I love my gadgets. While I would never stand in line for hours (or in some cases days) for a new device, I would have no problem staying up until the wee hours of the morning clicking the refresh button incessantly to have the device shipped to my door within the first couple weeks of its release. The cruel irony of this trait is the fact that I rarely have the money to justify purchasing these devices.
I didn’t have any need for a laptop when I purchased my first computer after graduating high school. I could have easily used the desktop computers available in the library. I didn’t have any particular need for a smartphone when I moved on from my ‘dumb’ phone. With my smartphone and laptop computer, I had no pressing needs for an iPad. In obtaining each of these items however, the opportunities I had to do new things grew exponentially. I didn’t know I had a need for any of these devices (or screens) in my life until I had experienced each of their unique aspects. Now, it would take a significant adaption to my daily routine to get by without them.
My perspective about the necessity of these devices has also changed drastically. Instead of thinking about whether I really need this new piece of technology, I tend to think about the things I am missing not having that newest smartphone, camera, or gadget. New media is definitely not helping my sense of immediately wanting to adopt the newest toy. Some applications of new media, such as the smart fridge, would still be difficult for me to justify. I don’t need my fridge to email me when the temperature is dropping below a certain level, because that’s never been an issue I’ve had to deal with in my 24 years of life. Things with a more practical application, such as wifi/bluetooth lightbulbs and intelligent thermostats for my heating and cooling system to conserve energy are extremely tempting to me.
I’ve blathered on about a lot of things, especially my bad spending habits. But what it really boils down to is this: Technology is a runaway train, and its difficult to determine who’s at fault or who’s driving it. We lived for centuries without the huge, daily technical advances in technology we see now. Now that the technology exists, we are constantly searching for new ways to apply these mediums to all aspects of our lives. That is not going to change. We are still in the drivers seat (to some extent); we could say we’ve had enough and don’t need to keep evolving and changing, but we don’t do that. We aren’t satisfied with the status quo anymore. I think this is extremely evident with Apple and the iPhone. It is really, really good at what it does. Android manufacturers also do things well, but have seen much more innovation and evolution in terms of design and features. This has resulted in a very high adoption rate for their devices and the supposed ‘plateau’ or even decline of Apple’s stock. We are driving the runaway train with our wallets.