The iPhone Keeps Us Grasping

Open Hand

The iPhone Keeps Us Grasping

Today more than ever we are immersed in a culture of consumerism and demand. We are a generation brought up with iPods, laptops, and in later years iPhones and iPads. We’ve become unaware of the ways we’ve bought into and are hooked on the consumerist impulse. Even a simple commercial on television can catch our attention by the way it appeals to our senses, the environment being displayed in the scenes, and in doing so keeps us grasping for the newest and latest product. So often today we catch ourselves falling for these misconceptions because they’re everywhere.
Apple’s preview video of the iPhone 6 easily appeals to the viewer, whether it be a thirteen year old girl or a CEO of a major comapany. The video is only thirty seconds long but encapsulates a lot of eye grabbing points. It is also very fast paced and only slows down at the end. It begins describing how the new iPhone hasn’t changed much at all, then goes into the ways that it has. It shows that the iPhone has new features on the camera, ways of checking flights, to book a dinner, and better quality to access music. The commercial then slows down to a clip of Jamie Foxx singing to the music on his phone in front of a mirror in his modern and high style room. The narrator of the commercial then asks Foxx if he’s listening to his own song, which he then turns off and acts as he is receiving a phone call. The narrator then says that pretty much everything you do feels different while the screen shows a man in front of a beach and has a sentence across the screen saying that the only thing that’s changed is everything.
In such a short amount of time, Apple appealed to many different kinds of people. Through this video, it showed different types of people using the new iPhone around different yet typical environments. It started with a group of men out hiking near a river and mountains, a man in a skyscraper restaurant overlooking a city, two young girls at a rock concert, a little girl jumping on a bed, someone sending a text in a car, a surfer checking his Instagram in his surf shop, a young couple on a mo-ped in a foreign country on vacation, Jamie Foxx singing in his room, and another couple sitting on a beach. In these glimpses the video appealed to many different parts of the world, different lifestyles, and different ways that people use the iPhone in their daily lives. It appeals to the common man desiring a getaway by placing a couple on a trip somewhere. Having Jamie Foxx in a scene displays someone who is famous using the iPhone just like any other person would, and also attracts the higher class of people who use iPhones and people who favor Jamie Foxx. It speaks to the common man by placing the iPhone in several different every day situations like in a grocery store or having a child jump on a bed in slo-mo. By placing the iPhone in several every day places, Apple displays that “nothing has changed”.
The new look of the iPhone is what grabbed people’s attention when trying to sell “everything has changed”. Even though it still looks like an iPhone, it has changed. The narrator uses a common description people say that the iPhone “feels different”. The iPhone looks more sophisticated, clean, polished, larger, and a more magnificent version of the iPhone. But thats just it, the iPhone 6 is just another better version. In a year or so there will be a more exquisite version of it, and there will be even better features. “The only thing that changed is everything” is correct in saying the constant in all of these environments has in some way become people’s everything, and that has changed a bit. The irony of the scene at the end is that the video slows down and focus on the couple sitting on the beach watching the end of a sun set while the sentence says thats the only thing that changed is everything. The two opposites are the slow moving scene where the couple sit and enjoy time together and the fast moving life an iPhone keeps us in as it quickly becomes a necessity in our lives and to some degree becomes our “everything”.
The effective method this video has accomplished makes one want to go out and buy this new iPhone. This thirty second clip in between a commercial break will determine if one sits outside an apple store for hours waiting in line to get this new phone instead of hours with the people who mean the most in their life. The preoccupation our society has today over the newest and latest smartphone has an underlying effect that isn’t new but needs to be brought to light again. The obsession with having the new iPhone reveals that we are a culture deeply effected by consumerism. We’ve become a people who grasp after the newest and latest thing we see. We don’t take value in what we have because in the end its never good enough. Once the newest and latest iPhone comes out suddenly we become tired of our iPhone. We see better features and a nicer look, and we see our phone becoming outdated. We simply degrade what we have and move on to whats next. By doing so we become a people who grasp, and the more we grasp at the next and newest cell phone we ultimately lack gratitude. We have allowed, through the consumerism effects of our “everything”, to throw away the things that are still of value and worth. If we keep grasping towards things in our lives we can live without, such as an iPhone, what greater effects it has on the things we can’t live without, such as people, relationships, and love. The anecdote for our grasping is gratitude. It’s putting down the phone and seeing what’s around us and being thankful. The commercial gives us the anecdote. In the very last scene, the man turns off his phone and walks over to sit down with a woman as they watch the end of the sunset by the beach. This is appealing to the human heart because it captures more than an iPhone can. Gratitude invites us to move away from grasping by turning off the phone and seeing the person in front of us. People help us release the grip we hold to the “everything” that we have in our life. The person in front of us is much more valuable than a cellphone or the latest post on social media. Spending time with others makes us put down the phone and see each other, not through a lens of a camera or on a Facebook post, but as we are.
Although this is not something new, it is just presented in a new form that needs to be brought to the front. The new iPhone commercial certainly stirs us to go and buy the newest and latest edition, but will we ask ourselves if what we have is good enough for now? Will we keep the phone we have till it breaks or becomes unusable? Have we allowed our iPhone to become our “eveything” and come before our relationships with other people? Will we stop grasping for the next new thing and see who is in front of us? How can we change daily habits to become a better human beings? Will we look towards others with gratitude or subjectivity?

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