Jan 192008

I held an iPhone for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We went to Alex and Melissa’s for dinner, and Santa Claus brought them one, so I got to play with it for a good long while.

There’s no doubt it’s a fantastic product. It was more substantial than I expected it to be (without being overly heavy), and material choice, quality, and melding is perfect. The user interface is eminently explorable and never intimidating. The screen is gorgeous.

And I don’t want one.

The “everything” gadget has never turned me on, and I doubt it ever will. I want my telephone, my camera, my music player, and my PDA to be different things. For one thing, more functionality and (often) higher quality is available in individual components. For another, if something happens to one of them (theft, dropped onto the sidewalk, etc.), then I haven’t lost the rest of them, too.

I wonder how much longer I’ll have that choice? Are there enough people who feel as I do, or is the Swiss Army knife device the new paradigm?

The only significant capability an iPhone would add to my life is the “anywhere” net access. That sounds appealing at first blush, but would I really do anything with it? I have high-quality access both at home and at work, and a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop and PDA. How much more connected to the Internet do I need to be? I can’t recall a single time when I had to have the net right then, and any significant discomfort was generated by its unavailability.

After all, for all of the affection I have for toys and technology, I’m still a GenXer who’s never sent a text message.

The iPhone won’t do anything else that I don’t have in another box, except radiate that Apple hipness. Clearly I don’t value that very highly, either: this afternoon I replaced the battery in my (“boring,” ancient, monochrome, 4GB) iPod mini, which I’ve owned since July 2005. I have friends who have been through three iPods in the same period.

I put the iPhone down with much the same feeling I had toward the first BlackBerry I played with, nearly eight years ago:

This is really neat, but they didn’t build it for me.

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 Posted by at 11:24 pm

  7 Responses to “iLuddism”

  1. Oh, they TOTALLY built it for ME!

    I still have all the other components in other boxes – I’ve got an iPod (of course – Mr. Chili is a Mac geek) and a camera and all that – but the iPhone is cool. I got one for Christmas and I don’t regret giving up my SideKick for it one bit.

    The internet thing comes in handier than you may think. I Google answers to questions we have in restaurants or the car all the time, and though I haven’t needed it YET, I bet the map feature on the iPhone will come in handy someday.

    I appreciate and respect your desire to keep it simple, but I’m not going to apologize for loving this bit of techno-geekery. It’s cool, and I’m happy I have one.

  2. First, I love the title of this post, and I knew what it was about before I clicked over here.

    Second, I am not sure I like the idea of being able to Google an answer to something. We used to spend hours in fun, conversation, trying to convince the others that we knew how things were. Later, we would be vindicated or shown up, but what mattered was the time spent in the debate. I know that sounds weird.

    This happened over Christmas. We were waiting for the start of the Nutcracker, and my sister was trying to convince her friend that egg nog was made with alcohol. Her friend was convinced it wasn’t ever made with booze. The debate was entertaining, lighthearted and funny. Then someone leaned over with the Wiki history of egg nog on the iPhone. That took the wind out of the sails, so to speak. (I know, Bo, -5).

  3. Mrs. Chili: I understand. I just hope the market continues to accommodate us both.

    ‘seester: Thanks. I liked the title myself. And I’m not going to start -5ing guests; that would be rude.

  4. You know what, Seester? I TOTALLY see your point. I guess I’d have to say that my love of a good debate (and the fact that I don’t feel that I have to be right all the time) prevents me from whipping out the iPhone to prove every point. We work stuff around in our heads for a while to see if we can get answers on our own – the iPhones are a last resort.

  5. Don’t get me wrong, either. I covet that gadget. I keep talking myself out of it for the reasons that Bo gives, but I keep finding myself coming around again. I finally talked myself out of the Kindle once and for all when I found out amazon can track your reading habits! (That, and you don’t “own” your books, as in you can’t sell your copy or give it to a friend, like with a real, sexy, book.)

    I usually succumb to gadget fever, though.

  6. That’s a difference between us. I don’t even covet it. For some almost trivial amount of money, like $99, I might get one.

    I dismissed the Kindle out of hand on price, but I didn’t realize that about being unable to loan a book.

  7. I’m holding out for a laptop, I think.

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