The iPhone, just as the iPod before it, has become the latest gadget-du-jour. As a gadget-nut I trolled the gadget blogs the weeks leading up to the Jobs keynote and then I trolled the blogs the weeks before the release. In these anticipatory days every little detail has been a revelation, every hands-on preview one more sermon to convince us that this gadget is the second-coming. That this one, not all the others before it, is the one that will make our lives better and give us something meaningful.
And it never does. These gadgets are never quite good enough and we are left hoping that next year’s model will be the good one — just look at the iPhone scrutiny of last year. In our consumer culture and lives of gadget-fetishism things like longer battery life and increased data speeds have become laden with exaggerated value. These things will make the difference! iPhone 3G will be fantastic! And people start lining up days in advance to buy something marginally better than the last iteration.
Whenever I buy a new gadget or piece of electronics I experience the euphoria of carrying the box from the store or seeing the Amazon box delivered. There is the ecstasy of the unboxing, then the hurried set-up as excitement overwhelms your body. And then the monumental first powering up and then the first hour of use. And every time, after the initial buzz dies down, there is a sense of dissatisfaction. I bought my PlayStation 3 a few weeks ago and felt this all once again.
The iPhone 3G will have its good reviews. But there will also be blogs about its failings. And many gadget fans, including myself, will say again, “We’ll wait until next year, when they fix it.” And the cycle will continue. And other fans have waited on line of hours or days and will buy it and pay the expensive monthly fee and declare it as perfection and will blindly attack anyone who says otherwise.
So the iPhone can go to hell. And so can the anticipation that is ultimately disappointing. We need to quell blind enthusiasm. We need to put companies to task for the slightest of iterations. And we need to realize that focusing on things which have a great effect on our lives, the presidential race or the economy or social responsibility or sustainability, is more productive then drooling over leaked specs and pages of gadget pr0n.