Monday March 24, 2008

I Have A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More... iPhone?

Apple products have a way of engaging me in a little game I like to call “Buy Me First And Then Let Me Deliciously Reveal, With Panache And Nuance, My Usefulness Later On Down The Road.” It kills at parties.

The way the game is played goes like this:

  1. Apple rolls a D6 die and unveils an incredible new product.
  2. I desire this new product like that little chihuahua craved Taco Bell.
  3. Apple’s advertising and general peer adoption make me hate myself for not owning Shiny New Gadget™.
  4. Back in my corner, I resist consumerist urges by telling myself, quite accurately, “I don’t need Shiny New Gadget™.” And it’s true; I don’t.
  5. Apple and my peers continue to throw D6 dice at my face.
  6. Eventually, the years of product saturation wear me down and I buy Shiny (Semi) New Gadget™.
  7. Apple gladly accepts my money and sells me accessories.
  8. I wonder how I ever lived my life without Shiny New Gadget™, as it now has a place in my everyday life.

This is the game I played over my iPod, and it went on for years. It is not a fun game, and I resent every minute of it. You see, I didn’t need an iPod and I certainly don’t need an iPhone. I generally hate cellphones. I talk on mine very little. I text a bit. I post pithy Twits about how Fake Bono is eating at my neighborhood Pei Wei. And that pretty much sums up my mobile experience.

But I’m smart. I get it. I’m not living the ‘iPhone Life.’ I don’t need an iPhone because I don’t know what I’m missing. It’s a lot like what Christopher Fahey wrote about recently regarding the paradigms that we box ourselves into (I’m taking some liberties in extrapolating what he actually said). Like a fish that has no concept of “dry,” I have little concept of life with an iPhone.

Owning an iPod has changed the way I experience music, and even helped re-energize my love of music at a time that it was sort of languishing in the doldrums. The convenience and portability it offers is a luxury, to be sure, but it masquerades well as a need. I now cannot imagine not having dozens of albums at my fingertips, anywhere, anytime.

So I imagine it will be the same with the iPhone (yes, I said will). But if I buy an iPhone, will I adapt to the device because it answers unconscious, pre-existing needs, or will I formulate new needs and behaviors because of the iPhone? Did my iPod fulfill an unconscious need, or did I create needs to fulfill the iPod? Hooray for chicken-and-egg conundrums.

I know, it may be a bit much to pour this kind of thought into a mobile phone. But that’s what happens when someone throws D6 dice in my face.

Commentary


Mitch » 3551 days ago #

Ah, I feel you. Everytime Apple.com posts a new keynote, I start drooling over said iGadget.

And the only Apple product I’ve bought is my iMac (saving up for an iPod touch – lol), and I went through the same steps. Wanted a mac. Was told to get a mac. Constantly. Bought a mac. Realized what I was missing.

But now that you mention it, who knows if I was really missing anything. I mean, yes, the UI of the mac is a million times better than anything Windows has come up with (including Vista), and the computer in general is faster and safer. And less clunky. But I’m sure I could have lived with a PC. But now that I’ve experienced the iMac, I’ll never go back to windows.

I think it’s the same thing with the iPhone. You’ll get it, and maybe you’ll start using it more than you’ve ever used anything before.

The only way to find out – buy one! And buy me one, while you’re there ;)

Just kidding. Sort of.

Jogos » 3550 days ago #

I only like one thing of Apple and that s MacBook Air. Awesome!! Thin … I am in love with my AIR.

Jason Beaird » 3550 days ago #

I’m pretty much in your shoes. Well, not literally, but I’m still iPhoneless… even after the peer pressure extravaganza that is SXSW. Honestly, the main barrier to purchasing is that I’m happy with my Razr and more importantly the cheap monthly plan that I share with my wife. While the raw cost of the iPhone itself is hard to swallow, the extra monthly cost is a deal breaker. That said, there’s not much keeping me from splurging on an iPod touch…except maybe the IRS.

Joshua Lane » 3549 days ago #

But if I buy an iPhone, will I adapt to the device because it answers unconscious, pre-existing needs, or will I formulate new needs and behaviors because of the iPhone?

Yes.

Jared » 3544 days ago #

Jason – Word. It’ll be wicked cheap to bump my wife’s T-Mobile plan up for both of us to use as opposed to having a T-Mobile account for her and an AT&T account for me. Stupid exclusive 5-year iPhone contract. Grrrr.

Joshua – I feel enlightened!

El Che » 3536 days ago #

I was initially under the impression that the iphone was just a shiny bit of gadgetry, but I have to say it’s exceptional usefulness for things I used to hate doing has really turned me around. the simple things, like timing my laundry, making my grocery list and emailing it to my girlfriend if she happens to go before I do, check my account balances and even balance my books using the handy little addition web apps, list goes on and on. I used to do all these things (or try to avoid doing them anyway), and now they all get done, no fuss, no crying. My suggestion on this one is give in, it is worth it. Besides it’s just a matter of time right?

alan » 3520 days ago #

Jared, you’re fooling yourself but you’re not fooling me. This is just pre-purchase foreplay for you, though I have to congratulate you for holding out for so long – I lasted about a week before arranging for an FOAF to bring me one back from the US.

You say all you do is text and Twitter? My friend, the iPhone makes texting and twittering a joy. Think: “network printer setup on Windows vs network printer setup on OS X” level of difference.

But everyone I know with an iPhone reports that the most profound change is in how your mobile behaviour changes with an iPhone – you start doing many more things that you knew were possible on a mobile but never did because it’s a craptastic experience on other devices. On an iPhone, it’s all there, and it’s mostly a beautiful thing.

Rumour is, the 3G iPhone will go on sale first in Australia early Julu 08 and will be sold unlocked (not on an exclusive carrier plan.) Then all you’ll need is an Aussie friend travelling to the US!

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