Releasing the iPhone 11, an admirable pursuit?
For the past decade, the role of Apple in the digital world has grown tremendously, becoming an industry that is both leading and constantly changing the consumer electronics and smartphone market. Yet, when you consider the cultural impact of Apple on our modern-day society it’s interesting to analyze Apple’s new release of the iPhone 11 and how it might influence our daily life.
SO what’s the new hype?
When seeing the release of the new iPhone 11 the main hype stems from its new camera because you can get up to three of them now. The cutting edge camera system includes 12 megapixels and a wide lens which allows the user to take better photos in low lights and shoot 4K film and videos. Yet, as a photographer myself, the aspect of the new camera system that scares me the most is the new portrait mode that allows users to take studio-like photos that would have normally taken me at least an hour to do by just pressing on a screen. Essentially the new portrait mode can change your background into a white wall that makes the photo look as if it was taken in a studio. The studio portrait photo ends up resembling the product a professional photographer could have easily produced. What Apple is doing to the new Iphone’s camera system could very easily blur the lines between amateur and professional photography. Is that a bad thing though? I personally feel very conflicted about this topic as I, on the one hand, would love to support easier access to camera systems and software programs that normally can cost a lot for one person. Instead of having to spend money to buy a DSLR camera and whatever editing program you need you can get it all on your phone. But allowing people to skip the process of editing a photo and just get the results through a filter could also encourage a mindset that neglects the importance of supervising the entire process of photo making for a more detailed and personal result. So it’s going to be interesting to see how the new camera features of the iPhone 11 are going to influence the way amateur photography is perceived.
What else is there to talk about?
Another interesting attribute worth mentioning is featured in the iPhone 11 Pro and Max that includes the Apple-designed chip called U1 which enables ultra-wideband positioning that allows your device to communicate with other U1 devices. The new chip increases the spacial awareness of the iPhone which makes it more efficient in pinpointing your exact location. Currently, it is only being used for Airdrop as a means to connect easier with other Apple devices as you simply have to point your iPhone to the device for the sharing to occur. But there are also rumors that Apple is working on a new tracking device using U1 that could be added to objects to allow them to be found more easily such as your keys. Essentially the new ultra-wideband is capable of changing the way various intelligent devices interact with each other. Apple further mentioned in its announcement regarding the U1 chip that it’s only the beginning of the capabilities of this chip and it’s, therefore, it is going to be curious to see how the U1 is going to be used in the future. However, with the latest debates on privacy protection, certain people might not like the idea of allowing Apple to have that type of precise tracking of its customers. It also reminded me of a segment from David M. Berry Critical Theory and the Digital where he states:
“Our phones have become smart phones, and as such become media devices that can also be used to identify, monitor and control our actions and behaviour through anticipatory computing. While seemingly freeing us from the constraints of the old wired-line world of the immobile telephone, we are also increasingly enclosed within an algorithmic cage that attempts to surround us with contextual advertising and behavioural nudges” (Critical Theory and the Digital p.19)
What Berry is referring to is the general idea that smartphones are often seen a huge benefit for our society, which in many they are, smartphones have had a huge positive impact on how to interact with the world. Yet, we can’t neglect the way it also negatively influences us such as collecting a massive amount of data from us. Devices such as the ultra-wideband are often spoken about as a promising technological advancement, without really diving into the potential side effects of this type of technology. Therefore, as companies like Apple continue to release its products it is important to be aware of the reality of these devices by looking into both the pros and cons of it. I think the iPhone 11 will definitely be a new stepping stone in the world of digital media and how we perceive smartphones, especially with its new camera. But I hope that people remain cautious about how all these new improvements are going to influence their lives.
- Andrew Griffin, “iPhone 11 Pro includes mysterious new ‘U1’ Chip for unexplained new features, Apple says”. The Independent. Published 13/09/2019, retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/iphone-11-pro-apple-new-features-u1-chip-tracker-airdrop-a9103121.html
- Peter Schaefer. “Critical Theory and the Digital.” New Media & Society 18, no. 5 (2016): 884-85.
- Ry Crist, ” The iPhone 11 supports Wi-Fi 6. Here’s what that means for you”. CNET. Published 16/09/2019, retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/how-to/the-iphone-11-supports-wi-fi-6-here-is-what-that-means-for-you/