• Politics
  • Maggie Spooner: Biting the apple


Maggie Spooner: Biting the apple

The streets of City West seemingly have a homeless problem. Oh, wait. Looking a little closer, this tent city appears to have a purpose: the Iphone 6. Yuck.

Image for Maggie Spooner: Biting the apple

If there’s a serious drawback to living off Ku’damm it must be the proximity of the Apple Store.

Oh sure, I was happy when it first opened: we have some appliances featuring temptations of biblical proportions – aka bitten apples in our household. I imagined myself dashing gaily into the flagship store with a cracked screen or a coffee stained keyboard for immediate and uncomplicated assistance.

Not so: first of all, the place gives me the willies. All those twinkly LED lights, the altar-like tables, the employees in their radiantly blue polo-shirts: it’s like a new-age church, with a spangled heaven, altar boys and sacred objects awaiting veneration. As for the Holy Grail of Apple technology assistance? Please don’t just pop in. This is tech aristocracy and they expect you to take your hat off, cover your shoulders and leave your calling card. Or … make an online appointment with the genius bar, divulge your Apple ID plus password and turn up at the appointed hour to be informed that your first hamster was called Rover and died in December 1988, that your left leg is longer than your right foot and that you tend to leave the bathroom lights burning. I have to avert my gaze now when I cycle past. Like there’s voodoo there, or something.

And now there’s the added insult of the iPhone 6 hype. Just for the record, mine’s a 4S with a cracked screen. I passed on the 5 and looking at the price-tag, I’ll be passing on the 6. The old one works just fine. But some people, some people have nothing else to do but camp out for five whole days with tents and sleeping bags, awaiting the miracle of birth this Friday.

What kind of message does that send? Given Berlin’s ongoing struggle to create a civilized environment for asylum seekers, you’d think (wouldn’t you?) that Apple would be discouraging the kind of affluent-homeless visuals that implies duress in the name of €800 gadgets.

Alternatively, the municipality of Charlottenburg or better still, the City of Berlin, could take up some of this slack by offering walk-in pavement workshops on time-management and the priorities of a civil society? Capitalism man: it’s (still) all about choices.