David Hearne carefully positioned his cot and blanket outside the entrance of a Verizon Wireless store in Salisbury, Md. Last Friday evening, a native of Seaford Delaware, Hearne chose to forego his bed that night in order to be one of the first to purchase the iPhone 6 the following morning.
“I can’t resist it,” said Hearne in a USA Today article. “It’s amazing; it’s gonna be sexy.”
Hearne was just one of many Americans who waited in extensive lines for hours throughout the night in anticipation of Apple’s latest release.
This kind of preoccupation with Apple products is nothing new. Apple’s merchandise is undeniably sexy—its phones and computers are sleekly designed, remarkably lightweight and faintly science fiction-esque. Yet the true genius in Apple’s marketing strategy lies in its ability to exploit Americans’ addiction to new technology.
The supposed never-before-seen advancements of Apple’s products consistently entice Americans. We feel that if we don’t possess the latest piece of technology, we’re somehow missing out on the never-ending stream of development. There will always be something “better” and more appealing on the way, and Apple knows it.
The perception of what pieces of technology we need has changed in recent years, and understandably so. The perceived norm in tech ownership has escalated from the need to have a cellphone, to the need to have a smartphone, to the need to have the latest and greatest smartphone. Yet living in a constant state of dissatisfaction does little to advance our happiness.
Perhaps if we can maintain a reasonable understanding of what we require in our daily lives, we can learn to be happy with what we have—only fleeting gratification can come from possessing a new gadget that is minimally different from its previous version.
The pursuit of happiness aside, society’s reliance on technology is reaching an alarming level. Google recently came out with Google Glass, an interactive pair of glasses that offers hands-free directions and guidance to its users. According to Forbes, General Motors will soon be producing a Cadillac that can drive itself. LG has designed a “smart fridge” that can identify spoiled food and order new groceries. Robots are now completing complex surgeries on human beings and performing assembly work-jobs that used to belong to people, and the list goes on. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Apple’s operation, it’s that technological advancement has no limits.
Perhaps even more importantly, we should consider the manner in which a tech-laden world will affect our children. We were born just a few years after the creation of the World Wide Web, yet technology was far less prevalent then than it is now. But as our lives become increasingly full of gadgets, our reliance on technology will only heighten. If technology does everything for our children, how will they learn to do anything for themselves?
As much as technological advancement scares me, it’s impossible to deny some of its benefits. Modern technology allows us to communicate with anyone in the world in an instant. Computers have helped us learn more about our own anatomy and have consequently saved lives.
Humans must establish and be able to coexist with technology, like with any other species. Right now we’re teetering on the brink between a world in which technology assists us and one in which technology dominates every aspect of our lives. With tech-fever higher than ever, we can only hope we don’t reach the tipping point.