James Griffin

James Griffin writes The Final Word column in canvas magazine

Final word: Nothing phony above this love

By James Griffin

I'm in love. It's a bit tragic and a tad embarrassing but I can find no other word than "love" that comes close to describing my feeling towards my iPhone, so love will have to do.

I also realise that it is wrong to assign such a huge emotion to a hunk of technology, but I feel my iPhone has done more than enough to deserve my devotion.

At first, when it died within a week of me owning it, I didn't love my iPhone so much. But we have stuck together since that unfortunate beginning and now our friendship has blossomed into love. It's like a chick-flick, only a bit odd because it is between me and a machine.

The significant moment in my burgeoning iLove was when I started to explore the world of downloadable applications. My Texas Hold 'Em earnings are now at $11,465,000. I can, if called upon, convert Pascals to atmospheres without knowing what either of them actually are. And if someone needs to know if something is on the level (literally, that is) then me and my iPhone are ready with that level.

But what tipped things over from infatuation into outright love was the arrival on my iPhone of Shazam. Shazam has nothing to do with the TV show hosted by Phillip Schofield that people of a certain age can remember. It is, instead, a really cool thing where you point your iPhone at any recorded music playing in, say, a pub or club and, after thinking about it for a while, Shazam will magically tell you the name of the song, who is singing it and sundry other details about the song/singer.

Shazam, in my experience, fails to work only on obscure New Zealand songs and when you are showing it off to friends. Other than that it is like having the world's geekiest team of pub-trivia music geeks in your pocket.

Now the thing about Shazam that sent me head-over-heels was not that it was totally cool (which it is) but that it opened my eyes to a whole new world of potential iPhone applications. Yeah, this is where my whole "love" juices really got flowing.

Building on the Shazam-like theme, for example, it would help a lot if there was a similar application so you could point your iPhone at the actor in the TV show you're watching — the one you can't remember their name or what else you've seen them in — and the application would tell you who they are. That would save a lot of angst in my house.

My beloved wife, reminding me once again why I married her, has taken this a step further by coming up with the idea for the application where if there is someone at a social gathering — and for the life of you you can't remember his or her name — you sneakily point your iPhone and, bingo, the elusive name pops up on the screen. A major social lifesaver, right there, in the palm of your hand.

Going even further with this idea would be the social networking application that warns you of break-ups and hook-ups among your circle of friends. With this handy application you could totally avoid those cringe-worthy conversations where you ask "so how's X?" (the person you thought they were hooked up with). And it's met with "actually, we split up — when I caught her in bed with Y" (a mutual acquaintance). Heaps of social embarrassment saved through the power of the iPhone.

On a slightly more serious note (but not really), what if there was an application where if you were feeling poorly you could waft your iPhone over your body like the device Bones McCoy used to wield in Star Trek, and it would tell you if you were actually sick or if it was just the man-flu? For a hypochondriac like me it would be a Godsend for every ache and pain that I imagine to be the warning signs of imminent major internal organ failure. If it could also make a cool noise while it analyses you, like Bones' device did, that would be even more awesome.

I guess it is the possibilities I love, as much as the actuality of the iPhone. I haven't been paid in backhanders by Apple or Vodafone or any other corporate entity to say this stuff, I must point out here. I simply dig, in my simplistic way, that there is a whole world of possibility in this thing I can hold in my hand.

I'm sure there's some long-winded sociological phrase that categorises me as basically a naive dork, but I can live with that. In fact, I don't care if I am a dork, because it's spring and I'm in love with my phone and, in a matter of seconds, I could tell you the name of any song playing on the radio. How much more in life does a man need?

- NZ Herald

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