Friday, August 20, 2010

IPhone's facetime destroying face to face time

The commercial is heartbreaking. It begins on an image of a phone where we see the face of an old man. The man is jubilant to be shown something as the the box in the corner turns we see the face of the old man's granddaughter. The old man tries to hold in his feelings but his voice starts to break as he has a heart to heart with his son about their new roles in life.

As a commercial it works great. It details the product's strengths and it shows more then a cool feature: it shows how the feature can impact the lives of the users. There is something scary about this commercial though. Why isn't the grandfather meeting his granddaughter for the first time in person? While yes, if the grandfather was far away the Facetime feature works nicely but seeing a pixelated picture of your granddaughters face is no substitute for not being able to really meet this new person in person. I doubt any new grandfather out there would trade holding his granddaughter for a streamed image but even if it's a last resort it cheapens it.

The second iPhone commercial I saw was even scarier in this respect. It has a man and women, apparently in a relationship, talking about what they've been "working on for awhile". The man realizes what the woman is referring to and they both rejoice at the thought of the two becoming parents.

Now this commercial hints at two aspects of the story between these two: A: they've been trying to have a baby for a while now and B: they have had sex in the past few months. Now why would two people in a relationship need Facetime to be used in this way? The woman couldn't of told the man any other way? They see each other enough to try and have the baby but not enough to celebrate the results of their endeavor? I admit that is way too many rhetorical questions in a row but I was on a roll.

Now common sense dictates that phone conversations do not substitute face time when it comes to important matters. Hell, even high school couples know that it is bad form to break up through text messages. A feature like Facetime does not make the phone any better when it comes to giving important information. Now I doubt Facetime will create a big revolution or be the catalyst for those cool video phones we see in every movie set in the future. Let's hope that people realize that Facetime is not a proper replacement for actual face to face interaction and isn't one more step in the isolation of the individual.

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