Headshots: iPhones for the iPeople

WHEN HEADSHOTS WAS JUST A WEE BAIRN OF A COLUMN, bouncing up and down on our daddy’s knee, we dreamed of a world with gadgets-a-plenty. Video phones, robot butlers, and flying skateboards were just a few of the technological advances that Back to the Future promised. But alas, reality arrived and Marty McFly got a debilitating disease and all we’re left with is, well, the iPhone.

Before cell phones we left messages, answered phones plugged into walls, and were generally patient. But in the era of now, right now, TEN MINUTES AGO, our thirst for the better telecommunication device has made Apple the largest economic power in the world next to pornography, and given tens of thousands of jobs to oppressed Chinese child laborers. But still no damn flying skateboards.

So as the world gets faster, and our need to check in on the Kardashian increases exponentially, the next generation of gadget we must have has arrived. Apple’s iPhone 5 has, once again, proved that there is nothing the public loves more than a smartphone. But does it really do enough for us? Headshots considers some features missing from the latest Apple gadget.

1. Love

For all of its Siris and texting and Face Time and Skyping and Angry Birds, the iPhone 5 is still incapable of love. Oh, sure, people say “I love my iPhone” and “I can’t live without my iPhone” and “I’m not going nowhere without my iPhone” but really, as soon as the new and improved version comes along, they upgrade. In fact, so absent of the ability to love, and so fickle in its wayward eye, Headshots believes that iPhone is a lot like our ex-wife. Slick, pretty, expensive, and always ready for an upgrade. It should be called Carol.

2. Breathalyzer

Why this wasn’t added to the iPhone 2 is beyond me. As soon as text messaging was invented, and then facilitated by the ease of the iPhone, a built-in breathalyzer app should have been available. How many relationships have been destroyed by drunk 4am texts? How many empires will fall because of afternoon cocktails and easy voice messaging? How many ex-girlfriends need to be texted: “Dammit, if you’re not going to love me I’m turning this balloon into a vaginas hamper” before an iPhone protects us from ourselves? I’d pay 99 cents. It’s just as useful as Angry Birds or Fatty Face.

3. Affordability

Despite the fact that Apple has constructed whole civilizations in China built around the small, tireless hands of skilled Chinese 4 year-olds, the iPhone is still ridiculously expensive. Imagine going back 10 years and telling yourself that one day you’d pay $600 for a telephone. You’d beat yourself like a — like a — like a 4 year-old Chinese Apple employee complaining about a 46 hour shift. I’m assuming that all Apple execs have private islands, gold plated everything, robot butler, and, yes, flying skateboards.

If the iPhone is going to cost the same amount as my first car, hell, my current car, shouldn’t it not oppress the innocent children of a communist dictatorship?

4. Sexual Gratification

Oh, sure, you can stream porn on your saran-wrapped phone while masturbating in the shower while your wife packs the kids lunches, but is that the sexual gratification you want from a phone that costs the same as a semester at Dartmouth? If I’m shelling out six bills for something that fits in my pants, I want Apple to do some business down there. Massage my digits. Rankle my apps. Tickle my settings. Felate my personal hotspot. Fluff my iCloud. Adjust my volume. Put me in airplane mode while my WiFi connects to an unknown network.

5. The Meaning of Life

According to Douglas Adams’ seminal Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is 42. And while that answer kept most of us content through the ’90s and ’00s, the arrival of the ’10s has us thirsting for more.

But no, the iPhone, for all of its genius has no answer to the meaning of life. Adams’ book was only five bucks, and he gave us 42. Ask Siri the meaning of life, and you get directions to the nearest Starbucks. You’re telling my that at Apple Inc., they don’t have any of their Geniuses working on this? Then why call them Geniuses? A phone that can text, video conference, and explain what separates us from the animals would come in very handy, especially during bar arguments and commercial breaks.

So run don’t walk to your local phonery and Apple Store for a $600 piece of child labor crafted plastic that doesn’t fly, won’t love or love up on you, protect you from being studpid after 10 cocktails, and doesn’t know the meaning of life.

Get a dog.

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Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).

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