I stepped into 2007 last week. Finally got an iPhone – and only because my employer encouraged (and paid for) it.
Oddly, I took a certain amount of satisfaction in holding out for so long, in part because I had convinced myself that the iPhone had become cool to the point of actually being uncool. Plus, it reminded me of a running joke from my childhood. We’d try to convince our cousins in California that the Dakotas were at least 50 years behind the West Coast in terms of technology like blenders and televisions.
Anyway, turns out the thing is pretty sweet, a step up in speed and sophistication from my Droid and a Carl Lewis long jump ahead of my first BlackBerry. And that allows me to be more productive, no more waiting for a contact to pop up or a web page to load – not to mention no more cussing at my phone. I came unreasonably close to going all Office Space on my Droid in recent weeks.
On the other hand, I’m not sure the world has ever seen a greater time waster. I’m not talking about, say, Angry Birds, something to occupy your time while you wait to board your flight out of Birmingham. (TVFury is big in the South.) I mean apps that are essentially good for nothing, the next generation of email forwards.
I present to you, three prime examples with one quick aside – the beater worn by TV is, in fact, real and not a special effect (#classy):
* Moustache King. You guessed it: This app allows you to super impose facial hair onto a photo. There’s a pretty solid variety of styles, too, although the, ahem, Michael Jordan skinny stache is conspicuously absent.
* Tattoo You. Again, this ain’t rocket science – the app allows you to try on a tattoo, to scratch a curious itch. Maybe it’s to blame (or credit?) for the ink epidemic that, come to think of it, started around the inception of the iPhone.
* Age My Face. This is definitely the most disturbing of the three if also the most relevant given that none of us can escape the cruel clutches of Father Time. If I designed this app, I’d cook the books to make every man turn out like George Clooney and every woman like Diane Lane. Why not give them hope for the future?
The point? There is not point – that’s the point. The iPhone is both useful and useless, an updated and interactive version of “Seinfeld.” And I’m … “into it.” Not all of the time, just enough of the time to raise questions about my possible (probable?) addition to technology.