By Ken McCoy • JumpStart Ministries • Charlotte, North Carolina
I normally watch Apple’s Keynote presentations with great anticipation. But, ever since Steve Jobs left us, I haven’t had that “WOW!” sense when watching. However, I still watch them, because what Apple announces will have an impact on how I do youth ministry. Yesterday’s Keynote address got my mind going on some of the possibilities! I’ll pick three announcements that will influence my work with teenagers and youth leaders.
Foremost among the announcements is the multi-person FaceTime update. I’ve missed the 4-way videochat feature of the long-defunct iChat. What will I do with multi-person FaceTime? For starters, I can get several volunteers on FaceTime at the same time to have a pow-wow about an upcoming program or event, a problem that needs to be solved, or just a quick prayer together. The same holds true for small groups, parents, and others. I’ll also put it to use with my consulting/training of rookie youth pastors. I’ll be able to get a few of them together at the same time to cover some common material.
I have to admit, “Memoji” initially struck me as a gimmick – something I’d never really use. But then I started to think of all those SnapChat filters that the kids are using, and I began to see some possibilities. In case you haven’t seen it yet, think of “Bitmoji” on steroids – you create an animated emoji of your face, and can have as many “alter egos” as you want. Middle schoolers are going to be all over this!
Finally, straight out of Dick Tracy lore, is the “Walkie-Talkie” function coming to Apple Watch. It kind of reminds me of those old Nextel “Direct Connect” phones where you could push a button and immediately get through to someone who also had a Nextel – short burst communications. That functionality was lost when the original iPhone changed the personal communications landscape. Now’s it’s back – on your wrist!
Notice that these three features all have to do with communication. The more methods we have to get in touch with each other, the better off we will be. However, nothing yet can beat be WITH others, “in reals” instead through an electronic device.
I’ve already had three kids contact me, asking if I’d seen the Apple Keynote address and what I thought about it. Teenagers are totally tied to their technologies – they push the boundaries of what their devices can do, and eagerly eat up any new feature and function. I think, as youth leaders, we need to stay informed about those changes. Maybe this little article will encourage you to watch the Keynote too – and be able to talk with your enthusiastic young friends about what’s just around the corner.