Broken Connections

My iPhone 4s is two weeks old today. I got it the day it came out because I got swept up in the hype that might see Apple’s profits hit $40bn this quarter.

I read about this as I was reading about the public sector cuts and an increase in graduate unemployment and whisperings of another dip into a recession that it feels like we never left. It is hard to reconcile these two poles. A bleak prognosis for the economy, the NHS, education, the things that make up the cornerstones of society AND a shiny new product that takes the effort out of texting and appears to have become the must-have item of 2011.

I am not sure what to make of it.

I am not even sure that there is anything to make of it. Surely it’s positive that there’s money to spend. Plus, there’s little doubt that Apple’s products have become synonymous with technical advances and the more joined up communications that these advances facilitate.

I was going to say “for some” but then, apparently, the number of mobile phones will exceed the number of people soon.

There is something disturbing and vacant about this thought. Products without people. Consumption gone wild. A disconnect between the speed that we’re moving forward in some areas and foundations that seem to be crumbling –

I’d say that we’ve got the priorities wrong, but then the brilliance of the iPhone lies, partly, in its ability to connect people and in its incredible efficiency. We need these things, not to mention the creativity and innovation that Apple amply demonstrates.

And yet…

Like the increasing imbalance between rich and poor. Or the seesaw shift from local retailer to multi-national. Or the speed of technical innovation in the light of what feels like social regression. There is a gaping divide that makes it difficult to celebrate these things. A disconnection between the version of life that one presents and the reality that many are living which is, when examined, extremely uncomfortable.

Things are always off-kilter when they’re undergoing change. Maybe that’s how it is now. A period where the weightings don’t level up and there is a tension in the stretch between here and now and where we want to be. Bits that we are getting right and bits at which we are colossally – and increasingly – failing.

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