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Insider Today: Apple gets crushed

Matt Turner   

Insider Today: Apple gets crushed
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Welcome back to our Sunday edition, a roundup of some of our top stories. Ever dream of packing it all in and moving to Southern Europe? You may have to rethink: The golden age of golden visas is already over.

On the agenda today:

But first: Apple's advertising flub reveals how Silicon Valley, and we, have changed.

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This week's dispatch

Apple under pressure

A Space Invaders arcade game. Brightly colored paint cans. A cute squishy toy. Each slowly succumbs to a hydraulic press. What's left is a new iPad.

Apple's ad, titled "Crush," was meant to show how the new tablet can be a creative tool. Instead it debuted to derision. The company responded by pulling the ad from TV and apologizing, saying it "missed the mark."

The damage to Apple's business is likely to be minimal. First quarter iPad sales came in at $7 billion. In comparison, iPhone sales were almost 10x that. Apple is a $2.8 trillion giant.

The reputational damage is to be seen. Thanks to the almost instantaneous backlash, the ad didn't air widely. If the ad has changed your perceptions of Apple, let me know at

But the ad, and the reaction to it, highlights our changed relationship with our devices.

Apple's iconic 1984 Super Bowl ad was about the promise of technology, of breaking free from drudgery, of revolution.

Forty years on, creatives are concerned that AI will coopt their work or replace them entirely. Vinyl sales are booming. Teenagers are choosing dumb phones. Digital cameras are back. We're tracking and limiting screen time for our kids.

It shouldn't come as a surprise then that an ad portraying a powerful machine crushing much-loved tools of human creativity hit a nerve.

Apple's mistake should serve as a lesson to every tech company.

The dark heart of modern chess

Chess has never been more popular, but its ugly side has also never been more exposed.

The same characteristics that have driven its popularity online — an easy-to-understand eight-by-eight grid, a strategy without chance or luck — have also made it a cheater's paradise. Meanwhile, rampant sexism festers at chess' heart.

One reporter's quest to understand chess' degeneration.

2024 top seed investors

Behind most startup founders is an investor who saw their potential, nurtured their ambition, and backed their ideas. Now in its fourth year, our list celebrates these figures, from Y Combinator's Dalton Caldwell to Verge Genomics' Alice Zhang.

Plus, we're also highlighting the top 40 women early-stage investors, including Cowboy Ventures' Aileen Lee and Array Ventures' Shruti Gandhi.

Meet the kingmakers:

Trouble at Blackstone

Blackstone's $114 billion real-estate fund has veteran analysts worried. The private-equity giant found success pitching ordinary investors on BREIT, a commercial real-estate fund.

But some veteran analysts, accountants, and investors believe Blackstone's estimates of BREIT's assets are wildly inflated, making it essentially a house of cards.

Inside the growing alarm over BREIT.

Home sellers' summer from hell

Sellers have had the upper hand for the last few years, but that's about to change.

Home prices are still rising, but buyers are slowly starting to have more options — meaning the days of desperate dealmaking are over. Plus, mortgage rates have spiked back up to 7%, which is deterring prospective buyers and changing the calculus for many sellers.

More on why it'll be a rough summer for sellers.

This week's quote:

"I think what we all would want is some acknowledgment about what happened, and at least not completely dismiss the fact that it could have been work-related."

More of this week's top reads:

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