The Next iPhone: On the Love of Technology

In case it isn’t already clear, I’m definitely a fan of technology. In fact, I probably read about technology more than I read about most other things, with the exception of philosophy (since I am a graduate philosophy student). Later today, Apple will announce it’s next iPhone–whether that is an iPhone 4S or an iPhone 5 is anybody’s guess–and the blog-world is filled with speculation and questions. There are a lot of significant things happening with this release: this is the first release where it is likely Apple will release a phone that will work with all major carriers (the iPhone 4 is available on both AT&T and Verizon, here in the States, but the Verizon release came later). This is also the first iPhone released since Steve Jobs stepped down. People are wondering if Tim Cook can fill the shoes of Steve Jobs–not an easy task–but only time will tell.

There is a measure of anticipation in the tech world’s pulse right now; many tech blogs are consistently posting what little news they can find on whatever Apple will unveil come Tuesday. I myself am an iPhone 4 user, and am eager to see if the update will be a true successor or just a speed boost, much like the 3GS was for the 3G. Some people only get excited about Apple events, and couldn’t care any less about things like the Windows 8 developer preview from a few weeks back, or about the recent release of Windows Phone 7 update, or even about the myriad of updates happening to the mobile Android OS all the time. People tend to end up loyal to one platform or another, but I find myself fascinated with most of the major releases. I’ve run most Windows flavors since Windows 95, played with Ubuntu (a linux variant) and even have run Mac OS-X for a time.

But there are some days when I have to take a step back and ask myself how much all of this matters. Yes, technology is very cool (could I really be a blogger if I didn’t affirm that?), but it cannot be the focus of my life. I enjoy it, and I do not think enjoying this for its own sake is necessarily wrong, but limits are appropriate.

Some don’t understand my enjoyment of technology, suggesting that it would be better for me to go out and enjoy God’s creation than it is for me to look to man’s creation. While spending time outside is vitally important, I also push back a bit and suggest that sometimes I see God in the creations of man. This does not mean that I think man is creating new gods with every piece of technology that they improve. Rather, I think that God made man creative by nature, and watching mankind create is one way to gaze on God’s creation. After all, we fall into the category of ‘nature,’ right? I find that mankind creating reminds me of God’s creation. Especially with technology, because our creations are never perfect. There is always a flaw or a price issue or an availability issue or something.

I guess what I want to ultimately say is that perhaps I love tech too much, but at least I’m doing my best to see it through a lens of the creative reality of humans made in the image of God. Now for me to venture forth and invest not only in people but in the creation that God bestowed upon us a bit more directly.

Note: The title may lead the reader to think I am specifically biased towards the iPhone and Apple’s product line. In fact, aside from mobile devices, I’ve never purchased an Apple computer, even though I’ve spent a good amount of time using them (either at school or in the homes of relatives).

Published by

J.F. Arnold

James received his MA in Philosophy of Religion at Talbot School of Theology in 2013. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Biola University, and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. James blogs on a number of subjects, including technology, theology, and hip-hop. He has written for Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture, & the Arts, The Gospel Coalition, and he is an editor for Mere Orthodoxy. You can also keep up with him on Twitter (@jamesfarnold).