While watching Apple’s announcement of new iPhones and other devices yesterday, one thing struck me as wrong. As the company keeps pushing the edges of the technology envelope, I’m amazed by what computer engineers and scientists can squeeze into our all-knowing pocket computers — but bothered by the insistence that we see everything in the world through the lens of a smartphone.
This was never more true than when Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing VP, showed off some new augmented reality software. In particular, he highlighted one overlay app that, when you point the phone at the sky, will show all the constellations above you.
The explosion in smartphone use over the last decade has created a global population of humans who spend too much of their life looking down at a device in their hands. We already have enough trouble getting people to look up from their phones in the first place to view the real world around them. When they do put down the electronics for a moment to gaze at the stars at night or a blue sky (or a sweet swirl of clouds) during the day, I wish they’d simply be amazed at the universe we live in. Take in reality and reflect upon it on a grand scale, not through some four-inch wide screen.
Of course, it could be worse. The smartphone-addicted could be spending hours playing with Apple’s other ridiculous new offering — a customizable “animoji” that allows you to provide the facial features and voice for a talking pile of crap.
By the way, that’s old technology. I worked for a boss who personified exactly that a couple of decades ago.