The Cycle of Insane Anticipation Followed by Unavoidable Letdown
Like many of you, I suspect, I felt a sense of disappointment when Apple debuted the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5 earlier this year. It didn’t matter that the 4S had all manner of new features and a better camera and gave you the closest thing to a Star Trek communicator you could talk to instead of having to touch–I’d worked myself up to expect something called “iPhone 5,” and anything that included the number “4” just couldn’t measure up. And then I realized that I was being an idiot, and that if exactly the same phone had been called “iPhone 5,” I would’ve been excited and immediately making plans to buy one and justify it to myself in some unlikely manner.
I have no idea whether there’s a solution to this cycle of believing the hype about whatever the “next big thing” is–even though you know, on some level, that said hype is at least 10% hyperbole and unlikely to be satisfied by reality–and then feeling a sense of profound, inexplicable disappointment when said next big thing is released and turns out to only be “awesome” instead of “mind-meltingly awesome.” Maybe we’ll come up with a way to fix this all-too-human shortcoming in 2012 (but okay, probably not).
For not just calling it an iPhone 5, because, really, “4S”? What’s that all about? Would it have killed you to be less contrary, just once?
This feels like kicking a dead horse–I may just have mixed several metaphors there, sorry–but the frustration of browsing the Internet on your iOS device, only to come up again and again against sites that either won’t load or won’t work properly because they’re Flash-based, is the kind of small thing that, at first, you laugh off and barely care about, but which builds and builds and builds until you wish that you had the ability to travel back in time and convince Macromedia that they should really reconsider their plans, because one day someone will invent something called an iPad and then they’ll just regret wasting their time. I mean, seriously guys.
Five Things I’m Grateful For This Year
- SOPA not being passed, although it’s still very possible, of course–just a slight delay as opposed to any kind of legitimate change in the way digital legislation is going to turn out in the U.S. Nonetheless, it’s been heartening to see so much debate about the subject, and to watch people get involved and try to educate themselves.
- Echoing Doug slightly, social media. Watching Twitter and Facebook play a large role in organizing protests and changing the world has been humbling and more than a little inspiring.
- Steve Jobs. I think it goes without saying how important and influential he was to technology and its integration into people’s everyday lives, right? I mean, I can imagine a world without the iPod and iPad, but it’s not as much fun as the one we have now.
- Anonymous. Love them or hate them, there’s something compelling about the amorphous group of online activists that occasionally threaten action against places like Fox News or Facebook that never actually happens, but then declare war on pedophiles and show that they’re really not messing about. I think the Internet is a better place for their existence, in some weird way.
- The decentralization of media. As much as I may (and do) complain about the way the online mentality that everything should be free devalues creative talent to the point of endangering it–now we’re circling back to my argument against an entertainment singularity at the outset–I love that things like YouTube or podcasts or whatever democratizes media and opens it up to those who wouldn’t have been able to find an audience under old media rules. It’s nice to find new voices that you wouldn’t expect to hear.
MORE: Tech Buyers’ Guide 2011
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.