It can do anything, I suppose. It checks your email, surfs the web, plays music, directs you with built in GPS, plays YouTube videos, takes pictures, updates you on stocks and weather, and it houses applications (“apps” in Mac-speak) to do nearly everything else, such as run eBay, post Tweets, play piano, and play “Super Monkey Ball“. It also makes phone calls. It’s the new iPhone 3G and it delivers everything Americans want in their pocket, and it does it faster and cheaper than ever. A question best left unanswered: Is the 21st century American Dream now fully realized in the iPhone?
iPhone madness has hit, and with one million sold in three days it doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. Opening day was a zoo, with people camping out for days to ensure their acquisition of the “culture changing” gadget. Here’s why people do it:
“This device has changed my life,” declares Ilan Fehler, a 21-year-old student at the University of Arizona, who considers himself lucky to be third in line.
Dale Larson is customer No.1 at this store. The 39-year old consultant on mobile products said says he’s not particularly tied to Apple gear but he acknowledges he started camping out on Wednesday evening.
“I would get excited over any product that works as well,” Larson said. “But nothing does. This device opens everything up. Developers can develop and consumers can take advantage of their innovation.”
Am I the only one that thinks this does not bode well for civilization? In the Victorian era, people lined up for long periods of time to hear Dickens read the latest chapter in one of his novels. In the sixties, Beatlemania hit our shores and parents endured sleepless nights filled with worry over what bowl-cutted Brits were doing to their children. Now we wait for days for a piece of machinery, seemingly leading us to a paradoxical time where we do everything and nothing for ourselves. Where does our cultural trajectory point to next?
I’m no surly old man, but even at my ripe-young age I can see the iPhone for what it is: scary. It mainstreams a world previously left only to 80 hour a week workaholics, a world where every moment is dictated by a new email, a new text message, new stock quotes, new twitter feeds, GPS direction, and, when it all slows down a little, new “Monkey Ball” games, all the while those little white ear buds blast Coldplay and The Pussycat Dolls. The iPhone is a utopian fantasy, where we manage each nook and cranny of our lives in every waking second, leaving no stone unturned and not a minute unoccupied.
In the world of the iPhone, everything revolves around “me”. Everything that I want, I need, and everything that I need, I need right now. Desires become rights. And impossibly enough, while the iPhone gives me everything I want, it leaves me with no time for myself. Who has time to sit and read when you’re forwarding emails, answering text messages, bidding on iPhone accessories, and watching Miss Teen South Carolina on YouTube? What was once mere distraction has now become your life.
Look at all the lonely people. Where do they all belong? On their iPhones.