Today, Apple announced the iPhone 4. All day my twitter feed has been full of people salivating over it and how it will do pretty much everything except butter your bread – although I’m sure somebody is working on an app for that…
I’m a gadget girl. I like geeking out on new toys as much as the next person and if you package it nicely and combine it with awesome design, well, I know my weaknesses – I will covet it.
But then I heard that Steve Jobs likened owning this new iPhone to having a Leica camera in your hand… and suddenly, I was just exhausted by all of it. It’s not often I have a physical reaction to a comment but I felt tired of all the marketing glitz and at the same time I wanted to yell “it’s not, it’s not, it’s not!!” like a 5 year old child.
No Mr. Jobs, it’s not like owning a Leica camera. And an iPad or a Kindle is not like reading a book. And a Wacom tablet is not like having a pencil and sketchbook. And using MS Word is not like forming letters with a smooth flowing pen and your hand.
It is time to take a step back and remind ourselves that all these gadgets and bits of technology are tools and that is it. They make our day to day jobs easier and give us more options. One is not like the other. They’re different. And they all have their place. They are not status symbols, they do not make you smarter or more talented and they definitely shouldn’t cost you 18% interest on your credit card.
Yes I own gadgets and impressive software to do my job and with the exception of my Mac, none of them are the latest greatest incarnation of their genre. And I still get my work done! (yes, even though… even though I am using Adobe CS4!! Imagine that!).
I personally love the process of holding my camera in both hands, of composing a shot, turning the lens, focusing it and the thunk of the shutter when I hit the button. I like curling up with a book in a big chair on a rainy afternoon and turning the pages and feeling the paper under my fingers. I like the satisfaction of sketching a design on a piece of paper and focusing on my drawing hand so hard that my lips and forehead are pursed in concentration.
I also love the cool stuff Adobe CS5 can do, I love my Mac and how elegant it is, I love my Blackberry that keeps me in touch as much as I want to be in touch. But I don’t let them take over who I am and what I can or can’t create.
If you took away all of these gadgets and technology, even the DSLR, the sketchpad and the pen and paper, I would still find a way to create because that is who I am. The process of creating is more important to me than the tools I use to do it. Some days, I just get tired of the race for the latest greatest shiniest toy and I just want to go fingerpaint like I did in kindergarten… I’d be just as happy, if not more so.