For the last two years, I've been a smartphone user. I've been a satisfied user of an Apple iPhone 3G, and considered it pretty important on a day-to-day basis to have an Internet connection. I've loved having immediate email access with the ability to check into Facebook or Twitter whenever I wanted to.
All that came to a screeching halt two weeks back, when my iPhone refused to boot. At all.
As I slowly comprehended that not all Apple phones are the totally perfect products their commercials cast them to be, I felt fitful. Like a set of overactive windshield wipers, I squeaked back and forth between anxious withdrawal and stormy tantrums with each unsuccessful attempt to revive my dead device. It couldn't and wouldn't boot, even with the help of an enterprising friend who knew how to unlock and jailbreak it.
And, when I realized that the only workable cell phone left in my house was a thick, brick-like pink Sidekick I'd last used in 2007- one that looked chic in a pre-rehab Lohan era and was as thrashed as she was on a general basis- I had a conniption. Hurling it out of the window seemed like a really acceptable option, even with the possibility of incurring a lawsuit if it hit someone on the head.
So, I frantically started shopping around. And, in that process- one where I alternately berated myself for ruining my phone, felt depressed, and thought I was a loser without an Apple product- a phrase unexpectedly materialized in my train of thought: Get over yourself.
I feel strangely better.
It's that bite of humble pie that's helped my pro-iPhone blinders to fall off, and do so relatively easily. When pinpointing the source of my lack-of-smartphone-stress, I've come to conclude that a great chunk, if not all, is hugely rooted in product snobbery. Through trendiness and cool commercial factors, I've taken pride in being an Apple user; because I owned an iPhone, surely I was hip, savvy about spending money, and getting the best of the best, right?
And, without an automatic Apple bias, I've finally noticed the range of Android devices available and that are just as compatible with my lifestyle requirements of Facebook, Twitter, and a handful of good apps. To my general delight, they're reasonably priced. The HTC and Samsung devices I've browsed don't seem have a cult-camp aura about them. And some might work better.
Last but not least, as I've taken the time to browse and choose a new phone, I've simply lived life with a lot more ease. In the two weeks I've gone without my iPhone, I finished one of George RR Martin's thick novels and three Sookie Stackhouse books, all of which I read peacefully and without checking into Facebook at steady ten-minute intervals. I've met new people without Tweeting about it. I'm less distracted on a general basis, and enjoy feeling not so beholden to my phone.
It's because of this rediscovered general ease that I'm somewhat reluctant to buy a smartphone again. I'm aware that the easily addicted, ADD-afflicted side of me has a ninety percent chance of obsessing over apps and the like all over again. I've come to enjoy not being a codependent, snobby asshole with a nice phone, and am not sure of how I'll balance my life with a smartphone in it all over again.
However, much as I'd like to think I can permanently abandon smartphones in general, I know it's a ridiculous, unrealistic assumption. There are far too many terrific conveniences that come with owning one, and as so much of my social life with family and friends involves Facebook and Twitter, there's no way to ignore that call.
But, when I get around to buying that new phone, it'll most likely be Android. And, I'll try to not to get suckered into any consumer illusions again.
An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.
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katherine (aka clevertitania)
7.20.11 @ 11:39a
I've never been an 'Apple' girl, but I wanted an iPhone in the beginning. But that's before Android came along, to give me full touch-screen and app options, without forcing me to use Blackberry or another subpar Windows Mobile OS. Thank goodness for geek-friendly Android.
But then I NEED a smartphone. The 18 months, between my Windows phone dying and being able to afford an Android, were torture. My calendar and shopping list/bill apps save me from my own forgetful ADHD brain.
7.20.11 @ 2:14p
I've been an Apple user for most of the last decade. It started with buying an iMac G4, then an iPod, and finally an iPhone. I have no complaints about the computer, which is only finally starting to conk out now that it's light years later from when I first bought it. I just assumed Apple's computer excellence automatically went hand-in-hand with buying a phone, and buying each is a different standard altogether.
Much as I'd like to think I could go about life without a smartphone permanently, I can't. Socializing with family and friends has evolved along with the presence of a smartphone. All of my cousins and friends are Facebook-friendly and without a smartphone, I miss out. It IS torture to go without one as I wait till it's budget-friendly to buy a new one, but I'm largely glad to not be joined at the hip with an iPhone or my Apple snobbery.
7.20.11 @ 11:19p
I'm one of the few who don't have a smartphone, but an iPod Touch instead that's just as distracting from the real world as a full-on iPhone, thanks to wifi capabilities, but it kind of forces you back into the real world when there is no wifi, and so its distraction isn't as bad. The only downside to this arrangement is that you don't have the convenience and quality of an iPhone camera. Also, I don't have the advantage of GPS/maps should I get lost somewhere with no wifi...
7.20.11 @ 11:23p
Other than those two disadvantages, I think I'm faring very well with my little Samsung Strive and iPod Touch. Although having two siblings with a major Apple snob streak hounding me with that stupid slogan "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone," makes it very difficult to stay where I am. It also helps that my sister-in-law does the same thing as me, so we have two teams fighting to keep their connectivity going strong their own way. It makes for fun reunions.
7.21.11 @ 1:33a
Your way of going about things with an iPod touch/Android phone is a handy idea- I wouldn't mind being limited to wifi surroundings (less ADD, less panic if the iPod touch fries for whatever reason).
"If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone."
Oh, that stupid slogan. Yet another way I felt smug about owning an iPhone. When I heard it, I used to think I was smart for buying one- and it's JUST A COMMERCIAL.
(Man, those commercials are dangerous.)
7.21.11 @ 10:35a
I like my little HTC Google Android. It was an easy entry into the world of smartphones. Now, HTC has an annoying habit of sending updates that may or may not force the phone out of commission, but otherwise, it's been good. I haven't downloaded a lot of aps, but what I have, I use a lot.
7.21.11 @ 12:21p
As someone who entered the smartphone arena in May, I'll admit that I love my iphone. Could I live without it? Yes. Is the data package really worth it? At times. My only wish is that I could use it with Credo mobile instead of Verizon. Then, a few of my hard-earned dollars would go to non-profits of my choice.
7.21.11 @ 12:21p
I thought your article was clever, at times funny, and right on target. The allure of product-snobbery is something that I try to avoid. But in an image/product crazed society, sometimes it's hard to fly "under the radar."
7.21.11 @ 2:36p
Tracey, I've really liked the HTC G2 phones I've browsed and heard nothing but good things about them. It'll be nice to get one when the budget is friendly and when I'm less likely to be Miss ADD all over again :-)
Hi Carrie! I used my iPhone with T-Mobile and had it unlocked. My bill was never out of control because I negotiated a minimal amount of data use. The battery was never strong, ran low within a few hours of basic use, so I'm definitely looking forward to not only getting a product that is less about popular bells and whistles, but one that doesn't die within the late afternoon after using it in the morning.
And, Apple's advertising is pretty seductive. They make it really, really easy to fall in love with a product, and you don't quite notice the snobbery flowing in your veins till later on.