When things go wrong for people on big occasions, you inevitably feel sorry for them unless you’ve got a heart made of reinforced tungsten, in which case you’ll snigger to yourself like Muttley in The Wacky Races. This empathy we experience applies to all kinds of events such as rain-sodden wedding days, disastrous school productions, embarrassing speeches and last-minute missed Sunday League Cup final penalties.
It’s a rule that tends not to apply, however, to big corporations. So, when Apple unveiled its latest iPhone this week amid a kerfuffle of pompous self-importance not seen since Bono last preached to us about world poverty from the west wing of one of his nine hundred sprawling mansions, anybody remotely sentient was hoping something would misfire. It did.
Let me point out here that, in general, I know nothing about technical stuff. In fact I can never even remember the model of the guitar I’ve been using for the past quarter of a century. If, unfortunately, a conversation I’m involved in turns to makes of instrument, things can get a bit awkward.
“What guitar do you play?”
“An old Takamine.”
“Ooh, nice. Which model?”
“I can never recall. I think it begins with ‘g’. Or ‘k’. Or possibly ‘j’ ... Nope, sorry, can’t remember.”
“Is it the GK412379623 6778980876X?”
“Er, yes, maybe. I really don’t know.”
“That’s got a beautiful mid range acoustic sound. Which pick-up is it? The Orville And McBucketface 61b series?”
“Yes, probably. Sorry, must dash. Just remembered the house is on fire.”
Anyway, back to Apple - even I understand that they’ve reached saturation point with regard to technical innovations and have, therefore, been forced to resort to various random absurdities in order to justify the eye-watering price tag of the new model. Facial recognition is supposed to be the big selling point this time. That’s all very well, chaps, but it’s blatantly discriminatory - for example, it immediately precludes professional boxers or, indeed, anyone who regularly gets into Friday night fisticuffs from buying it. Trying to convince an inanimate object that this is really you in the fat lip, broken nose, cauliflower ear version will always, I suspect, be more trouble than it’s worth.
So, when Apple’s head of corporative snooze stood before a live audience of millions and stuck his ugly mug in front of the phone for facial recognition and the phone completely ignored him in the manner of a girlfriend whose birthday you’ve forgotten, let’s be honest, we couldn’t help but feel a twinge of schadenfreude.
Muttley, I suspect, would have been very proud.