Thursday, February 28, 2013

iPhoned In

Excuse this entry, I'm going to forgo philosophy and eloquence in favor of some idle musings in regards to the state of technology, social trends and profitable misconceptions created by clever marketing. This entry was sparked by something interesting a friend said to me the other day. Not good. Not bad. Just interesting.

"When are you getting a big boy phone, Brad?"

My friend said this jokingly, not meaning the remark to be rude in anyway, and I did not take it as such. However, it is--though unintentionally-- telling.

I have to hand it to Apple. They've managed to assert their product so far into the collective psyche of society that owning an inferior product has become characteristic to a lesser level of maturity. Maybe that's a bold jump to make from one man's offhanded quip, but just a little further down the road you'll find a growingly common public notion- who doesn't have a smart phone?

Well, actually, a great many people, and I intend to remain in that number for as long as my relic hailing from the dark ages of 2010 holds out. The iRonic (patent pending) part of it is that my cellphone will likely last me much longer than those of you with the iPhone 5 because you know you can't resist the allure of the inevitable iPhone 6. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people running around shouting, 'smart phone, dumb brain.' It's just not for me. Never will be.

Now I know what you're thinking (or at least I'll pretend I do.) Brad! How can you knock it if you haven't tried it? Oh, but I have. An iTouch music player came into my possession a Christmas or two ago. (For those unaware, an iTouch is essentially an iPhone sans the ability to make calls and have access to 4G networks, relying on Wi-Fi instead.) My iTouch + my phone (takes pictures, videos, surfs the net with a basic browser) = iPhone. Only difference is the fact that my bill is 25 dollars a month and I'm not considered a 'big boy.'

So what was my impression of the experience?


Tell the ghost of Steve Jobs, I'm sorry. I can't help that I'm not impressed. Not being stuck in my ways or snooty here so hear me out.

Let's list the draws-- what makes a smart phone so smart.

- 'Faster' access to the internet
- Wider spread of apps and games
- Better Music player
- Better Camera
- Faster Facebook/ Twitter on the go

Sounds impressive, I'll admit, but is it really? I think the nature of smart phones is that all these things are able to be done anywhere, but why do we need that? If I have to wait somewhere I'll bring a book or--and here's a novel idea-- think. If I'm out and about why do I need some cheap .99 cent time waster? Why can't I just spend my time wisely and make memories? I don't need an HD screen, the world is in perfect resolution. Why do I need to share everything on Facebook at all times? Why do I need an app? Whatever time saving app there is, I guarantee I can do it better on a laptop.

My point is... I don't need an iPhone. No one does. Despite what the marketing has lead you to believe, the world was fine before the advent of the iPhone. It's really just a connection addiction. We now have the ability to merge ourselves with the internet. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves and the iPhone does just that. The iPhone is uniform. Iconic. It's been drafted to become the recognizable square in everyone's pocket. The device that you'd have to be foolish not to own, lest you miss riding the latest wave of communication. The implication of the word 'smart phone' is that all other phones are stupid.

That's not a reality, it's a fallacy-- no more than a attractive misconception dreamt up by the makers of these so-called smart devices to goad you into buying their products. You get addicted to the feeling of being hip and cool... Now, not only do you need a smart phone but you also need the latest one. Think about it though... are the old ones really that obsolete? How much better is an iPhone 5 from an iPhone 4? Or 4s. It's fine to own a smart phone, but ask yourself if it's worth the hefty monthly bill. Like the exaggerated obsoletion of a 4 to a 5, my 'little boy phone' isn't that outdated.

Guess what it does?

- Slightly slower internet
- Has the extra functions I need
  > alarm, calendar, time, weather, a crappy gps for desperate times, calculator
- Makes calls for cheap
- Texts for free
- Video and picture messaging for free
- Tetris (never gets used)
- Can even operate it by my voice

It cost me less than a hundred dollars at the time, and now you could probably score one for the price a of cheap dinner out. Ironically, I'd say I made the responsible choice by NOT making the frivolous iJump. Maybe it is me who owns the big boy phone, hmm? Who knows and who cares. It all boils down to one's taste. Materialistic things and the appeal of always being connected to the internet never appealed to me, so naturally I have no interest. I'm up on the latest trends, but for now I'll sit this one out.

Now Google Glass on the other hand.. .My glasses fetish might just get the best of me. But yeah. Until that tech hits the market, consider me a happy little boy. Innocently content with my dumb little boy phone.

- B