When the iphone first came out, I was not attracted to it at all. A lot of my colleagues – I was surrounded by photographers at the time – were really excited that they would take their “business” with them (and being able to immediately respond to wedding inquiries might mean the difference between getting a chance at a job and losing out to someone else). After going through initial curiosity stage, I began to see the iphone craze as just another expensive luxury that was being marketed as necessary to our overcaffeinated generation. And I was suspicious about the ability to check email from anywhere, because I already feel that I overcheck email as it is. I believe it is healthy to have some parts of life (vacations, car trips, and waiting in line) excluded from being plugged in.
As newer! faster! sleeker! generations of the iphone came out, more and more of my peers were sucked in. You could hear people calling into the Dave Ramsey show asking for advice to file for bankruptcy who had just spent a bonus check to purchase the entire family matching iphones instead of putting money toward paying off the credit cards or mortgage or putting food on the table. I shake my head, judgmentally, as friends who I know don’t have any extra money sign up for $40/month data plans and justify it with explanations about saving money because they put other family members on the same plan (what?).
I have to admit, I am still sometimes judgmental of iphone users.
I don’t want to be this way, and I have to recognize that most of the people I respect in life use these clever little devices. I admit that I too would check my twitter stream while waiting in the never-ending line at the Piedmont post office if I had a data plan in my pocket. I admit that I would feel a lot better if I had GPS with me at any time or could check a flight status in transit. And, if used properly, the device just might allow some of us to vacation better, leaving laptops at home.
But… iphone or millionaire, people? I choose millionaire.
I know it’s not perfect, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?
One little lifehack that has allowed me to have many of the benefits of the iphone but virtually none of the expense is the ipod touch. In the past four years, I’ve worn one ipod to death, and am dangerously close to wearing out a second. I use this daily to check in on blog feeds, twitter streams, and facebook in a noninvasive way, and also to reference my calendar and contact information on the go. The ability to access music, audiobooks, contacts, calendars, and photos anywhere, plus the ability to access internet, email and streaming pandora wherever there’s wifi available means that I can still travel light if I don’t need to access my photo editing software or write long email responses which encourages me to leave work at home. Note: suspicious of the “koolade” factor, I tried the ipad when it first came out but couldn’t justify the expense and the size versus the relative benefit against the simple little ipod touch.
So, I don’t mean to be judgmental about this, but I’m really glad I decided against the iphone and subsequent data plan charges back in 2008. There have been moments of weakness and data plan envy – especially when I am stuck somewhere and could really benefit from being able to access Yelp reviews or check for an important email notification… but I keep coming back to that idea expressed in the comic… iphone or millionaire? DELAYED GRATIFICATION!
Full disclosure: Ali does have a hand-me-down jailbroken iphone he hacks with a $10/mo data plan.
So, readers. I know I might have alienated about 80% of you with this manifesto. Do you love your iphone? Does it help you do life better? I won’t judge you if you share (unless you really can’t feed your kids this month).