My radar is currently tracking the latest gadget, the iPhone 4, but not for the reasons you may think. I think it has the potential to change the way we work and maybe even how we live. Hang on, hang on, I’m not planning to load a YouTube commerical to get on the Apple payroll. I came to this belief after I watched a few of the iPhone 4 commercials where a new grandfather is born when his son introduces his newborn or where a young woman shares her pregnancy with her husband. The first thing that struck me is that while they were talking, they were looking at each other. Sounds mundane but think about it. We’ve spent the last eight or so years communicating via text message or short instant messages instead of talking directly to people or even picking up the phone to talk rather than text.
We’ve been living in a world that has been communicating as if we always have something better to do. Now I’m thinking about how people will use these iPhones. I think people may have this other option to not have their conversation while they’re driving, while they’re walking through the store or doing all of these other things that distract them when they’re not really paying attention to you but they’re on the phone with you nonetheless. Well now, with this phone and it’s video camera, you’re forced to stop and look into the eyes of the person on the other side of the phone listening to what you have to say or hearing that you’ve just become a new father. If you’re not paying attention they know about it because you’re right there in front of them.
So I’m wondering how this is going to change the attention span of the people using this phone now. Are their conversations going to get shorter? Is it really even going to get used that much because not every iPhone4 customer has iPhone4 friends? Will people take the time to really use it when they’re sitting down, looking into your eyes and have a conversation or will they just go back to their impersonal texting after the novelty of video calling wears off? Or will it change the way people talk and we’ll stop shopping while talking (loudly, I might add) on their cell and stop calling from their cars while they drive?
Sadly, I don’t think this device, in all of it’s expensive glory, will change us all on it’s own but you have to wonder how this is going to change how we spend time with each other at least for the next few years. I believe it is a rare occurrence when a phone call is taken with complete undivided attention and that, in my opinion, is what most of us really crave from one another. Let’s just make an effort to avoid those calls in the bathroom!