“First world problems” have become the source of countless memes and hashtags on Twitter over the past few years. People complain about Starbucks running out of venti cups, or the wifi signal not loading fast enough or, in extreme cases, even a rainy day during a vacation.
Essentially, first world problems are defined as those relatively trivial frustrations that don’t require as much complaint as they receive, compared to serious problems that exist else where in the world. With Apple’s announcement of its new iPhone releases coming this fall, we see first world problems at their prime.
When the iPhone 7 was released last fall, people lined up as early as two days prior to the release in order to get their hands on the newest piece of Apple technology. Last Tuesday, Apple announced the next big things, the iPhone 8 and 8 plus, iPhone X and Apple Watch 3. All of these new products boast technology that is far superior to previous products.
Sure, the facial recognition personal emojis and wireless charging is all really cool, but it raises a few questions. How much more can Apple do moving forward? How much more do people want? When will we reach the peak, unable to make anything faster or lighter? When will people stop asking for more and be happy with what they have? Society is becoming greedy because of the rate that technology changes; we keep wanting more and more, and we want it now.
Understandably, progressing society is all about improvements and moving forward. However, is it really necessary to make a 10th generation iPhone and create a wireless charging pad because people don’t like wires and want a faster operating system, when there are other places in society that need progress?
People will drop $1,000 on this phone when theirs works perfectly, simply because they want the newest technology. People will skip work for two days to camp out for these new gadgets, just to say they were among the first to get their hands on it.
Imagine if all the effort and money pumped into creating a new iPhone with a sharper camera and bigger screen were put into developing a clean water system for villages in third-world countries. Imagine if people took the $1,000 they’re willing to spend on a new phone just 12 months after buying the previous version to donate to a charity. Instead of creating excessive luxuries, what if we used our first world status to our advantage?
At 6 p.m. Friday, J. J. Watts, Houston Texans defensive end, ended his fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey relief. The fundraiser raised a total of $37 million, far exceeding the initial goal of $500,000 that was set. The money is being used to acquire supplies for the city and help with the rebuilding process after the category four hurricane hit the coast of Texas earlier this month. Watts is working to support local organizations to ensure the people who need the money most are the ones getting it.
Watts’ fundraiser shows how first world luxuries can be used to an advantage to benefit the greater good. Watts used his fame as an NFL star to help people that needed it, showing that there are more important things than pampering ourselves in this world. If we could all learn from Watts’ selfless act and give up pampering ourselves to help other people, society will surge far more than it will with a wireless phone charger or cellular watch.