Monday, May 7, 2012

The Why-Phone

Over the past few weeks, I finally took a big step forward into the 21st century, technology-wise. First, I made the decision to stop resisting Facebook's insistence on using the Profile Timeline and switched over, inevitably discovering that the only way it works properly is that you have to spend the time actually dating your photos and such. Then, I made the next big step and installed WiFi in my apartment. I think my family and friends thought I had been replaced by an alien twin. And now, succumbing to the greatest pressure of all, I have an iPhone 4S. What do I think of it? Just look at the picture of me showing it off! I look like a giddy fool!

bklynbiblio readers may recall my ambivalence about the iPad when I got one last year. I still think it's rather sleek, and now having WiFi has made a tremendous difference in how I use it. I also have found it to be very convenient for traveling, when not carrying my laptop. My big problem then (and to some extent now) is that basically it's an entertainment device with really cool touch-screen technology. But when it came to its sister product, the iPhone, here's what I wrote back in July 2011: "OK, so if you're wondering why with this touch-screen action I'm acting like I've never heard of the iPhone before, it's simply because I don't own an iPhone and iDon'tWantOne. The screen on those things is just too small for me to appreciate what you're trying to look at, and first and foremost I just want my cell phone to make phone calls, not turn into a vocal GPS so Majel Barrett can tell me how to get to Starbucks (come you really want people to know you're lost while walking?)." Man, was I ever stupid.

People have been raving about this little gadget for a while, and I felt like they were blowing smoke out their asses just to show off. It's a phone with lots of gizmos, right? Big deal! I can now sheepishly admit that I was wrong. Seriously wrong. I've had mine now for 1 week, and I think I'm in love with it. I may even name her. Steve Jobs clearly was a modern-day Prometheus. Instead of giving us fire, he gave us the next best thing, a hand-held computer-slash-communication device that can think and talk back to you. How did humans ever exist without this thing? The camera takes great pictures, and you can seamlessly integrate them into messaging or emails or Facebook or Twitter or whatever. The iCloud technology means my iPad and iPhone are now synced in real-time. What also amazes me is that if I'm in a WiFi zone, all my data exchange is through the WiFi. When I'm not, it's automatically part of my telephone data plan. You're almost never disconnected. That's what was missing from the iPad: the integration of constant communication. Even the phone works great! Plus with the 4S system, I can even use my iPhone as a wireless router and connect my laptop to the Internet when I'm in a no-WiFi zone. Brilliant, I tell you! And don't even get me started on Siri, the talking personal servant/secretary, whom I admit I've barely begun to engage with because I'm terrified she knows the secrets to both world peace and the apocalypse.

While I have to admit that I still prefer the large screen of the iPad over that of the iPhone (these aging eyes just see things better on the larger screen), I'm willing to put up with that inconvenience with all of the other incredible things this iPhone can do. I do find myself also now feeling a little paranoid that someone's going to steal my phone, as technology muggings are on the rise here in NYC. Still, I must say, I'm thrilled with my decision to move forward and get this phone. I now have a glimpse of understanding about those wackos who wait for days on line to get the new iPhone when it's released. I'm not joining them, mind you (I have to draw my crazy line somewhere), but oddly enough I now seem to get it. I could keep going on, but I think I just got a "ding" that it's my turn playing Words with Friends!

1 comment:

pranogajec said...

"You're almost never disconnected. That's what was missing from the iPad: the integration of constant communication."

Sounds kind of scary to me! (And to Nicholas Carr, of course).