As you may already know, I am a geek about Apple computer products. A big geek, and I am very excited about the new iPod touch. My nerd-lust is raging, and as soon as I can sell a couple of aging gadgets on ebay and save up a little cash I’ll have my very own to drool over.
There is one feature that I find particularly fascinating however, as it opens the door to a whole world of possibilities that I’m a little apprehensive about. Apple has a new partnership with Starbucks, and from now on when you take your iPhone or wifi enabled iPod to a Starbucks location an extra button will pop up on your device. If you click on that button you can purchase whatever song Starbucks is currently playing over their house speakers.

Now, that sounds like a pretty harmless thing, useful even if you like the kind of music you hear at Starbucks. What I wonder about is where this kind of advertising might eventually lead. How else could companies use dynamic, personalized, location specific advertising? How about when you’re watching TV and your cell phone says “Hey, want to buy the entire season of this show on DVD?” Or when you’re at the mall walking past the GAP and your iPod pauses your music to let you know about a sale on multi-colored scarves. What about when your wife goes to the grocery store and your TV says “Hey, I noticed your wife just left. Want to watch some pornography?”

Remember that scene in Minority Report where those billboards scan Tom Cruise’s eyes and start yelling at him and using his name? Coupon dispensers at the grocery store already have motion detectors and speakers on them, how far away from something like that are we? How long until the Coco puffs start saying “Hey Sammy, if your mom really loved you she would buy you chocolate breakfast cereal.” One thing’s for sure, we can’t put anything past big corporations when it comes to advertising. They’d be tattooing logos on newborn babies if they thought it would generate revenue.

And now, to counterbalance my insane theories here are some pictures of Sammy playing with his own little iPod knock-off at the park this morning: