Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Sep. 12th
It’s been a while since I had a news hangover, but I’m counting today as one of those days. A whole lot of information coming in at a fast clip and only so much time to process it.
Not that the “news” from the Apple iPhone 5 press conference needed processing. That was preactiacally pre-chewed thnaks to the way that the gadget press masticates over every rumor and tip that leaks out of the Apple supply chain. The net result: press conferences with zero-zip. Apple events are hyped up as nerd Christmas, and as a group we tech-heads spend most of the year trying to figure out what’s under the wrapper.
Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook declaring that the Cupertino powerhouse would be doubling down on security we knew pretty much every detail of today’s product announcements before they happend. It reminds me of the way the film fan press does their damndest to find out everything there is to know about a movie before its released. There’s a reason why that knowledged is known as spoilers: it kills part of the joy of a story, the discovery aspect.
Apple press conferences are stories too. The story of the forward march of technological progress. Sometimes its in leaps and bounds: the original iPhone, the iPad, the Retina Display. Sometimes its refinements, iterative advancements. That’s what today was… or what it wound up being once we had seen all the preview leaks.
Sure, no one forces folks like us to actually LOOK at the leaks any more than they force us to read spoilers. They’re just there, mocking us with their smug knowledge the entire time. Laying just a click away. We all love secrets, especially shared ones. I sometimes wonder, however, if the motivation of the spoiler hunters is really about that native curiosity, or if it has more to do with a desire to inject themselves into the narrative. Jealous of the the talent of the creatives, they steal a little magic by stealing the thunder of a good surprise.
The worst part about tech rumors is that they add to the effect that writer Ventakesh Rao identifies as “manufactured normalcy“. That’s the reason why, as Louis CK noted, “everything’s amazing and no one is happy”. We live in an age of wonders. One that has real downsides, but the inability of the world’s largest comsumer electronics company to reinvent something as fundanmental as the phone every year sure as hell isn’t one of them.
I don’t expect that the technoratti will be breaking their gadget porn habit any time soon. Heck, I’ll be shocked if I can resist clicking on the next ‘EXCLUSIVE! POSSIBLE LEAKED PHOTOS OF WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE AN APPLE IPAD TENNIS SHOE PROTOTYPE!!!” that goes out over the RSS wire.
When I do, I’ll be a less of a person because of it.