Apple mania leaves me with a sour taste

Updated: 2011-07-26 09:35

By Kim Bowden (

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It reads like something out of a gruesome science fiction novel.

In recent months a 17-year-old student in Eastern China sold one of his kidneys to a dodgy dealer he met online to buy the iPad 2 he had his heart set on. At least he didn't sell that too.

Although his story is extreme, this teenage technophile is not the only one to be gripped by must-have gadget cravings.

It seems Apple fever has taken the world by storm.

Last week news broke of fake Apple stores in the southwest Chinese provincial capital of Kunming, a sign the country had reached a "new piracy milestone", according to many overseas media sources.

Perhaps more so, it is a sign of demand - further evidence that consumers are queuing up to get their hands on these coveted digital devices.

Indeed, those that have them can't bear to be without them, fuelling the desire of those who don't.

I saw a great photo online recently of a hand with "If you can read this somebody stole my iPhone" faux tattooed across the palm.

In fact, smartphones and tablet computers - whatever the brand - are increasingly becoming extensions of self.

Professor David Chalmers, the director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University, said gadgets had "become part of our minds", reported The Age newspaper.

At an innovation-focused conference in Sydney in recent months Chalmers argued that in the same way we use technology such as cars to extend our bodies, devices like the iPhone extended our minds.

Chalmers said he relied on his smartphone to orientate himself in a new city and to remember phone numbers and dates.

"In some sense the iPhone is literally becoming part of your mind...the iPhone's memory is basically my memory."

But the professor said as these gadgets become an unavoidable part of life, we also become more vulnerable to their loss. Our increasing reliance on them leaves us floundering to function without them.

It is mind-boggling to think one young iPad enthusiast weighed up life less a kidney versus life less an iPad 2 and it was the vital organ that was deemed less of a necessity.

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