Video: WWDC 2018: Can Apple cure us of smartphone addiction?
It’s our own fault.
We’ve become so attached to our phones that we’ve forgotten how to look people in the eye.
Read also: How Apple turned ugly into normal
Unless we’re talking to them on FaceTime, that is.
So, when Apple’s fine executives took to the WWDC 2018 stage last Monday, they were a tortured bunch.
They know that smartphone addiction is a big problem. They also know that an increasing amount of human interaction — and even work — is being conducted through phones.
So, like every good lover or shrink, they showed that they understand.
Here was a new Screen Time feature that showed you just how obsessive your phone use really is. And there was was a new timer that reminded you just how many minutes (or hours) you’ve just wasted on some vacuous app.
But look over here, everyone! Memojis. Because we know that mere emojis were never going to be enough, we created Animojis. You got used to those, didn’t you? Well, we pumped out enough ads about them to get you excited, didn’t we? So here’s something that turns an Animoji into something even more, well, personal! Because you can never be too personal with your animation, can you?
The whole thing was a perfect depiction of our torn times.
We tell ourselves that we’re heading in a troubled, gadget-absorbed direction. Yet we can’t resist owning more gadgets and, worse, allowing those gadgets to be the focal point of our lives.
We tell ourselves that we need them to turn our lights on and off. We need them to open our cars. We need them to take pictures of our dinner. We even need to talk to them because they’ll always do what we tell them to.
Read also: How to install the iOS 12 beta (TechRepublic)
Well, unless they have Siri inside.
We need these gadgets to tell us if we’re sick, which, while sometimes helpful, also raises our twisted levels of paranoia and gadget-hugging to painful levels.
There, at WWDC, was Apple’s Julz Arney healthily pedaling away on a bike while at the same time showing off, oh, texting her friends and making dinner reservations with her Apple Watch.
Once upon a time, she might have been staring into space, pondering the meaning of love and existence. We used to call it relaxing.
Now, she’s being productive. Because we humans must produce more or else.
If she’d got bored with her Apple Watch at any stage, she could have also grabbed her iPhone and enjoyed the new FaceTime feature that now lets you talk to 32 people at once.
That is what I’ve always wanted to do when I’m sweating and grunting in the gym.
Apple will, of course, insist that it’s only interested in selling you a phone. Increasingly, however, as its services business grows and as software becomes more enticing than hardware, Cupertino is forced to develop involving ways to tease the human imagination.
Read also: Here are the biggest iOS 12 features Apple announced (CNET)
By acknowledging how tortured we are and how we wish we could just toss our iPhones into the nearest river on occasion, Apple showed that it really does think about the way we live our lives.
At heart, though, it’s a business, one that can’t stop people from their beautiful, self-destructive ways.
Hey, at least our iPhones can now make us feel guilty about it, too.
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