Two days before the iPhone 5 was set to land on shelves at Apple Stores, Leon Reid IV preemptively unveiled his “iPhone 6” last night at his studio in Greenpoint. Wearing his Sunday-best charcoal suit and red bowtie, the 33-year-old street artist gave a Steve Jobs–style PowerPoint presentation that revealed all the stats about his new device. For instance, he said, it’s “three-times heavier than the iPhone 5” and “starts at $799.”
So what exactly is this technological breakthrough? It’s a fully nonfunctional sculpture with a real iPhone for a body and cartoonish arms and legs made out of resin. The character cradles a miniature man in its right hand and ominously threatens to poke the poor guy with an extended finger, just as we do to our own phones. “One day, we will live in a world where our smartphones are smarter than us,” Reid explained, “and we will be the devices for our smartphones.”
While the piece might seem to express a hatred for digital innovation, Reid emphasized that he’s a firm believer in technology. As a kid, “I used to take apart calculator watches and put them back together,” he said. “I wanted to be an inventor of technology or an artist,” but “I wasn’t good at math.”
The “iPhone 6” cannot be found in galleries or stores; for now, the public relations–savvy artist is hawking it directly from his website, in a small batch of 15. As for Reid’s own handheld device, he carries in his pocket “a Samsung flip phone, circa 2007.” The same year the first iPhone came out.