Apple CEO Tim Cook recently released a new video advertising the latest iPad Pro, calling it the “thinnest product we’ve ever created.” The minute-long clip shows a massive hydraulic press slowly compressing and destroying a wide array of tangible, analog objects from the physical world — a piano, a metronome, cans of paint, a clay bust sculpture, a spinning globe and more — things that are now “rendered useless” because of the all-in-one power of the iPad.

The backlash has been, to say the least, intense, and Apple has since issued an apology, saying, “We missed the mark with this video.” But on the flip side, the response to the video has been inspiring.

Writer Judd Baroff commented on the ad: “I’m not sure ‘wanton destruction of all the good and beautiful things in this world’ was really the vibe you were trying for.”

Artist Sterling Crispin responded: “Crushing symbols of human creativity and cultural achievements to appeal to pro creators, nice. Maybe for the next Apple Watch Pro you should crush sports equipment, show a robot running faster than a man, then turn to the camera and say, God is dead and we have killed him.”

Each of these comments, among thousands of others written by people who were horrified by the Apple ad, are reacting to more than the product being unveiled.

The first reaction is our general repulsion to the idea that we should consume relentlessly, even as our consumption destroys the world around us for the sake of ease.

As the hydraulic press obliterates the piano and the paints, it reminds us that we no longer need a performer at the keys to hear the music, or a painter in a studio to see the artistry. The “music” and the “pictures” are already there behind the glass of your iPad, all infinitely available and infinitely consumable.

The ad also suggests that the iPad you bought for $1,000 last year is now somehow inadequate and should likewise be crushed and destroyed and replaced with a more exciting version that will help you do more, achieve more, even be more — for another $1,000 or so, of course.

The ad unconsciously hints that we are teetering toward the fictional, consumption-driven world envisioned by David Foster Wallace in his novel “Infinite Jest,” where even the calendar year is up for grabs to the highest bidder — the novel starts not in a year like 2024, but in the Year of Glad, meaning its sponsor, Glad trash bags.

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The Apple ad is a reminder that, at the expense of all that is real, everything can be monetized and condensed and compressed in the digital age, and all at the expense of what makes us human, alive, organic and real.

This leads to the second and more powerful reaction as the video forces us to see how much of the real world we are losing — and yes, perhaps, actually destroying — as we continue to embrace the digital world in all facets of life.

It wasn’t Apple’s intent, but the video reminds us that the song that comes from the physical voice of your mother and father, or the strum of a Spanish guitar, is preferable to GarageBand, and that the physical brushstrokes of paint on a canvas are superior to the pixels of an iPad.

What the ad shows, ironically, is that when we buy and use this product, we exchange the superior qualities of real life for something digital, and ultimately not real.

While the iPad, like most digital devices, allows for easier video and photo editing, music composition and writing, the ad makes explicit what we lose when we live in an exclusively digital world.

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the new iPad during an event to announce new products, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. | Tony Avelar

Duncan Reyburn of South Africa explained on X that the ad was “surprisingly honest. Not even trying to hide what they’re up to anymore; not even remotely ashamed to be suggesting the fake not only as a replacement for the real but as that which obliterates genuine tools of human creativity.”

The real-world destruction, for the sake of the digital, is also seen in our deteriorating human interactions. For example, my infant son’s natural response to anyone he sees, even complete strangers, is a smile the size of Texas; it’s powerful enough to rip your heart out. But when Grandma calls on FaceTime, he stares blankly at the screen; even in infancy, he seems vaguely unsettled by something which is real, but is not.

The philosopher Roger Scruton wrote that the digital worlds of screens and television has “for a vast number of our fellow human beings, destroyed family meals, home cooking, hobbies, homework, study and family games ... It has rendered many people largely inarticulate and deprived them of the simple ways of making direct conversational contact with their fellows.”

He continues, “I am not referring simply to the TV’s (and here we could add the Internet’s) ‘dumbing down’ of thought and imagination, or its manipulation of people’s desires and interests through brazen imagery … I am referring to the nature of television as a replacement for relationships. By watching people interacting on the TV sitcom the addict is able to dispense with interactions of his own.”

And this loss of interaction with the real world, of interacting with the messiness of paints, the burn of the learner’s fingertips as he or she learns the guitar, is put on full display with the Apple ad. And many of us sense that this loss is not worth even the thinnest, shiniest new gadget that our tech overlords are trying to sell us this week or next.

Scott Raines is a writer in Kansas.