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It's official: wireless carriers, like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, are taking on the condom industry.
"We already do everything on our mobiles," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at a conference organized by the CTIA, his former
current allegiance. "They are probably the most personal tool a person uses in a day. That's why it's incredibly excited that in the future, people may not be using condoms anymore."
Apple has recently begun publicly promoting and advertising this feature. "At Apple, we're very proud of how much our customers confide in us and how much they trust us," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "We strive to make life for our customers as convenient as possible, and today, people have their iPhones with them at all times. It's really only a matter of time until condoms will be redundant because our newest iPhones should be sufficient."
What Cook was implicitly referring to was the SAR values measured for his company's recent models. While in previous years, Apple has denied that RF radiation emitted by its products and those of other wireless companies could be harmful, Cook realized that they had been approaching the issue completely wrong.
"Of course it's harmful, all the scientists know that," an internal memo by Cook leaked on WikiLeaks explained. "But rather than trying to BS the public into thinking this stuff is safe when it's not, a change in perspective and utility is all that is required. If you spin any piece of information the right way, it becomes a product. It's really a question of marketing. We are uniquely poised to fill a very private and sensitive need in people's lives: what gadget do people trust implicitly more than their iPhone? Moving from analog condoms to digital iPhones is an obvious next step."
Apple's new iPhone manuals now come with the following statement: "Prolonged use of this product in proximity to the human genitalia has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on limiting the amount of viable sperm that could possibly result in undesired fertilization during copulation. For the best result, keep this device stored in a pants pocket/in contact with the genital area when not in use."
Apple included the helpful statement after noticing that many people were carrying their iPhones around in their hands rather than keeping them in their pockets, where they were more likely to exceed FCC guidelines and decimate sperm. "Some customers have complained that they have an iPhone and they have a one night stand or something and next thing you know, they're paying for child support," Cook explained. "Well, clearly, we're not liable for that, but in order to provide maximum convenience for our customers, we've increased the RF output quite a bit and encouraged customers to keep them in their pants pockets where they belong. The manual also discourages keeping them in your bra, as that is likely to result in breast cancer instead. Women who tuck their iPhones into their underwear are more likely to realize weaker and fewer eggs.
"Basically, if two people hook up and they've both been storing their iPhones near their sex organs for many years, there's a significantly reduced probability of that encounter resulting in an unwanted fetus. We're still a ways from complete sterility," Cook granted, "but progress has been occuring at a good rate."
It'll still be a few years before your iPhone will fully replace your condom, reproductive health experts say. One side effect of using iPhones as birth control is that although sperm count is significantly reduced in men who generally keep their iPhone near their testicles, the remaining sperm are not completely decimated but generally weakened, which significantly increases the chance that a child will be born deformed or with cognitive disabilities. "Of course, nobody wants that," Cook admitted, "and so we're hoping that as people begin using these devices starting in childhood, hopefully by the time they're an adult, they'll be unable to conceive."
Although reception has been overwhelmingly positive, some medical critics on the fringe have criticized how difficult iPhones will make it for future generations to intentionally reproduce through copulation. One doctor said, "Back in my day, you slept with your spouse and made kids. Now, you sleep with your iPhone and get sterile."
"I don't really pay attention to them," Cook admits. "Even if our product completely decimated 99.9% of a man's sperm, modern medical techniques make it possible to extract a viable specimen if needed. There's always that option. We've made the choice as a society now from going to an "opting-out" procedure during sex by use of condoms to an "opting-in" procedure, which is really just far more convenient for the vast majority of people who want the sex but not the babies."
Most industry critics agree, and Apple has given other mobile phone manufacturers a run for their money. Now, the race continues to raise SAR limits and lobby the FCC for further increases in what is already a meaningless benchmark. "If other manufacturers can't deliver the way Apple has," said one industry analyst, "they will quickly become irrelevant." Indeed, many developers have already zoomed in on the opportunities available for the iOS platforms. Several apps in the App Store are now available that can sense when the device is in a pocket and will automatically track and generate insights and statistics over time on how likely you are to get someone pregnant based on your usage so far. "The general idea of these apps is that people can be surer of themselves before going into it," an app developer from California explained by phone. "Obviously, the likelihood goes down over time, but the threshold of when someone feels comfortable without using a condom anymore differs by person. One thing I want to stress is that we are not guaranteeing anything here. We merely provide a useful way to measure and track your infertility over time."
One parent we interviewed, who wishes to remain anonymous explained that her 3-year old infant son already has an iPhone and his diaper has a "mobile pocket" for it. "What is inevitable is that one day he is going to be interested in girls," the mother explained. "Now, hopefully he'll be too addicted to his iPhone to want to hook up with a girl or anything, but if he does, at least I have the peace of mind he won't end up paying child support or something for a decision he didn't fully think out. And, you know, I think pretty soon, all young boys will have iPhones, and this could be a really could thing for girls, especially if they themselves were also brought up with these devices. In the unfortunate case that rape does occur, it's far less likely to result in an unwanted child."
Ultimately, Cook expects the condom industry has a limited lifespan ahead of it. "You know, they really don't like us, because sexting really took the spotlight away from sex for awhile. But, twenty, thirty years from now," Cook said, "I don't really expect them to be a thing anymore. People will be able to have sex without worrying about accidentally having offspring. And, of course, they'll be able to do it much more naturally — Nobody wants a disgusting condom between him and his partner. With our far less invasive method of birth control, people can finally enjoy sex as it was meant to be — naturally with full contact for maximum sexiness."
The future looks bleak for condoms indeed, but it's possible condom manufacturers may have the last laugh. "What Cook didn't mention is that even with current usage patterns of mobile devices, particularly in proximity to our reproductive organs when on standby, is that humanity is projected to be completely sterile within five generations," said a representative from Trojan condoms. "And, you know, really, I think I'd rather prefer if we weren't around by then to experience that. I'd like to kick my feet back a bit before we go extinct."
Although it's not yet clear if condoms may soon go the way of the landline ("the old-fashioned phone that doesn't conveniently boost your sex life for you", as Cook puts it), one thing is sure: those looking to get the most of their iPhones should plan to start early. Although Apple is working on making its devices better able to reduce viable sperm count, it's a gradual process that takes time. If you don't want any basement surprises when your teenager has matured, it's best to stick on the safe side and get him or her an iPhone as soon as possible, preferably by the third birthday."