iPad Pro launch: Apple criticised for Photoshopping woman's face to make her smile during Apple Pencil demonstration

Viewers questioned why a different image wasn't chosen

Kashmira Gander
Wednesday 09 September 2015 21:30 BST
Adobe software is shown on the new iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco
Adobe software is shown on the new iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco (Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)

Apple has been criticised for Photoshopping a smile onto a woman’s face to promote the latest iPad at a product launch.

The iPad Pro, which Apple CEO Tim Cook called the “biggest news in iPad since the iPad”, will have a 12.9 inch screen.

To demonstrate the new tablet at the event in San Francisco, software firm Adobe unveiled a new app called Photoshop Fix.

Eric Snowden, director of design for Adobe, talked through the app with the audience and used the software to create a smile on a woman’s face in a seemingly innocuous presentation.

But viewers tuned in to keep up-to-date with the tech firm’s latest advances were concerned by what they perceived to be the sexist undertones of the demonstration.

Many questioned why Apple did not select a more neutral image, particularly after Mr Cook admitted that the firm does not recruit enough women.

Mr Cook made the admission last year, after Apple released figures revealing the gender-gap in its workforce. Around 70 per cent of its employees are men, with the 30 per cent who are women working in the non-tech sector of the business, Refinery 29 reported.

"We’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products," Tim Cook said at the time.

Twitter users felt that the use of the model's face went against this message, particularly as she was the first woman to be seen at the launch.

Others said it was problematic to change a woman's appearance to alter her emotions, citing the fact that women are commonly told to smile when they are sexually harrassed.

The incident occurred in a climate of concern that women are underrepresented and put off from careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) because of societal pressures.

The issue not only affects the US, where Apple has its headquarters. Studies have shown that women currently make up around 12.8 per cent of the Stem workforce in the UK, according to the campaign group Women in Science and Engineering (Wise).

The Independent has contacted Apple for a comment.

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