Forget the iWhatever, what I really need is a device that I’ll use less.


Whatever device Apple is secretly rushing to market next year -- the iSlate, iTablet, iPlank, or my preference, the iJayKay -- it won't be anything I need. Heck, no one actually needs any of the gadgets that the high-tech companies are shilling these days, but we sure want them. Lustrous, kaleidoscopic, cacophonous, expensive -- who could resist?

However, in the ongoing matter of Want v. Need, the two parties will stipulate the following: what we don't want, and what we certainly don't need, are any more vapid mouth-breathers clogging our sidewalks and stairways while thumbing obliviously on their hand-held "smart" devices.

The troglodytes aren't completely to blame. To be useful, these devices have to be primed with subscription plans and add-ons. To justify the resulting cost, the devices have to be used, routinely to the point that additional plans and add-ons (there's an app for that) are inescapable.

Somehow, Bell Mobility's marketing brochures fail to mention this consequence. It's as if the term "exorbitant death spiral" never occurred to them.

I'm not immune to the siren call of these pandorean gadgets. I'm simply waiting for a model that is useful without my having to, uh, use it: one that buzzes me awake after I've nodded off during a meeting; one that points out the good sandwich places nearby when my stomach grumbles; one that highlights my scarf and toque when the temperature has dropped; one that alerts the authorities after I've fallen into a crevasse on a lonely trail; and one that electronically jams the signal of anyone in my vicinity attempting to text, tweet, poke, or telephone.

In other words, a device to make me feel connected, informed, secure, and, yes, more than a little smug.