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The iPhone Effect

Challin Meink

Although I greatly appreciate my colleague Matilda’s fervor for life without a smartphone, something happened about a month ago that makes me disagree.  I got an iPhone.  I know. I know.  Everyone thinks there is some grand conspiracy going on.  Steve Jobs brainwashed us all into believing that we NEED an iEverything.  And five weeks ago I would have agreed.  Five weeks ago, I had a Blackberry Curve.  Browsing the internet was impossible. The #136 bus had long passed my stop by the time my screen loaded.  Scrolling left and right in emails was a joke.  Really?  A mouse on a cell phone?  I was more connected in China in 2009 with an ancient Palm Trio, than I was in 2012 with a Blackberry.  At least overseas my mobile map would fully load on the first try.  Needless to say, my frustration with my phone situation was building.

Everybody said I needed to buy an iPhone.  But I’ve never owned a Mac, my iPod is from 2007, and (not long ago) I was happy with a phone that was literally the size and weight of a brick.  Was I capable of using an iPhone?  It’s so sleek and shiny.  There are so many applications- how would I choose?  What if I wanted to change the settings- would I need a user’s guide?  One button to go back to the home screen? That’s madness!

I was cautious and nervous.  I’m terrible with electronics and $300 is a lot of money, but with much hesitation, I made the investment in my sanity.  I bought the iPhone 4s.

After owning my phone for a month, I still feel like a whole new woman!  Now I know exactly when my bus is coming (unless the CTA decides to play its tricks on me).  I know what the weather will be.  I can listen to my music or Pandora, while reading my emails, or buying shoes online.  I can see what my tweeps are saying.  My photos from the Sox home-opener load in seconds, so I can immediately untag the bad ones.  It’s really the most amazingly dramatic improvement to my life since I got my driver’s license.

With the joy of my new iPhone, which I’ve named Betty, also comes the burden of connectivity.  As Matilda mentioned, there really is no need to be connected 24/7, so I’ve imposed some rules on her.

  1. No work email during meals
  2. No work email between 8:30pm and 8am
  3. If I’m in a social setting, I will be social with the people who are present
  4. No texting while driving, unless I’m using Siri
  5. Before I Google a fact, I’ll put in the honest effort to try and remember it on my own
  6. Limit my time on stupid games
  7. Use more apps that contribute to my knowledge i.e. Mandarin learning tools, word of the day, mental floss etc.

With these rules, Betty and I will live happily (and conveniently) ever after.