Culture Clips: Just Another September, Just Another iPhone?

Yesterday, Apple fans around the world celebrated as the company released the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The greatest feature of the iconic brand’s latest iterations seems to be the cameras: Depending on which model you get, there are up to three separate lenses on each. Some of the special features include the night mode (for better nighttime pictures) and “slofies”—slow-motion selfie-style videos. The line also boasts a better battery life than ever before and models starting at $699.

But while this might look like any other new iPhone release sporting evolutionary upgrades, some think that the latest versions’ more sophisticated video capabilities quietly indicate a marketing shift for the iPhone. Writes Business Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco,

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro launch on Tuesday seemed to be heavily targeted at professional videographers and photographers, a sign that the firm is looking to niche markets to boost iPhone sales as global shipments decline industrywide.

But perhaps users of this new technology want a better smartphone camera to post Instagram-worthy pictures to their new “Facebook Dating” profiles. The social media giant announced last week that this new feature would give people “the ability to start meaningful relationships through things in common, like interests, events and groups,” according to NBC News.

The arrival of yet another new dating site might seem unnecessary, (Facebook previously hosted, but it might just be a sign of the times, as online dating increasingly becomes the norm for those who’ve grown up in the digital age. Ashley Fetters writes in The Atlantic, “In all of modern human history, it would be difficult to find a group of adults more serendipitously insulated from contact with strangers than the Millennials.” Fetters goes on to say that because of our technology and the fear of “stranger danger,” people are more hesitant than ever to strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know.

Of course, while Facebook Dating might be helpful to adults looking for a relationship, dating itself isn’t necessarily healthy for teens. According to ABC News, the Journal of School Health published a study showing that “students who weren’t dating had significantly higher … social skills and leadership.” It also found that those same students also had lower rates of depression than their dating peers. Although the study recognized that dating can help in a young person’s social development, it also stated that not dating might lead to more well-adjusted teenagers.

Elsewhere in social media news, YouTube has been ordered to pay a $170 million fine to “settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general that it earned millions by illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent,” according to NBC News.

And an 8-year-old YouTube millionaire and his family could also be facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission after his channel was accused of coercing children into purchasing toys made by the channel’s sponsors. Ryan Kaji, the star of “Ryan ToysReview,” made millions by unboxing toys and playing with them on camera. Now his parents, who run his channel, are under fire for not making it clear that these toys were not purchased organically, but rather provided by advertisers, according to Fox News.

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj shocked fans by announcing her retirement last week. The 36-year-old rapper simply stated, “I’ve decided to retire and have my family,” reports MTV News. Another hip-hop star taking a break for his family is Chance the Rapper, who announced his decision to push back his tour until next year. According to CNN, he wants to spend more time with his wife and two daughters (including newborn baby girl, Marli). “When Kensli was born, I went on tour 2 weeks later and missed some of the most important milestones in her life, but more importantly I was absent when her mother needed me the most. At this point, as a husband and father of two, I realize that I can’t make that mistake again,” he wrote.

Someone who isn’t retiring is Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Six months after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the host returned for the show’s 36th season. “I’m happy to report, I’m still here,” he announced during the season premiere.

And having something positive to celebrate can only be a good thing as the country remembers the events of 9/11 that transpired 18 years ago today. While that day of infamy is seared into American culture for those who witnessed it, filmmaker Amy Schatz realized that many children in schools today don’t remember what happened because they weren’t born yet. According to Fox News, after learning that a third grader had Googled “Sept. 11 attacks,” Schatz created a documentary entitled, What Happened on September 11 in order to provide school-age children with age-appropriate information about the tragedy, without showing them the graphic pictures that depict what happened.

Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.