Introducing PDF Goggles Pro™

If you die in PDF Goggles Pro™, you die in real life.

At his eponymous World Wide Developer Conference yesterday, Tim Apple introduced the most technologically advanced product ever created for viewing and annotating PDF documents. Apple’s new “PDF Goggles Pro™” are, according to Dr. Apple, “the first Apple product you look through, and not at,” a statement which is literally not true, but figuratively also not true. The futuristic device, for sale next year, will cost three thousand five hundred United States American dollars and will look like this:

A man in what is, I admit, actually a swim mask and snorkel, but which look uncannily like all the press photos of Apple's dork goggles.

Nilay praised the goggles’ smooth and clear pass-through video and their intuitive stare-and-twitch interface, which seamlessly leverages the way we all interact with the internet already, but near the end he asks: “What does it mean that Apple wants you to wear a headset at your child’s birthday party?” Is Tim Apple suggesting that perhaps your child is also a kind of collaborative PDF document? Intriguing! The Wall St. Journal’s Joanna Stern wrote a review that amounts to “hey, pretty neat,” but also ends by dropping us through an existential trapdoor:

As the narrator in the meditation demo said, “Remember how valuable every moment in life can be.” Apple wants us to spend more moments of our lives in these things. Will those moments be valuable?

I don’t know! How valuable can a moment really be, if you’re not reading or annotating PDFs?

The PDF Goggles Pro™ are full of technological breakthroughs, such as eye tracking AI models that can, according to engineer Sterling Crispin, “predict if you are feeling curious, mind wandering, scared, paying attention, remembering a past experience, or some other cognitive state.” “Scared”…? Just remember that if you die in PDF Goggles Pro™, you die in real life, but your family won’t know it until after the birthday party is over thanks to the digitally hallucinated eyes projected in place of the lifeless orbs sealed inside your glass and metal face sarcophagus, which are now staring fixedly at “that undiscovered PDF from whose bourn no annotator returns.”

John Herrman asks “Are Apple’s New Goggles a Nightmare?” and answers with a resounding ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. In Insider Alistair Barr consulted the Scott Galloway middle aged horny guy technology rubric and predicted that the PDF Goggles Pro™ will not get you laid. However rumors are already swirling about a VisionOS 2.0 “Bedroom Eyes” upgrade that could help you “bump headsets” with that special someone.

Aral Balkan posts: ”Hey, here’s an idea, let’s stick a computer on your face.”

So is this a good device? Is it technologically exciting? Will it succeed in the consumer marketplace? I have no idea. And what I’m realizing is, I don’t care. Paris Marx wrote that “Apple's Vision Pro headset deserves to be ridiculed” because it’s another step toward consumer technology’s ultimate endgame of moving us all to the planet Solaria, and he’s certainly right, but I can barely summon the energy to care about it anymore. What I know for sure is: I’m not interested in this.

Twenty years ago I was very excited about the future of wearable computers. This fuckin’ Linux nerd toted around a tiny candy-colored Sony Vaio because it was the smallest, most portable laptop on the market. When Steve Mann looked like this, I could already imagine the day when I would finally be able to live inside the machine. And sure it’s expensive, and the battery life sucks, but within an order of magnitude the Apple PDF Goggles mean that day is finally here. But in the intervening two decades of pocket-computer mediated connectivity, we’ve all gotten to know what it’s actually like to live inside the machine, and while it has allowed me to have a career and a social life, I don’t think any of you need me to go into depth about the drawbacks, which are numerous, severe, and potentially civilization-wrecking.

These days I daydream about getting a landline, plugging a handset phone into it, and throwing all my computers into the sea. Reading the newspaper in the morning, and then going out to the barn to build wooden furniture. Maybe leading wilderness excursions. Sitting in a chair and reading a book. If the phone rings, I might answer it, or I might not. If it was important, they’ll call back.

These are fantasies, I know I’m never going to entirely give up the internet. But what I do want from technology is for it to shrink until it disappears. My old desktop tower is now a thin laptop that can go in a drawer when I’m not using it. My phone is on silent, alerts are turned off. I look at it when I want to look at it, otherwise it disappears into my pocket. I don’t have an Apple Watch, but some friends tell me it saves them from even taking out their phone, most of the time. The lie of the Apple goggles is that they’re another step along that path. Just put them on, says Tim Apple, and the computer disappears. You’ll look right through them.

But the computer is still there, so close to your face that you’re the only one who can’t see it. The computer doesn’t disappear. You disappear.

A woman wearing the Apple PDF Goggles, which are displaying fake simulations of her eyes on the front screen.

My beige flag is being uncharacteristically preachy today. Here’s Intern Mariam to explain why there’s no real way to know what that sentence means:

Today in Beige Flags

Happy Pride month! 🏳️‍🌈 In the rainbow of relationship flag colors—red flag: bad, green flag: good, yellow flag: pretty but invasive—the newest color is beige. But in its short lifetime, ‘beige flag’ has already reversed its definition at least once, and possibly twice.

TikToker @itscaito invented beige flags in May of 2022, defining them as “signs you’re probably really boring,” specifically in the toxic wasteland of dating culture. The original beige flags include spreadsheet references and allusions to mainstream sitcoms (“looking for the Pam to my Jim”), and she’s right! Being “6’2” if it matters” is not a personality trait!

But one year later #beigeflag has a new meaning: originally a single person’s warning that a potential partner is boring, now it’s a boring partnered person’s humble-brag about their SO’s “whimsical” (i.e. also boring) personality quirks. For example, the “waze influencer” boyfriend, the “platonic gossip shower” husband, or the girlfriend who likes dessert (but described histrionically). 

Beige flag semiotics were once again confounded last week when a beige flag TikTok made its way over to Twitter with the caption: “This is a green flag. Real men don’t care too much about gossip.”

Short-haired brunette man in a navy sweater and wayfarer sunglasses sipping out of a white mug at a restaurant, overlaid text reads: “My boyfriend’s beige flag is that he’s so unbothered he never asks for details. His best friend broke up with his girlfriend. Why? He didn’t ask. His sister got a new job. Where? He doesn’t know”

Some replies deemed him an unbothered king, others argued that not caring at all about your friends’ lives might be, you know, bad. Is this man displaying #redflags or #greenflags? Smooth brain, or wrinkled? At this point, who can say which is better. Flag fatigue has me reaching for my brain iron, but if I were to weigh in, I might say that denigrating ‘gossip’ is anti-feminist, actually!

The biggest #redflag here is that people in relationships already have plenty: cheaper rent, more money, better health, longer lives, and guaranteed sex aren’t enough? Give #beigeflag back to the singles.

Tweet by Rachel Shukert: ”Look. Frog and Toad are gay, Bert and Ernie are gay, Mary Poppins and Bert fucked once and then she friend zoned him. Children understand this effortlessly. The problem is you. Happy Pride!”

—Mariam Sharia is our #greenflag

Looks like UFOs are real, the U.S. government more or less admits to possessing alien technology, and no one cares. Not what we’d expected! The SEC is suing Binance and Coinbase, respectively the NYSE and NASDAQ of Mt. Goxes, for unregistered securities trading and fraud. Molly White reports. Swift, Healy Split. Sounds like what happened when I put on those rolling sneakers. The New Yorker’s Bari Weiss reporter Emma Green is back, once again laundering Bari’s ongoing clown show for the James Thurber set. One guy in Ohio is shedding historic quantities of a unique Covid lineage into the wastewater. That seems fine. Vice’s Samantha Cole attended the “Seed Release Ritual for Sexual Transformation workshop,” and no blurb can do this tab justice. Speaking of the boys, Mattie Lubchansky’s book “Boys Weekend” is out today. And Jaya Saxena is always good, but “My Benihana, Myself” is exceptional:

Only twice in my life have I experienced the detached consciousness instructors have always told me is possible in asana-based yoga, where I existed solely in that moment and was aware of nothing but how my body moved. As I sat eating the test meal I had just prepared for myself, I realized that I had experienced it a third time — while making an onion volcano. I had entered some sort of hibachi flow state.

Skeet from shrimpmilk: “movin to the country/ gonna eat me a lotta…” [picture of a large urn that says “leeches”]

Today’s Song: The Carps, “Veronica Belmont”

Look I love writing Tabs, I’m not saying I’m gonna go become an Outward Bound instructor. I don’t even have a barn, and I used to build furniture professionally and honestly didn’t love it at the time. But the face computer is just the hardest of no’s for me. Music Intern Sam is spinning all the hits. Intern Mariam’s beige flag is that she hates square plates. Today in Tabs is registered at the post office as “Platonic Gossip Shower.”

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