The iPod was a gateway drug.

Last week’s announcement of the Apple iPhone 6/6S and Apple Watch got me thinking back to those early, innocent days of when a mp3 music player called an iPod was launched. At its design core it was a revolutionary way for people to interact with their music. Their marketing then capitalized on this through capturing the joy that people had when using it.

It was a cultural revolution. You could sense that there was this seismic shift happening, even though you may not have been conscious about it. No one wanted to miss out on being a part of the revolution into the future. And so the iPod was a gateway drug for getting us hooked to the desire and aspiration for personal electronics.

Then the iPhone was launched, and with the iPhone 3G version it brought the smartphone away from the paradigm of being a phone and email tool (predominantly associated with business and government) into the realm of a personal “life” tool. Gaming, snapshot photography, YouTube, and importantly, the rise of social media applications: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Anyone armed with the new smartphones could now create content for anyone else to view, anywhere, anytime. Another cultural revolution into the future. And boy you did not want to miss out on this one. Being left behind would not only make you out of touch with the cultural touchstones of the day, but also your friends and family. Addiction complete.

The ensuing versions of each of these products then dealt with making the devices smaller, faster, bigger storage, better cameras, etc, so the perceived utility of each subsequent version seemed to be increasing. And so we keep buying into it, because we are already addicted to the sexiness of being part of the future.

Relevant Oatmeal comic.

For me though, I’ll be taking a pass on the Apple Watch. I’m content with my current level of addition, striving to be a functional techno-holic.