Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Augmented Reality

"It's just an mp3 player."

I was sitting with some of my adult students at a cafe, having just finished brunch together in belated celebration of my birthday, when one of them randomly asked me, "what is funky music?"

I giggled and said, "I think you mean funk music...but it's hard to define."

How would you describe funk to a teenage ESL student?? 

I figured I'd just shut the funk up and let the rock do the talk. So, I pulled out my iPod, opened the music app and quickly found the Rick James classic "Bad Mamma Jamma." 

It didn't take long before everyone at the table was nodding and responded with an almost simultaneous "auh."  For those of you who've never spent much time in Korea, "auh" is a ubiquitous utterance meaning anything from "yes" to "I understand" to "I'm mentally engaged and still listening". Korean conversations often sound something like this: 

But I digress. Where was I? 

Oh yeah, Rick James and I had just amazed the funk out of those ladies. 

Then one of them motioned to my iPod and asked me "So, will you be able to get service or roaming when you are in the United States?"

I looked down at the iPod and nonchalantly said, "Oh. On this? It's just an mp3 player."


Later, as I thought over that response, I found myself appalled. 

"It's just an mp3 player"? 

JUST an mp3 player??


My iPod Touch (please don't call it an iTouch) literally transformed my life. 
I became more organized, more creative, more social, more informed, more informative....the list goes on. To call this thing just an mp3 player is like calling the Statue of Liberty just a sculpture; it's like referring to the Grand Canyon as just a hole or saying the Maseratti Gran Turismo is just a car. 

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about inventions that were game changers. Well, my dear readers, nearly every iteration of the iPod has been a game changer. When introducing the 4th generation iPod touch at an Apple Press Conference, Steve Jobs called it an "iPhone without a contract." In fact, until Siri, the only thing that was really lacking from the iPod touch was 3G connectivity.  

Fifty years ago, if you had pulled an iPod touch out of your pocket, people would have thought you were a secret agent. A hundred years ago, they might have called you a martian. Two hundred years ago, a magician; 300, a witch. If you were able to wield the power contained beneath that 3.5 inch screen 2,000 years ago, they would have called you a god. 

And you get irritated when it lags a little when switching between apps. 

It's a music player. 
It's an internet access portal. 
It's a camera. 
It's a notepad.
It's an electronic book. 
It's a calculator.
It's a game player.
It's a phone.
It's the embodiment of friggin awesomeness, and you carry it around in your pocket. 

Don't even get me started on the iPhone...
And don't you dare say it's just a music player.

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