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The iNeed generation

By: Meg O’Connell

Apple announced today that they will no longer be producing iPads, iPhones or iPods in a press release last Wednesday.

Okay, so that isn’t true at all. If it were though, how many people would freak out as if it were the end of the world?

We live in a time that can be characterized as technologically dependant; smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, tablets, MP3 players and iPods are glued to the hands of most people today. I personally can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a cell phone. These devices have weaseled their way into our lives and convergence has made them stick.

According to IAB Canada, with 25.9 million mobile subscribers as of 2011, almost 85 per cent of Canadians are cellphone subscribers. As of December 2011, 45 per cent of mobile subscribers in Canada now have smartphones.

The promise is speed and convenience, a seductive premise that has become a necessity in the lives-and workplaces- of most people.

“I was in Toronto when the new iPhone was released this year,” said Brittney Harris, first-year general arts and science student at Algonquin. “I can’t even tell you how long the line was at the Apple store, people had clearly been waiting for forever and the lineup was longer than you’d believe. I was actually going to see if I could get my hands on one at one point before coming home but there was no chance I was even going to see the inside of any of the stores.”

This isn’t completely baffling, as it’s rare now to see anyone anywhere that isn’t on his or her phone, iPad, or has their headphones in their ears.

Have we really become a society that will go out with family and friends and not turn off our electronic devices? What havppened to appreciating the company you were with and being present in the moment?

Videos have emerged everywhere of people walking into things and falling into water fountains because they’re texting and not looking where they’re going. That’s ridiculous. People wait in line for hours just to purchase the new Apple product, even if the only difference between the new model and the “old” is a wider screen and a half-inch thinner body. What compels us to feel the need to spend countless hours and thousands of dollars on these pieces of plastic, metal and wire?

It’s humourous to me that one of the more appealing aspects of the majority of these products are the opportunities they present for social activity. You can message your friends faster, make face-to-face calls with your family, share your thoughts on your day (or a picture of what you’ve eaten for breakfast) with those you care about; get in touch with more people in more ways than you can imagine, faster. That’s great and all, but whose company are you ignoring while you’re sending that photo to your cousin three feet away from you on Instagram so that they can Tweet it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no exception. I myself have an iPhone, an iPod, a Blackberry I’ve kept for no real reason, Facebook and two Twitter accounts. I’m not a big baller on Wall Street; I’m not a celebrity or YouTube sensation, a drug dealer, or a personal assistant handling any PR and media pages. I’m a student who enjoys having devices and social media platforms that allow me to say and send what I want, when I want to.

The big question is, what would you do if your cell phone stopped be able to send or receive texts?

I’m just saying, if RIM and Apple declared bankruptcy tomorrow and stopped producing their products, what would happen? Would today’s society be alright with functioning in a world that didn’t revolve around how many bars you
had or if your Internet was connected?

Would we even be able to?

The Algonquin Times is a newspaper produced by journalism students for the Algonquin College community.

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