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How Apple’s Transcendent Chihuahua Killed the Revolution (longreads.com)
16 points by bootload on June 17, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments



Sorry to be so critical, but this article really feels like it's trying to hard to make some elaborate point. It's seems kind of like a long bitching session about modern technology that somehow manages to blame everything on Apple (because that's a popular target, I guess). Or maybe it changes target halfway through - I don't know, after about 5 minutes of reading I started skimming.

I think the eventual point is that we are so busy with Apple's gadgets that we don't have the time to consider whether the world is going the way we want.

If so, again that's a cheap shot at Apple, who's hardly the main driver or benefactor of modern society's obsession with vacuous and constant entertainment over substance.

Apple didn't kill the revolution (if the revolution has indeed been killed). Society killed the revolution. We're heading for a Brave New World type society of sated indifference, and most people seem to be ok with that (even though a few vigorously disagree). That's hardly something to lay at Apple's feet.


At the end of the day, there are 3 main players molding a great deal of the tech world, and Apple is one of them.


"Few are excited about the Apple Watch"

I feel the author has extrapolated his feelings onto the population of the world. Apple is selling 5-8x as many Watches as it sold iPhones when it launched.

36-50m excited people is a lot of excited people.

Apple sold 6.1 million first generation iPhone units over five quarters.[1]

Apple is predicted to sell 36-50m Apple watches in its first year[2]

[1] http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/01/21Apple-Reports-Firs...

[2]http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-watch-sales-to-reach-36-milli...


Projection is too easy, sadly.


Well that was pretty miserable.

I sort of feel like the author has entirely surrendered to the ennui he describes, but he doesn't have to. He doesn't have to tend to his Vine profile, he doesn't have to accept the implicit delegation of tasks to him by email.

Particularly in the social media areas, the claimed obligation is really nothing more than vanity. It doesn't matter in the slightest if I am popular on Instagram - to attempt such a thing would only be an exercise in self-gratification.

I also have a fundamental problem with claims of planned obsolescence (all of the devices that run last year's Apple OS upgrades will run this year's. Talk to some Apple engineers about how much time they spend trying to make things work for users on older devices - this is done not for evil reasons, it's done because they care).

Looking back and panning the original iPhone as being crude and slow seems somewhat unfair given the vast increases in hardware performance that have happened since. Yes, the iPhone was pushing the hardware limits in 2007, and yes it was a primitive product compared to what we have now, but all phones back then were slow - the difference was that the others were ugly and ill-conceived, as well as being slow.

It seems very strange to me to claim that the purpose of the iPhone was to teach us how to accommodate treating a tiny device carefully. The only way to make a networked, general-purpose computer fit in your pocket, is to make it the size of your hand, which means it's small, its components are small, its case is packed tight with hardware, and its input surface is small. If the author feels this can be fixed, he stands to make a considerable amount of money, presumably by inventing holographic UIs, or direct brain interfaces. Otherwise, I will continue to think that the purpose of the iPhone was to put a computer in my pocket. That it is fragile and needs to be used precisely, is a necessary compromise for its form factor.

Is it possible to unwittingly make yourself a slave to the technology? Of course, but it's possible to unwittingly make yourself a slave to almost anything. I think that is the key failing of this piece, it seeks to place the technology at the centre of the argument, with Apple standing above us, herding us into digital stables. Instead, we are at the centre of the argument. We control how obligated we feel towards any ephemeral, abstract collection of bytes.

So, delete your Facebook profile and go for a hike. Or, don't. Either way, own your choice and never submit to ennui. You chose, not someone/something else :)


Funny how memories of the same event can vary among people. When thinking back to the original iPhone I remember my business partner saying how it was the first thing that made her excited about new technology in a long time. I was skeptical, but became an instant convert the first time I tried it.


There are a million ways to say "you kids get off my lawn".

I can't imagine there not being a backlash. I personally never lashed in the first place; I find slab phones tedious and will buy the last flip phone offered. I don't text; I don't chat; I don't get that much email. My Facebook feed has become a magazine I trawl through in some imaginary waiting room.

The Chihuahua metaphor works for me. Chihuahua dogs of good character still challenge the perception of those who think a dog should be on a human scale.


this article is extremely overwrought. it's hard to get past the author's delight in his own cleverness.

anyway, I am getting bored with articles describing how smartphones are ruining our culture. smartphones are a natural result of digital hardware development. if apple hadn't released the iPhone someone else would have gotten there eventually. they are the ultimate computer, the end of the road for devices that have an LCD screen. the next big step will be something like a HUD or direct brain interface. meanwhile, annoying quirks and flaws in the software will recede over time, just like cooperative multitasking and DLL hell receded from desktop OS's.

I agree that smartphones are damaging our culture. so do many others. what are we going to do about it? smartphones aren't going away. sadly, it's in the developer's economic interest to exploit addiction behavior in its users. it all feels inevitable to me. so I don't care how eloquently you describe the culture damage, I want to hear your ideas on how to fix it.


The original iPhone was crude and slow? Was it, now?

I had an iPod touch 2nd gen (nearly identical hardware) back in 2009. It was wonderful. It may have had 128MB of RAM but unless you jailbroke it, you really couldn't tell.


What leads someone to change the default black colour of text to grey? Why would anyone purposefully make the text so hard to read, specially on website dedicated to long texts?




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