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Apple's Long Con For Human Connection

Posted 7 October 2014 10:54 AM by Sasha Von Hanna

Yesterday, I was telling my husband that I heard the newest iOS update for the iPhone—which I’ve yet to download due to inadequate memory —includes audio text. He seemed perplexed by the idea.

“It's a text message of a voice recording,” I explained. “So it’s like a voicemail, but it comes directly to your text messages. It’s a little easier than clicking the voicemail button, and it captures the inflections and tones of your voice in a way that voice-to-text can’t.

“I get sick of texting. And voice-to-text comes out all weird because I have to articulate and verbalize my punctuation — which makes my message askew. I never leave messages; too many people have full voicemail boxes or just don’t listen to their messages in the first place.”  

He smiled to himself. "Is Steve Jobs pulling a long con?"

Ha, can you imagine? I thought. I hope he is. I took the bait: "What’s the con?" I asked.

Now he smiled at me. “Apple is trying to get humans to communicate with each other through technology — using their true voices."

I smiled back. “I hope you’re right. In fact, I read an article in the New York Times about how Steve Jobs raised his kids low tech. He didn’t let them use iPads.”

“Oh, really?” He raised a brow. “Why not?”

“There was no direct quote from Jobs, but I can see its purpose reflected in your ‘long con’ theory — that it’s about creating human connection and conversation. Being real with or without a screen.

“The article did suggest — and I agree — that a complete ‘ban [on devices] could backfire and create a digital monster.’ It also mentioned that Jobs ‘made a point of having dinner, at the big long table in the kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things.’”

Now just think about that for a minute. I love the beauty of it. How long have we been hearing that texting culture has ruined the art of conversation? Think about all of these evolving devices and uses. When cell phones first hit the market, the thrill was in being able to talk to people while on the go and being reachable beyond a home or work phone — or by using a pager to request a call. But when texting first became available, mobile devices became all about quick communication.

“On the way.”
“Running late.”
“Trying to park.”

It wasn't supposed to be the sole means of communication. The buttons are too tiny and language is too big. Then text shorthand took over.

“OTW”
“cu tmrw”
“Thx 4 a gr8 time”

Predicative texting and autocorrect were introduced to simplify communication and make texting less tedious. It can be helpful, but more often than not, it’s simply fodder for LOLs.

Emoticons can help express feelings in creative, simple, thoughtless, funny and/or annoying ways.

And with so much texting, carriers started offering unlimited texting rather than unlimited talking minutes. With all the texting, we have lost the true meaning of what we are trying to convey — and, in turn, the human connection.

And so we’ve come full circle. Imagined or not, Steve Jobs’ long con has led us right back to where we started: the human voice.

Now I need to clear some space for iOS 8.0.2 so that I can use my voice to communicate again. You will hear my excitement with no actual exclamation points, and you will hear me actually laugh out loud. But don't worry; when I’m having a crappy day, I’ll still text one of these.

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Comments

  • Jabari Adisa said:
    10/9/2014 4:51 PM

    Great points. Enjoyable writing. :) Re: Updating to iOS 8- there's no need to clear any data if you plug the phone into your computer and allow iTunes to do all the work.

  • mariaandreson said:
    10/29/2014 8:35 AM

    Apple's newest update has been release on 20th of October. I am glad because it updated my Apple devices to IOS 8.1 beta new version.

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