Editorial: The latest and greatest

Trent Ernst. Editor


On Monday, amidst the usual breathless media rush, Apple held its second event for the Apple Watch.

Now, if you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of an Apple Fan. Back when I was in grade 7, I used to sneak into the computer lab to play on, and sometimes program, the school’s lone Apple IIe.

When the school got a bunch of new computers, called IBM PCs, I got all excited, until I discovered that the program that we’d be learning on these new computers was something called Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program. It was basically a  glorified calculator for accounting.

I didn’t want to be an accountant, I wanted to learn about computers, but if this was what computers were going to be, I was going to give up on them, and it took another five or six years before I discovered Tetris, and suddenly computers were cool again.

But while I’ve embraced my inner nerd, I’ve never been one to give into it completely. I’ve never become a gadget hound, chasing after the latest and greatest.

So, when the Apple Watch finally comes out, don’t go looking at my wrist to see what it looks like, because I won’t have one, at least not for a while.

I’ll admit if I was independently wealthy, I probably would be picking up one of the brand new solid gold watches (starting at $10,000….), but fortunately, I am not.

I know a bunch of you are probably mocking me right now, as you buff your Ski-Doo T3 Summit X-174, which you have loaded on the back of your 2015 Sierra Denali. Or maybe it’s your 2015 Raptor 700R. Or your Cannondale F29si. Or your Galaxy 6 edge. Or…well, you get the picture. Most everyone has something that gets them going.

For me, it’s gadgets, but as much as I like to play with them, I don’t really have much desire to own the latest and greatest. Well, I do, but that’s tempered by the fact that I don’t have the budget for it.

Indeed, I still make do with an iPhone 4 as my phone of choice, which was the first smartphone I ever bought, three years after the iPhone was introduced and well over four years ago now.

Back when the last round of iPhones came out (and yes, Mike, I will continue to use iPhones as I am invested in that eco-system though the new S6 does look pretty cool) I walked right up to the edge of buying a new one. I was down in Vancouver, I was in the Apple Store, I had one in my hand, and…

And I put it down and walked away. Sure, I could justify buying a new phone. The phone I use is four years old now, which, is ancient in the realm of technology. I can’t get the new OS. It doesn’t have a fingerprint reader or Apple Pay, or…

And I don’t care. Much.  In fact, I’m curious to see how long this phone will last. How many more months or years will it continue to work for me? We live in a culture that idolizes the latest and greatest, the newest and the bestest. I know I can’t exist outside of culture but I am curious to see if I can at least fight against the current for a little while.

Because as much as I love gadgets, I know that, if I let myself be swayed by the gadget itself and how pretty, how powerful it is, I’ll lose sight of what’s really important, which is what the gadget allows me to do. In the case of the iPhone (and Apple Watch), it is to communicate with friends and family, to listen to music and books and to connect to my external brain (read: Google), all of which I can do on my current phone.