The first time I saw an Apple Computer was the 1980’s: the new vinyl cutting machine that my mother had bought to start a home business was run by a IIe, so that makes it 1984 by the Internet’s unerring reckoning. Ever since, there’s been one in our house or in my handbag. I took a tablet for both US trips as my laptop and it was perfect for purpose. Mostly, I’ve used the brand in the last decade out of a sense of misguided loyalty, because it is simply easier not to worry about alternatives when everything works just fine.
Except, in the past few years, I’ve begun to get uncomfortable. It began with the Watch, which I suppose was an inevitable evolution from the Phone but for me is too invasive for my liking. There is no avoiding the reduction in tech size, and as it becomes increasingly easy to pay for stuff by just wafting potentially unsecured electronics about? Security is a big concern. I’ve never sat well with the idea of ‘offsite backups’ for personal pictures, never used the Cloud to keep anything of importance, and now that’s being forced on me by iTunes my discomfort’s become irritation that needs treatment.
Yesterday’s new iPhone launch was effectively the proverbial straw.
Facial recognition is something I have a problem with, for a lot of reasons, some of which are quite complex and psychological. Honestly, if I don’t want to look at myself in the morning and that’s the only way of accessing my phone? Fuck you, not happening. The automatic assumption that this is a) cool and b) desirable simply confirms the future as being dictated by a group of narcissistic wannabees staring at screen and not each other and frankly, I want no part of that. I’m going to find a new way of living without this version of tech: Fitbit are about to launch a watch/health tracker with a contactless chip embedded within. When this watch wears out I’ll upgrade to their service, link just one personal bank account to it and enter the Future that way.
The other, more concerning issue is pricing, and how people are clearly prepared to pay increasingly large amounts of money for a status symbol that’s driving the Planet to self destruction. Okay, so I’m a tad melodramatic but seriously, $1000 for a phone is stupid. Spend the money on something worthwhile, or maybe give that money to someone who has nothing and would be forced to steal your phone as a result. I know I’m not allowed to tell people how to live, but that’s a food budget across a month, possibly two, for a normal family. If all you see is your life and not the consequences to everyone else… I’ve been writing about causality this week, and it’s been like clouds parting and a giant shaft of sunlight shining on truth.
I’ve gotta make sure I don’t start being an evangelical about all of this, but when I think about priorities and what matters in my life? All I need is a hard drive for music and a phone to play an occasional game on that takes pictures. Everything else is covered in other ways, under my control and not a software company’s, and that’s the way I think I’d like it to stay going forward. The future, at least for me, is no longer praying at this corporate altar.