The iPhone X and what is to come in our technological future
By James Poulos
Apple in the Tim Cook era has been a big disappointment. Instead of the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs, which mattered so much because it translated directly into specific discipline around executing on core product promises, Cook has allowed Apple to go strangely slack and muddy its message. Cook’s is the Apple of questionable forays into television, driverless cars and troublesome wireless earbuds described by the company as an act of courage. But one thing Apple has stood by is the inexorable progress of the iPhone, and herein lies a problem.
From the standpoint of people who are increasingly unconvinced that Silicon Valley has cracked the code of the pursuit of happiness, Apple’s slippage toward disappointment is actually heartening news. We should, they think, snap out of our understandable but foolhardy collective delusions about the health and joy of ever-more-technological life. Apple losing its buzz helps recalibrate our shared lives back toward our enduring humanity and the tactile, durable analog technologies that keep us rooted in reality and preserve us from dissipating our consciousness and intentionality online.
But the burgeoning culture of skepticism toward digital utopia has definitely not spread to the core constituency of tech progressivism. The smashing success of the iPhone X — complete with its Face ID recognition and its mapping of users’s faces onto animated animal emoji — suggests that a small but sizable segment of the population genuinely wants to pull away from the rest of us by hitching their slice of society to the permanent evolution of technological capability as the established companies develop it.
Apple’s website indicated the phone had sold out in a host of major cities spread across the country — New York, Philadelphia and Boston in the Northeast; Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and Milwaukee in the nation’s midsection; Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin […]