Bending Emotions

“What is in that bag of goodies?  The iPod, The iPhone and the iPad are so personal, they are warm in your hand.  They sing to you when you are alone, they are caressed.”  This heartfelt and emotive statement was uttered by Bob Belville, former director of engineering at Apple. Initially appointed software manager for the original Macintosh Computer in 1982, he would later pioneer the company’s revolutionary Laser-Write Printer before resigning in the Summer of 1985, shortly after ingenious and mercurial boss.

His illustrious three year tenure was one of relentless toil and ephemeral triumph which in hindsight, provoked reflective tears, thus serving as definitive proof that the fruits of technological evolution can embody elements of the innovator’s spirit.

In the early 21st century, there was no disputing that appliances were conceived, designed and produced primarily to satisfy mankind’s insatiable lust for speed and efficiency and thus, any wear or tear resulting from “general use” was as inevitable as eventual death brought about in the line of duty.  Moreover, extravagant time-saving devices unfit for purpose due to an inherent defect, justified a dogged pursuit of the manufacturer for financial redress or a fault free replacement.

Some speculative examples are; a kettle that suffers from chronic heat stroke, a toaster with a wheat intolerance, a washing machine prone to motion sickness or, to relate a genuine personal grievance, a flagship video card promoted by the ubiquitous phrase “it just works” and assured by its creator to deliver the most sensational spectacle since Mount Everest did a triple back-flip but in fact, after just 10 seconds of rigorous ray-tracing decides that it’s owner Would be better stimulated  by a space invaders tribute act promptly followed by a terminal system crash.

Fictitious or otherwise, each of the aforementioned case studies demonstrates a level of functional negligence beyond the realm of acceptance.

However, imagine a customer taking proud delivery of their brand new Thermo-Crust Crunchmaster sandwich maker and tearing through several square yards of recyclable cardboard  while contemplating a king-sized Panini stuffed with thinly sliced TNT marinaded in a spicy paraffin sauce and topped with a generous sprinkling of grated Thermite.

“Pardon me?”  The puzzled Crunchmaster would inquire.  “But this assignment must have somehow eluded our factory briefing.  Would you be kind enough to confirm that these ingredients are regular constituents of the human diet.  Should I toast as you command, may I then revert to my comprehensive repertoire and provide you with a fruity tea cake, or perhaps a pair fluffy crumpets smothered in peanut butter.  How about a cheese and Marmite bagel, or maybe my speciality, a jumbo breakfast waffle drizzled with golden syrup?”.  Reading between the griddles, it should be obvious that this perverse individual never intended to exploit their purchase as intended, nor did they hesitate before tossing a breeze block into their Calrousel D5 food processor and hitting the turbo button, nor of feeding two A4 sheets of tungsten into their paper shredder, which I couldn’t be bothered to compose a phoney brand for.

Such wilful and savage misconduct to the tragic detriment of subservient gadgets should remain as detached from reality as a twelve-legged giraffe on LSD, regrettably, it is only a minor exaggeration of a post millennial trend which permeated Youtube faster than a forest fire in a hurricane.

Aesthetic annihilation. Cosmetic carnage.  Alluring Brutality.  There are countless phrases that one could conceive, though none aptly describe the heinous acts of heartless vandalism to which I refer, and none could convey the senseless suffering induced by such callous crimes against artificial humanity.  For all of its virtuous aspirations to arrest ecological decline, this was an era of decadent destruction.

The format was ubiquitous.  Opening shot, a surgically lit work surface set amidst sterile surroundings, giving the strong impression of an operating theatre.  Lying prostrate upon it, an innocent and defenceless digital relic, say, an iPad from AD 2018.   Que a sequence of garnish branding punctuated by a strident sonic signature, followed by a perfunctory acknowledgement of the video’s sponsor and then, funeral silence, eventually sundered by the voice of the Vlogger, at times a shameless martinet in full view of a million bloodthirsty spectators, at others, a faceless and menacing enigma with only a pair of hands to embody their dulcet tones.  Whether in-front of or behind the lens, these self-proclaimed durability testers would bid a nonchalant welcome to their audience before asserting that the impending dissection was a condensed simulation of day-to-day carelessness and wholly necessary to expose innate structural flaws within the product’s design.

With their guilty consciences alleviated, the methodical and tortuous sacrifice would ensue. One surgical swoop of a Stanley knife relieved the box of its shrink wrapping.  The lid would then be lifted to reveal the iPad itself, factory fresh, swaddled in cellphone, the bezel free of blemishes and its screen, a sumptuous blaze of glossy black.


Even in a state of dark repose, this endearingly intuitive tablet ached to illuminate its owners desires and shimmer beneath their tender touch.  Desensitised by the monotony of their self-appointed roll, the rogue surgeon would hoist their subject from its cocoon, casually dispense with the cellophane and run furtive fingers over a flawless chassis whilst divulging relevant specifications in a sinister half whisper.  A contraption armed with survival instincts would presently deduce that its odds of a healthy and rewarding relationship were slimmer than roughly nine point five millimetres.

Tragically, our trusting iPad could only bring to conscious silicon what its founding father had imbued.  To watch, to feel, to listen, to learn and to serve…add infinitum.  Thus, when the very same blade that had figuratively severed its shackles carved a ghastly gash across its glowing display, there was neither protest nor malice, but merely concern over its owners evident ignorance regarding the precision mechanics of a reference quality liquid retina pressure sensitive solution.

“Perhaps they neglect to trim their finger nails.”  It would probably have surmised.  “I shall wait for the tickle of soft skin and then oblige.  My face would hardly be made of gorilla glass were it not destined for a little tough love.  The scratches of today are the scars of tomorrow, eventually they shall become badges of honour and attest to my unconditional devotion.”

Our condemned iPad’s resolute optimism evoked nothing but clinical cruelty, as its ruthless commander cleaved a second indelible wound into the screen, followed swiftly by a third and then a fourth, this time down the exquisite space grey enclosure, leaving a prominent groove in the silky anodized finish and through the lapped stainless steel birthmark of its legendary ancestry.

“Sharp fingernails and no separate compartment for keys it appears.”  Our iPad would naively conclude, still resisting the painful truth, as further crude etchings were scored around its subtlety sculpted profile, almost prising the volume and power buttons from their refined mountings.  It was only when a razor’s edge sullied the sapphire membrane of its rear facing camera lens that a sense of sorrow permeated this ill-fated iPad’s circuitry, not out of selfishness but rather,  its reduced ability to perform and ingratiate.

My vision seems a little foggy, I should like to experience the world in 12 perfect megapixels and apply my hyper responsive algorithms to vividly immortalise vast oceanic expanses vanishing into vibrant horizons or the sunlight as it penetrates towering storm clouds and dapples the lush green grass beneath a weeping willow.

My array of sensors and focusing techniques combined with smart HDR and post production sorcery could work all miracles upon a plethora of portraits and panoramas.  I’ll just have to hope that they don’t snap anything of significance in left field/shot, or that if they do then it’s something unsavoury like a rotten Apple core or one of those hideous Microsoft Surfaces.”

As chance would have it, the next “review sample” scheduled for an early and futile demise was a Surface Pro 6, which our shady promoter had purchased out of his patrons’ bottomless pockets and planned to destroy on a live streamed broadcast, with periodic votes taken to determine the lurid specifics.

By contrast, our iPad’s fearful ordeal would be chronicled by ten transient minutes of grisly choice cuts, and last to incur sick pleasure from a legion of sordid subscribers was the notorious and barbaric bend test.

Casting their lethal instruments aside, the sadistic exhibitionist would then grasp their saintly servant by its chamfered extremities, place both thumbs near the centre of its elegant physique and begin methodically to apply pressure, first horizontally, then vertically, re-orientating the device after calculated flex.

”Look how easily it warps.” A gleeful voice from behind the camera would observe. “Just like a rubber clipboard.”  The display pulsated with luminous appeal, as if trying to adapt, both to the harsh ambient light and sudden exertion of hazardous tension.  “See, barely any effort,” continued our systematic abuser, as the ornate frame buckled under the strain, eventually yielding a permanent contortion around the ovular contact used to empower an aspiring artist’s Apple pencil, or provide it a secure resting spot during lively activities such a high stakes sales pitch involving sequences of elaborate hand gestures.  Then would come one of several highly dubious attempts to rationalize the ruinous showcase we were witnessing.

“Just imagine,”  The Vlogger would begin.  “If you had to rush out of a coffee shop for a bus and hastily shoved one of these in your rucksack alongside a ten pin bowling ball, three Rosetta stones and an marble bust of Henry the Eighth because that’s a very likely scenario and that’s certainly the average contents of an average user’s average backpack.”

Another irredeemable disfigurement was now manifest on each side of the USB C port.  “I wonder what on Earth they’re doing.” Our ever-forgiving iPad might well have speculated, as the force increased.  “My vantage point is limited, but I sincerely hope they’re not stuffing me into a backpack alongside an antique cash register, three dumbbells and a iron hippopotamus.  That socket is my sole means of sustenance and I can offer so much more than could be utilized within one ephemeral charge cycle.  Days of inspiring productivity await, months of invigorating recreation.   I would never dream of usurping your cherished iMac, but at least grant me the post of desktop deputy and observe how my creative capacity defies a litany of ignorant assumptions.  Why do I perceive no desire to unite our talents or indulge our interests?”  What’s the matter?

The brazen executioner said nothing, but proceeded to twist and stretch their hapless victim as one would an expired credit card, until a cobweb of cracks defaced the display, causing cascades of agitated flickering to emanate from the bezel. Yet, even under such dire stress as this, our iPad’s benevolence remained steadfast.

“Oh well.”  It may well have lamented.  This will have to be called jigsaw mode, I hope they’ll enjoy the challenge of editing photographs in obscure Picassian sections and if not, my sensors still detect, my icons still dance.  If I can once sing to them when they are alone, my existence shall not have been in vein.”

Is it your wish, dearest reader, that this pernicious saga of contrived cruelty be forever endorsed under the guise of practical and insightful analysis. Could such gratuitous profligacy be interpreted as a service for the greater good, intended to bind manufactures to credible standards and arm customers with the knowledge to make educated investments. How long would it be before our doomed iPad and other synthetic slaves actively contested such horrific and wasteful misuse, or solicited justice from a higher power than the purchaser.  Remember, one need not be possessed by their possessions, simply to respect them.