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:
- Apple rolls a D6 die and unveils an incredible new product.
- I desire this new product like that little chihuahua craved Taco Bell.
- Apple’s advertising and general peer adoption make me hate myself for not owning Shiny New Gadget™.
- 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.
- Apple and my peers continue to throw D6 dice at my face.
- Eventually, the years of product saturation wear me down and I buy Shiny (Semi) New Gadget™.
- Apple gladly accepts my money and sells me accessories.
- 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.