Thursday, December 29, 2011

Divisive Devices

Under this title, Pamela Paul complains in the NYT that the iPad her husband takes into the family bed was creating an invisible wall between the two of them. My first thought was that her ire was provoked by the devious nature of the device itself (whose purchase she tried in vain to resist). She says she can’t resist glancing at the bright screen at a time of the day when she is desperate to tune out. I even thought of marketing expert Martin Lindstrom earlier column (“You Love Your iPhone. Literally.”) in which he explained how one’s iPhone could evoke an unconscious response in the brain (and probably the body) physiologically indistinguishable from love. So maybe Paul saw the iPad as a potential romantic rival?
After all, she uses the world “interloper” to introduce it. But no, it seems she (or her editors) just went for the cute alliteration, and the title is a bit misleading. As it turns out, the main focus of Paul’s article is bthe extent to which different gadget tastes and loyalties can drive a wedge between romantic partners. For example, she “is a PC-Nook-LG kind of woman”; and he “is a Mac-Kindle-iPhone kind of man.” What a fundamental clash! But I bet there will soon be a technological fix for that, too. A host of start-ups launched by college dropouts as well as college professors and an assortment of geeks must already be competing to get it to market.