Moving Data

Moving Data: The iPhone and the Future of Media

Pelle Snickars
Patrick Vonderau
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Moving Data
    Book Description:

    The iPhone has revolutionized not only how people communicate but also how we consume and produce culture. Combining traditional and social media with mobile connectivity, smartphones have redefined and expanded the dimensions of everyday life, allowing individuals to personalize media as they move and process constant flows of data. Today, millions of consumers love and live by their iPhones, but what are the implications of its special technology on society, media, and culture?

    Featuring an eclectic mix of original essays, Moving Data explores the iPhone as technological prototype, lifestyle gadget, and platform for media creativity. Media experts, cultural critics, and scholars consider the device's newness and usability -- even its "lickability" -- and its "biographical" story. The book illuminates patterns of consumption; the fate of solitude against smartphone ubiquity; the economy of the App Store and its perceived "crisis of choice"; and the distance between the accessibility of digital information and the protocols governing its use. Alternating between critical and conceptual analyses, essays link the design of participatory media to the iPhone's technological features and sharing routines, and they follow the extent to which the pleasures of gesture-based interfaces are redefining media use and sensory experience. They also consider how user-led innovations, collaborative mapping, and creative empowerment are understood and reconciled through changes in mobile surveillance, personal rights, and prescriptive social software. Presenting a range of perspectives and arguments, this book reorients the practice and study of media critique.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50438-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Although he did not wear his trademark black mock turtleneck, it was unmistakably Steve Jobs walking the red carpet at the Oscars in 2010, handsomely dressed in a tuxedo. Some bloggers spotted him; tweets were sent out; and excitement echoed across Twitter. Eventually, some pictures were taken, and even though Jobs might not have been a celebrated actor, Apple’s CEO definitively proved to have star qualities. Apart from media mogul Rupert Murdoch, he was likely the richest person in the audience and, more importantly, at least for some, the most famous. Or as one blogger put it: “OMG it’s Steve...

  4. I. Data Archaeologies
    • CHAPTER 1 With Eyes, With Hands: The Relocation of Cinema Into the iPhone
      (pp. 19-32)

      As is well known, the digital revolution has resulted in the overlapping and mingling of media. We now read the newspaper on our computers, listen to music on our telephones, and have been watching films on our televisions for a long time now. Yet, contrary to expectations, the landscape that is born of these phenomena is neither chaotic nor amorphous, for if it is true that media are no longer tied to an exclusive platform or technology, it is also true that they continue to possess their own identities. The newspaper, the radio, and the cinema retain their identities even...

    • CHAPTER 2 Navigating Screenspace: Toward Performative Cartography
      (pp. 33-48)

      A wide range of innovative navigation software is being developed for the iPhone that makes new ways of navigating urban space possible. Interactive tours, augmented reality, locative media, and mobile navigation all contribute to an expanding and transforming field of cartographic screen practices that not only represent but also create space: a screenspace. This chapter explores how Apple’s iPhone allows for a creative navigation that constructs such a hybrid space in which pervasive presence, embedded pasts, and evolving futures intersect.

      With touch screen, camera, compass, GPS, network connectivity, and the diverse mapping applications that are currently being developed, the iPhone...

    • CHAPTER 3 The iPhone as an Object of Knowledge
      (pp. 49-60)

      In the 1990s the mobile phone, rather than the digital image, emerged as “the economic-technological basis for a vast industrial and infrastructural expansion.”¹ Now, the (moving) digital image has become an integral part of mobile telephony. With an object like the iPhone, film history, the history of telecommunication, and the emergence of the digital intersect in complex ways that traditional film historiography never anticipated. Over the last ten years, concepts such as “media convergence” or “remediation” have proven to be useful starting points to account for the multilayered dynamics of the digital image in the age of mobile telephony. In...

    • CHAPTER 4 Media Archaeology, Installation Art, and the iPhone Experience
      (pp. 61-72)

      Applications for the iPhone and for smartphones in general come in many shapes, ranging from practical tools to funny toys. Thus, it is hardly surprising that media artists, like others who have a hand in digital technologies, use the Apple App Store to distribute their work. The App Store is used not only for new work but also for the emulation, migration, and reinterpretation of older media artworks, some of which were originally designed for desktop computers and the World Wide Web but find new functionalities, such as the possibility of touch, in smartphone apps. In practical terms, this appears...

    • CHAPTER 5 Hard Candy
      (pp. 73-88)

      From its first appearance, the iPhone offered what no other phone or music player or computer did: a uniquely hand-held device that, while satisfying the soberest of adult telecommunication needs, also appealed to the inner child. Its makers marketed the iPhone not just as a phone in the ordinary sense of the word but as a magic tablet of a kind, capable of the most amazing transformations right before our very eyes. It’s a phone, an MP3 player, a movie player, a camera, a noisemaker, a flashlight, a gaming device, a GPS, a Web browser, a carpenter’s level, and so...

  5. II. Politics of Redistribution
    • CHAPTER 6 Personal Media in the Digital Economy
      (pp. 91-103)

      The mobile phone has become the media technology that by far the most people in the world have access to. At the time of this writing, the International Telecommunications Union reports that around 90 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile networks, and that out of the 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions around the world, 940 million are for 3G services. These figures should be compared with statistics for Internet users in the same report, where it is estimated that there will be 2 billion Internet users by the end of 2010 but that penetration is substantially higher in...

    • CHAPTER 7 Big Hollywood, Small Screens
      (pp. 104-123)

      In november 2010, the president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, Bob Chapek, spoke to the press about his company’s failed efforts to come to terms with the other major Hollywood studios regarding an ambitious digital-rights-management proposal. The studios had been unable to agree upon a common technology and infrastructure through which consumers could, at their leisure, access content “in the cloud.” Of this unsuccessful endeavor, he observed, “When you go into the industry groups, it’s like a bill in Congress. . . . Everyone tries to attach something to it and it becomes something it’s not intended to be.”¹...

    • CHAPTER 8 Pushing the (Red) Envelope: Portable Video, Platform Mobility, and Pay-Per-View Culture
      (pp. 124-139)

      Whatever else the iPhone might be, it is also a machine for promoting and cultivating highly personalized media and communication experiences. The iPhone, with its seemingly unlimited array of applications and customizations, allows users to reshape the cell phone so that it is an expression of personal interests. Although Apple has relentlessly promoted these interactive aspects of the iPhone, discussion of the iPhone also emphasizes its entertainment uses. This emphasis was promoted in one of the earliest Apple ads, “Calamari,” from 2007, in which an iPhone user, while watching Pirates of the Caribbean, develops a sudden craving for seafood. He...

    • CHAPTER 9 Platforms, Pipelines, and Politics: The iPhone and Regulatory Hangover
      (pp. 140-154)

      At the macworld Expo in January 2007, CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple was reinventing the phone and giving the world a “breakthrough Internet communications device.”¹ It would do the work of a video iPod, a mobile phone, and an Internet-enabled computer all in one. It would also have patented touch-screen controls, visual voicemail, Internet browsing, video capability, and apps that could provide everything from stock market updates to surf reports. One thing it would not have: a regulatory framework to accommodate all of those services found on one device. As Jobs proclaimed, the convergence of telecommunications, media, and computing...

    • CHAPTER 10 A Walled Garden Turned Into a Rain Forest
      (pp. 155-168)

      More than ten months after the iPhone was introduced, Lev Grossman in Time magazine reflected upon the most valuable invention of 2007. At first he could not make up his mind. Admittedly there had been a lot written about the iPhone, he argued—if truth be told, a massive number of articles, with extensive media coverage, hype, “and a lot of guff too.” Grossman hesitated. He confessed that he could not type on the iPhone; it was too slow, too expensive, and even too big. “It doesn’t support my work e-mail. It’s locked to AT&T. Steve Jobs secretly hates puppies....

  6. III. The App Revolution
    • CHAPTER 11 The iPhone Apps: A Digital Culture of Interactivity
      (pp. 171-183)

      Patrick collison, who in his own words is a “hacker, pilot, student at MIT, cofounder of Auctomatic,” and “lover of waffles,” certainly can be seen as prototypical of certain first-generation developers of iPhone apps—the whiz kids.¹ Self-taught, he started to program software at an early age. When Patrick was seventeen, he founded his own company, Auctomatic, with his younger brother John and sold it two years later for an exorbitant sum to the Canadian company Live Current Media. During the winter of 2007 he programmed the iPhone app Encyclopedia, an offline version of Wikipedia that allows almost all of...

    • CHAPTER 12 Slingshot to Victory: Games, Play, and the iPhone
      (pp. 184-194)

      In announcing the creation of the iPhone, Steve Jobs proclaimed “every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.” He went on to explain why the iPhone was being developed and what features it would offer, stating more specifically that “the killer app is making calls.” Yet while the iPhone has been derided for its poor call quality and connectivity, it has met with unexpected success in another area—it has become a key global platform for digital games.¹ Even before the release of the iPhone, researchers had already been mapping out the ways that communication...

    • CHAPTER 13 Reading (with) the iPhone
      (pp. 195-210)

      The use of handheld electronic devices—recently termed e-books or e-readers—for reading has a relatively long history, spanning at least four decades. There were many experiments, prototypes, commercial developments, and some early reader fascination. In the 2010s, mobile phones and media have become well positioned as important forces in contemporary reading. New genres associated with text messaging and “cell-phone novels” (popular notably in Japan) are already well established. Moreover, the advent of smartphones promised to offer new applications to make the mobile a reflex technology for reading.

      It is fair to say, however, that neither the market for e-readers...

    • CHAPTER 14 Ambient News and the Para-iMojo: Journalism in the Age of the iPhone
      (pp. 211-222)

      There are pivotal moments that identify a change in the way that our societies function far beyond the significance of the event itself. For example, when Heinrich Hertz detected radio waves, he dismissed the phenomena: “I do not think that the wireless waves I have discovered will have any practical application.”¹ However, when Hertz died in 1894—and his obituaries summarized his work—Guglielmo Marconi, who was then nineteen years old, is said to have read one obituary and realized the possibilities that Hertz’s work presented. Naturally, Marconi could not have foreseen the far-reaching effects that wireless technologies would have...

    • CHAPTER 15 Party Apps and Other Citizenship Calls
      (pp. 223-237)

      Given the 2008 publicity surrounding Barack Obama’s affection for his Blackberry and the news in 2009 about the decisive role of social media in the Norwegian parliamentary election, it is no wonder that some radical change in campaigning methods was expected in the Swedish parliamentary election in 2010. News about “Obama’s social media advantage” and Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg’s “hyper-active” and “teenagelike enthusiasm for facebooking, blogging and tweeting” circulated across Swedish media.¹ “E-readiness” is important to the Swedish self-image, and Sweden tops three recent global indexes relating to information and communications technology access, use, and skill. Eighty-four percent of...

    • CHAPTER 16 The iPhone’s Failure: Protests and Resistances
      (pp. 238-248)

      The massive worldwide roll-out of mobile phone technology has been accompanied by the development of a specialized practice of mobile media within various protest movements. Reports of massive mobile-media use in different protest situations show up daily—and the list of scholarly publications on the topic is growing as well. Events in Iran in 2008—and in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt—have made mobile technologies pertinent for protesters. Yet one needs to remain critical about the extent to which these protests and demonstrations have been empowered by mobile media. In addition, keeping mobile media available and sustainable is becoming...

  7. IV. Mobile Lives
    • CHAPTER 17 I Phone, I Learn
      (pp. 251-264)

      From the click wheel of the first iPods to the touch-sensitive screens of the iPads, Apple has redefined the way we communicate with our devices. As Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, made clear in several interviews, the company’s approach to design was never simply about the look of the device; it was about how the devices worked. This concern with the “how” extends well beyond the domain of device affordances into the realm of “how” the devices are woven into the lifestyles of intended users and consumers. With the iPhone, Apple launched a product that is implicated within a matrix...

    • CHAPTER 18 EULA, Codec, API: On the Opacity of Digital Culture
      (pp. 265-277)

      If the ecstatic virtues of speed and risk are among the hallmarks of modernity, complexity has reasonably been posed as another dimension of that order. The everyday life of urban environments is awash in ever-greater tides of information, and this is popularly recognized as an advantageous firmament for civic participation and universal convenience. Yet at the same time it is often experienced as a frustrating source of distraction or fragmentation, the sign of a problematic fascination with information at the expense of knowledge. There is a growing understanding that the “power” of information technology is as much about its ability...

    • CHAPTER 19 The Back of Our Devices Looks Better than the Front of Anyone Else’s: On Apple and Interface Design
      (pp. 278-286)

      Great design is as important as great technology—this has been the underlying philosophy of Apple from the first Mac in 1984 to the latest iPhone today. Underlining the importance of design has made Apple into the world’s most valuable technology company and its first iPhone (2007) a prototype for what to come. Strikingly different from the phones available at the beginning of the decade, the iPhone offered a rich and nuanced aesthetic experience as opposed to pure functionality.

      The shift from functionality to design experience in turn forms but one example of a larger technological trend, which I have...

    • CHAPTER 20 Playing the iPhone
      (pp. 287-295)

      How to play an iPhone? You can talk, sing, or blow into the microphone; shake, stroke, or spin the device; use the camera; touch the screen and any of the built-in sensors, just to name a few ways. You can build on existing acoustic or electronic instruments, experiment with individual and group performances, explore public and private performance contexts, and push all the way beyond the boundaries of what a mobile phone is meant to be used for.

      Artists and musicians have been exploring the use of mobile devices such as mobile phones, the walkman, or the iPod for musical...

    • CHAPTER 21 Mobile Media Life
      (pp. 296-308)

      As life gets experienced not with but rather in media, the global shift toward mobile and haptic connectivity is not just a step toward natural user interfaces but also toward an increasingly seamless integration among human beings, nature, and technology. This chapter explores the key components of a media life as lived through the iPhone, showing that the profound power of media can only be found in their invisibility and, ultimately, disappearance. Today’s mobile phone in general—and the iPhone in particular—can arguably be seen as the ultimate device when it comes to communication and conversation, especially as it...

  8. V. Coda
    • CHAPTER 22 The End of Solitude
      (pp. 311-316)

      When i was eighteen, I did what many middle-class American college students have done as a rite of passage ever since air travel became accessible to a broad cross-section of the public: I backpacked through Europe on a rail pass. Much cheap wine was consumed. Many hard-earned savings were spent at discotheques. My buddies and I spent most of the time together, but on occasion we split up to travel through different cities with plans to rendezvous back together in northern Italy—at a particular American Express office where we would leave messages.

      During my time alone, I slept on...

    (pp. 317-328)
    (pp. 329-332)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 333-348)