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Apple, Please Stop Trying to Make Socially Distant Selfies Happen

No one asked for this.
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The pandemic has upended our lives in countless ways. But more important than the lost lives, the jobs, the panic, and the isolation, is our inability to take group selfies, am I right? (I am not.) Luckily, Apple has stepped in to fill the void of clustering uncomfortably with your friends. The tech giant filed a patent for software that would allow users to take socially distant selfies.

That’s right, Apple is making “synthetic group selfies” a thing, satisfying the demands of literally no one. The software allows users to invite others into their selfie, which removes their background image and sticks them in the user’s photo. The patent describes the tech as “an arrangement or composition of individual selfies obtained from a plurality of computing devices into a single group image.”

Sooooo … it’s Photoshop? Apple is patenting Photoshop now? I’m genuinely struggling to find the appeal of this. The whole point of a group selfie is to capture a time when we were all together in one place. And then, we look back fondly at these photos and are reminded of that time when we reunited for a friends’ wedding or had our annual trip to Disneyland or our high school graduation.

What are we memorializing with a fake group selfie? Will anyone be fondly looking back at this moment in our collective history? Are people going to make scrapbooks filled with screenshots of group Zoom meetings?

While the idea is obviously applicable to our current quarantine, Apple in fact filed for the patent in 2018. And while this technology isn’t all that exciting, I would like to make a pitch to Apple.

Why not do the digital version of those old mall photo shops where they insert your face into a famous scene from a film or television show? Wait, that’s already a thing that exists? I see. What’s a mall? Goddamn it.

Apple is also looking into adapting the software to video and live-streaming content, which is great news for our barbershop quartets who are currently socially distancing but DESPERATE to harmonize together. While Apple is still a long way from using the tech (and they may never utilize it), I’m hoping that we’re not that far away when people can unite IRL, cluster together, and create the kind of signature foot traffic jam and social annoyance that is the group selfie.

(via CNN, image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.