‘We Are All Geeks Now’ – Confessions Of An iPhone Sceptic

Spotify is coming to the iPhone! Possibly! Pending corporate approval!

You may have already heard this earth-shattering news, given that it was reported breathlessly by every media outlet this side of The Ouagadougou Herald. Twitter practically caved-in under the barrage of light-speed retweets.

Meanwhile, newspapers are falling over each other in their haste to run features on iPhone apps, and the smug nerds who’ve made millions designing them. One guy apparently raked in £70,000 designing an app that enables you to breathe on your iPhone, then make marks in the ‘steam’. Imagine that. Literally seconds of fun.

Does anyone else find this all unbearably tedious? It’s often said that there’s nothing more boring than hearing someone describe their dreams. Well now there is: listening to a friend drone on about their new iPhone.

I’m pretty much immune to all this, since shiny gadgets do nothing for me. I still use a Nokia from 2002. It’s the size of a TV remote, and the only ‘app’ it boasts is Snake. But you can hurl it at a concrete bollard and it won’t even crack: that’s good design.

Sadly, it seems I’m alone in my iPhone-phobia. Everyone else is infatuated with the things. You’ll often see whole groups of grown men, gathered round the glowing display, prodding and stroking and oohing, like slack-jawed farmhands dumbfounded by the secret of fire. It’s tragic.

And isn’t there something sinister too, something Stepford Wives-ish, about our willingness to be flattened by Apple’s corporate juggernaut? Steve Jobs has already demolished the music business via iTunes. Now he’s doing the same with the telecoms industry. Shouldn’t we be wary?

It’s also curious that people who wouldn’t be seen dead buying a McDonald’s, or drinking Coke – people who consider themselves free thinkers, as opposed to trudging consumers – embrace the near-monopoly of the iPhone with such zombie-eyed, tongue-lolling alacrity.

But there’s a broader point to be made here. This pervasive iPhone worship is symptomatic of the creeping nerdification of the mainstream media. The rise of blogging and social networking has thrust geek discourse centre-stage. Meanwhile, 20-something tech-heads such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are today’s Masters Of The Universe.

Earlier this week, a non-story about alleged privacy infringements committed by a voicemail service, Spinvox, was reported everywhere from the ITV News to Radio 4’s Today Programme. The level of interest was mystifying. Who uses Spinvox? Who cares?

Even LOLspeak – formerly that impenetrable citadel of profound geekery – has gone overground. One example: Caitlin Moran, reviewing ‘Reggie Perrin’ for The Times, used the phrases ‘Chairman LMAO’ and ‘Cultural ROFLution’ – references that must have been baffling to 95% of her readership.

All this is of a piece with the unspoken rule which dictates that all modern journalists must display an interest in Watchmen, or Comic-Con, or Battlestar Galactica, or countless other things which a decade ago would have seen you rightly shunned and ridiculed as an appalling, friendless spod. The worm has turned. We are all geeks now.

But what can you do, eh? Write a blog about it?