As Apple unveils its much anticipated iPhone 5 to hordes of eager fans and techno geeks, all longing to see which of the previously leaked rumours are in fact true (uh, that’ll be most of them it seems), I can’t seem to help myself from being distracted by the company’s iconic logo. Its simplistic and eye-catching design – a perfectly formed bite out of an impossibly perfect apple. An instantly recognisable symbol across the globe. A symbol synonymous with cutting edge electronics, hi-tech designs and superior, portable gadgetry for ever hungry technological consumers.
In many ways Apple has defined a generation of young people. A generation unwilling to make do with basic or cheaper products. From the first iPod to the latest iPhone, many of the young, the hip and the wealthy have lapped up everything the company has served – such that a significant majority remain furiously loyal to the company – verging on the fanatical at times – unwilling to give even slight consideration to its competitors’ offerings.
It’s not my intention to stir up debate over Apple versus Android here. Let it be known that I use and admire both systems, and can see the pros and cons of each. I love what I can do with the technology in my hands and the way it allows me to organise my life as well as achieve my writing goals as I travel. I’m not going to demonise Apple (though I do deplore the way some of its workers are treated).
The company is to be applauded for its ability to create sleek products which have transformed the way we communicate, work and socialise. If the iPhone 5 were a watch, it would be a Rolex. Yet the latter, pricey accessory which most cannot afford remains largely in the hands of the rich and famous. Apple, on the other hand, has invented much sought after items that are seen in the hands and pockets of movie stars, and made them available to the average Joe on the street (albeit for a reasonably high monthly sum for most folks). Even ten year olds can be seen walking around with 3GS models clasped to their ears.
And yet the hunger for ever better, snazzier, faster technology remains. In five years time the iPhone 5 will be classed as naff and useless, unfit for purpose. Clever advertising continually alerts us to what we’re missing – FaceTime, state of the art maps, voice control, panoramic photography… another bite of the apple.
Much like the lure of forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, manufacturers persuade us that if we could just get our hands on that latest product, we’ll be really satisfied. Truth is, fulfilment from eye catching possessions is fleeting. The wealthy could tell you that. Being rich doesn’t necessarily equate to a life of happiness. Often quite the opposite. As the über rich acquire ever more stuff and status symbols, it often leads them to question why they are not satisfied.
As actress Kristen Stewart was reported as saying in a recent interview… “I feel boring. I feel like, Why is everything so easy for me? I can’t wait for something crazy to f–ing happen to me.” A star who has attained everything, and can have anything she could possibly want, feels boring!
And that about sums it up for most of us. After we get our hands on the latest technological gadget, the thrill eventually wears off – especially as things get worn out, become less enticing or are superceded by something more impressive. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have such items – rather that we shouldn’t treasure or place too much value on them. We need to consider how much our hunger for possessions is eating away at us. “For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
(For those who are curious, I’ve never possessed an iPhone but we do have an iPad2 in the house which enables us to do all sorts of creative things with music, writing and photography. I try to live by the following maxim: I will use my gadgets for good. And boy am I thankful for the sat nav feature on my phone!)