How the iPhone became divine: new media, religion and the intertextual circulation of meaning
From New Media & Society
The labeling of the iPhone as the ‘Jesus phone’ illustrates how new media objects can possess multiple layers of meaning, which can shape how they are perceived by the public. This study explores the relationship between religious language, imagery and technology. In advance of its launch in 2007 bloggers had branded the forthcoming device not only as a revolutionary technology, but as a technological savior by combining the power of an iPod, cellphone and PDA. The iPhone was being referred to as the ‘Jesus phone’ online ‘the holy grail of all gadgets’. Media embraced the religious language and imagery, and eventually Apple’s iPhone media campaign incorporated this mystical aura into its ads, subtly appropriating the divine imagery for its own benefit. The study suggests a need to test the extent to which religious metaphors have sticking power.