Logically, this doesn’t really make sense. I mean, I use a Mac for my work. I have had about 5 days of serious interaction with anything running a Windows operating system since 1999 so an iPhone feels, to all intents and purposes, like a natural extension of my desktop. And its a lovely looking thing – I can slide things this way and that way, turn it sidewise and watch the screen slowly re-orientate itself. I can touch the screen with my finger rather than poking it with a stick (meat stylus vs plastic) and it can carry my music library in that beautiful iTunes way. So what really is there to hate about it?
The word iPhone is made up of the word Phone as in communication device, and the letter “i” meaning “Apple designed urban chic lifestyle defining gadget”. Owning an iPhone means you are one of the modern cool. You’re a secret rebel hipster, a snowboarding technological Easy Rider who toes nobody’s company line. You’re every bit as individual as everyone else who feels the urge to wear Converse trainers and Italian suits to the office, who spend £50 on a t-shirt emblazoned with a date and the name of an American college they never atttended, who have an iconically rebellious hairstyle and commute to work on a folding microscooter. Its people who live in North Kensington, who wear ripped Jean-Paul Gaultier jeans and drink in barren industrial-themed cyber bars where all the drinks cost a fiver and all the bar staff look like androgens from the planet style. If you want in to the Cool Culture, the iPhone is your day-pass.
Apps. The key to expanding you iPhone experience is through Apps, add on applications enabling you to leverage every remaining piece of useless trivium from the internet and mainline it directly into your face. Jamie Oliver recipes and the location of every NCP in Birmingham? The latest results of Dancing on Ice? Virtual puppies? The list of utter shite is endless. Do you need to know what the weather is in Cairo? No, and neither do I. But you get sucked in and you develop a drivel addiction. Next time you’re on a train, have a look around. You’ll be able to spot the iPhone users – they’ll be the ones frantically poking their devices, turning it this way and that, desperate for another fix of the digital guff that their pocket dealer is eager to unleash into their brain. “Hurry up!” it cries. “Facebook statuses might have changed. There are auctions on eBay happening RIGHT NOW. And perhaps you could check to see if your seat back is horizontal with the built in spirit level” . The Cult of App gets into your head, and you wonder if you could possibly live without them, despite the fact 99% of the planet’s population clearly do, and so have you for most of your life. Company owners, take note – next time an employee says they want to go to a meeting via train instead of the cheaper option of driving “so they can work”, read that as “so I can have 2 hours pissing about with my iPersonality”.
The Cult of App is inextricably intertwined with the Cult of Apple. You may be able to expand your iDevice with lovely iApps, but all of these have to be sanctioned by iApple, which means you will never see an app that addresses the shortcomings of the iPhone. “Wanna share photos with a friend? There’s an app for that!”. As long as your friend has an iPhone and the same software. Want to share a photo over bluetooth with someone using a different phone? Kiss my Appley squeakies. Because Apple have decided that you shouldn’t want to bluetooth a picture to your mate. You should want to email it instead. You may surf the web with Safari, their browser “that lets you see the real web — not a stripped-down mobile version” Although they really ought to add “Unless you want to view a website with Flash on it, cos we’re going to strip the f*ck out of that one … ”
For the first 2 generation there was no MMS. Only now is there video recording. These are functions that enhance the most basic phones by other manufactures and are well within the iPhones capability but Apple flatly prevent third party developers from exploiting them, in order to sell you an upgrade in the future. Who other than Apple would release a device that has both GPS and a mapping system but charge you between £20-50 to make the 2 work together in any sort of direction-finding system?
But my main grief with the iPhone is that it fails whenever you need it most. More regularly than you might suppose, I multitask by surfing FailBlog and Facebook while taking a dump. I doubt I am alone in that (although I am normally alone at the time). And it does this flawlessly. But the minute I’m on the train, or in a meeting and need to quickly email something to the office? No service. Error contacting mailbox. Your message could not be delivered at this time. There is No App For That, Motherfucker. Watch any businessman try and use an iPhone. They’re walking, they need to make a call they open the Contacts, they … stop. Stop dead in the street. And then … slowly turn with the phone looking for a data connection so it can retrieve the list of contacts … and they’re off again, moving and groovin’ and making deals and plans for playing squash or some other fucking pointless pastime, completely unaware that they just dropped out of reality for 20 seconds.
I have been sucked in, and I’m desperate to climb out although I’m scared of Apple Detox. Apple sell the iPhone as if its going to make you one of those lovely happy people that their ads imply, but actually they are selling you a crippled underachieving life made of shiny plastic. Its a glorious and smug life, as long as you don’t mind living in the Truman Show.