Now, I’m not a tech person. I enjoy playing with cool gadgets, but I’m usually not motivated enough to keep up with them. Who is releasing what gadget when, what features does it have, how many gigs does it have, is it Bluetooth compatible… It’s like a foreign language to me sometimes, a foreign language that I don’t have the energy to learn. I am only volunteering to comment on this, because it’s a bit of news that no one in the free world can escape — the release of the iPhone.
Now the iPhone seems like a tremendously cool little gadget that would be a lot of fun to play with. But I stumbled across this article at the New York Times that amazed me.
People waited in line for days to get the iPhone. I could handle that idea. Lots of folks have waited in line for a ridiculously long time to get weirder things than that.
What began to really get to me were some of these key quotes in the article (when you see something in italics, that emphasis is mine):
The sweaty tangle of people who lined up outside the store included a customer service representative for a trucking company who took a vacation day to make her first Apple purchase, a jazz musician who declared, “I don’t stand in line for anything,” and a tourist from Argentina who said he wasn’t even sure the phone would work once he got it home.
Firstly, to the jazz musician: sorry friend, you now officially wait in lines for stuff. To the Argentinian tourst: $400-$600 is an amazing amount of money to spend for something that you can’t even count on actually working. This guy is going to own one of the shiniest, most expensive paperweights known to man. I’m thinking a postcard would be a much more effective and affordable New York souveneir.
At Apple stores across the country, there were the so-called iCultists, the Internet entrepreneurs and technology consultants who would have surprised you if they had said they didn’t wait in line all night. But then there were the iConverts, the not-so-savvy Apple customers who didn’t know much about the iPhone other than that they had to have it.
Tracy Carroll, a 42-year-old Internet consultant, said, “I’m buying it sight unseen, and that’s kind of rare for me.”
It’s always good to drop $400-$600 dollars on a gadget when you’re not totally sure what it does. After all, millions of frenzied Apple fans and a really genius marketing campaign can’t all be wrong, right? It’s new. It’s shiny. It’s an Apple product. Must have. Everyone knows this.
[Referring to iPhone service through AT&T] …Of course, that would mean that people who already have cellphone service with other carriers must be willing to pay the hefty fees to break their contracts.
Indeed, there were several T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers in line in Manhattan. “That’s not even an issue — I want the phone,” said Cassie Tran, a 25-year-old who does public relations for a fashion designer in New York. Ms. Tran has a contract with Verizon Wireless that she said she will “pay whatever” to break.
I don’t care what I signed and I don’t care how much it costs me. “That’s not even an issue — I want the phone.” This is, after all, the land of instant gratification. Reneging on contracts is a minor issue when compared to the paramount responsibility to be true to one’s own whims and desires.
Now, I don’t have a problem with the iPhone. I have no problem with people wanting an iPhone really bad. But this all somehow strikes me as very out of control.
Folks, I have some news: It’s all going to burn.
These people (who admittedly are pretty extreme Apple fans) are sleeping on the sidewalk in order to wake up and spend an arm and a leg on a phone that will be outdated in a few years, let alone worth anything in eternity. However cool the phone may be (and I’m sure it’s quite cool), I’m going to hazard a guess that we won’t be seeing them in the Millennium. So why give up days of your life and hundreds or even thousands of dollars for something that won’t last beyond the next big thing to hit the market?
It makes me want to pray for our society. What I see in this article is a lurking sense of emptiness, a desperate search for something — anything — that might possibly relieve that deep-seated pain. Folks just don’t spend that much money and time on something their heart is neutral about. You only give that kind of effort to something you believe will make your life better. And it’s a cell phone. A really cool cell phone, but a cell phone nonetheless.
Just goes to show that there’s more than one reason we need revival…