTube — and you can still find it on Cook's feed on X.

Meanwhile, Apple just announced today that it is bringing generative AI to its Siri assistant, so that it can remain competitive with chatbots being released by competitors.

Previously: Jon Stewart Says He Parted Ways With Apple Because They Wouldn't Let Him Talk About AI, or China, or Talk to the FTC