2024 - 1984: Apple called out for creating what it set out to destroy 40 years ago

2024 - 1984: Apple called out for creating what it set out to destroy 40 years ago

As Harvey Dent once said, "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

We may have seen life imitate art as Apple dropped its latest ad for the new iPad Pro. As to be expected, it’s beautifully shot, backed with a nice soundtrack, and delivers a solid message about the power of the new device and what it can do – all around, very slick.

But the actual idea is pretty terrifying; literally crushing all that is good in the world (and angry birds).

I love my iPad, in fact I love all the Apple tech I own and have owned. The iPad in particular has sped up how I work, allowed me to try out new ideas quickly to see if they are worth pursuing, and given my kids a creative distraction when they’re getting ratty at one another. Yet, for all the ease and joy these digital representations allow me, they certainly do not replace the actual tactile pleasures I get from painting with real paint, playing a video game on a giant arcade machine or delicately placing a needle on a vinyl record from my new favourite band.

These physical experiences offer something intangible—a connection that can't be fully replicated on a device. In an age where our lives are increasingly mediated by screens, it's worth remembering the irreplaceable joy that comes from engaging with the world IRL.

I don’t want to live in a dystopian world where fun and creativity can only exist in digital form on an 11 or 13-inch screen.

It has big Big Brother connotations – albeit Fun Big Brother with a capital F.

Seeing it immediately got me thinking of another Apple ad – the highly disruptive and highly celebrated 1984 Superbowl commercial from Chiat/Day.

In a time when Apple was the young upstart carving out a position against Big Tech’s Microsoft, Jobs came out swinging against those he considered to be the villains trying to control the masses and strip us of our individuality. In the spot, we watch a heroic protagonist being chased through a bleak cityscape by the authorities, before she hurls a sledgehammer at a giant screen displaying Orwellian propaganda, thus liberating the mesmerized masses from the screen – their very own digital chains.

Forty years later and we’ve come full circle.

It looks like Apple has become Big Brother itself, subtly shaping our digital lives in ways we may not fully grasp or choose to ignore. The new iPad Pro ad, while stunning, hints at a future where our creativity is confined to digital screens, and all physicality is crushed beneath the relentless march of technology.

So, it looks like we might need a new hero to don the orange shorts, a white vest and a sledgehammer of that iconic ad to smash the machine that threatens to crush our creativity.

Or maybe this is the alarm we’ve all been waiting for – a call to arms to put down the tech and give the analogue originals another go.

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