When I was child growing up in a small rural town in upstate New York our household could receive three TV channels, listen to a couple of local radio stations (and more at night), read a single daily newspaper (and a few from New York City the next day), and make calls on a single telephone.
Those days are gone and today we’re inundated with ways to communicate with one another, and even more ways for others to communicate with us, thanks to the
mis-information information superhighway. As a Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch user Apple has provided customers with many, many options to communicate or receive communication. I’m no longer convinced that’s a good thing.
On Walking And Talking
Last week my wife and I were watching news on TV, browsing through Flipboard on our iPads, and I received a text message in Messages. From my wife. The same wife sitting about three feet away. Anybody see a problem with that?
Back in the day my grandfather and grandmother lived with us and I noticed he would never bother to use the telephone. One day I asked why. He said, “If I need to talk to someone I’ll just walk over to their house.” Yes, times have changed. Today I can FaceTime or Skype with friends, family, or co-workers anywhere in the world (wherever there’s electricity and an internet connection) and the price per call is negligible.
My Mac, iPhone, and iPad have FaceTime, Skype, Mail, Messages, WhatsApp, Line, Twitter, Facebook, and a dozen other apps which slice and dice society in various and sundry groups of people; human circles that may or may not but mostly do not overlap. Line is big in Asia. WhatsApp is big in Europe. FaceTime is great. For Apple’s customers. Skype covers almost everything but nobody seems to have it running all the time (“Text me, and we can setup a Skype call“). Our PC friends use Skype. Our Mac friends use FaceTime. Our iPhone and iPad friends use Messages, but have half a dozen or more apps or social networks they’re logged into all the time.
A Mess ‘O Options
It’s a mess out there and with all those communication options– both mass and personal– it looks as if we’re not communicating at all. Sure, maybe Apple’s Steve Jobs had a reality distortion field when he spoke about Apple, but today’s politicians seem to have an indestructable fact free zone around them at all times. Candidates use social media to spread their propaganda, half-truths, and pure lies, and while there are fact checkers everywhere, nobody seems to be paying attention.
Communication in the 21st century isn’t better than it was in the 20th century without the internet, without cable TV, without a million websites spewing hateful propaganda 24/7. Fox News made a fortune by claiming fair and balanced but has become the most mainstream of the mainstream media it railed against for two decades.
Where does Apple fit into this mass communication and fragmentation mess?
Apple has come down on the side of personal privacy which sets it apart from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, and the company’s main products seem to be able to connect to any stream of consciousness coming from the right or left, or right of the right, or left of the left, which, frankly, only exacerbates the communication fragmentation problem. Yes, it’s not Apple’s job to be the application police (despite the company’s walled garden Disneyesque approach to certifying apps on App Stores) but I long to see a media outlet that focuses on fact vs. sensationalizing fiction.
If Trump can jockey himself into an alt-right position for a future Trump TV, why can’t Apple become the voice of reason, sanity, and fact presenter of media? I submit my vote for a purely centrist Apple Streaming Television network.