The iPhone 5 has only been out a few days — actually that’s a lie, but that’s definitely how it feels — and I’m already sick of the sight of it. Not just sick of it, either, I’m sick of the iPhone 6, 7 and 8 before they’ve even been imagined — wrong word, I’m sure they have been imagined and some Apple techno-dork is currently obsessing over them as I type this — as well as the big deal Apple will inevitably make out of iPhone 10 and, brace yourself, tighten those sphincter muscles…the iPhone 20. And let’s not even get started on the celebration they’re likely already planning for iPhone 100. Worse, I pity the grandchildren of my grandchildren’s grandchildren, as well as their funky futuristic friends. They don’t know it yet (unless Time is actually running backwards, in which case they’ve already been enduring Apple-related-hell for thousands of years, the poor sods) but one day, they will wake up and find Apple’s devoted minions have carved the next local planet into the shape of the iPhone 100 and everyone has to worship it or else they’ll be blasted into Outer Space forever. By then, you won’t be able to drop your pants for a poo without wiping your bum using Apple endorsed ultra-thin toilet paper, or breathing air which, conveniently, has to go through some kind of iPhone 100 filtering app before it’s safe enough to breath. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I’m alive now and not in 50-years time when we’re all eating different kinds of insects and not bothering to ask each other what we’ve been up to all day and how we are, because we already know.
My, things have changed…
Many years ago, Neanderthal man’s first priority upon waking up was probably to check he and his family was safe, then go out and hunt, then check to see if any other fellow Neanderthals had left any important messages carved into the local tree (messages like watch your back, the mother of that wolf you killed is around! maybe). Modern man and woman have a different agenda: reach for the iPhone then check emails.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, though. Apple aren’t all bad. You may be surprised to read this after the previous paragraphs, but I don’t actually hate Apple – I just despise the terrible/irritating/terminal character traits which they and their cohorts bring out in us and what they and other megalomaniac technology companies signify and I cannot get away from: a society where, for far too many people, material things have more importance than…well, everything else. Just take a look around you, or, if you’re in rural Scotland, jump on the train and head to a town where these new-fangled devices are commonplace. In a fight between buying a lifetime subscription to New Internationalist, a device which enables people to say c u soon and connect to other dorks worldwide really shouldn’t be winning the fight.
But of course, I’m a gigantic hypocrite and I’m the first to admit it: like many around me, I’m currently under a voluntary modern-slave-agreement with smaller megalomaniac firm HTC, who, surely, when given half a chance, would carve a planet into the shape of one of their phones. But that’s not the point, is it? No. The point is that some of the people who break into a cold-sweat when a week goes by without Apple releasing a new app are different to the average moaning blogging hypocrite (for one thing they can afford to spend £500 plus on a mobile phone, but there must be other ways too). These, some of these people, are a different breed who don’t just need phones, they’re people who adore the fashionable bullshit hypermachine that Apple and co are riding and, in some cases, get offended by blogs like this which dare to poke a sharp stick in a tender place. But let’s get this straight. It’s not that I hate these people either – I’m sure some of my friends are these people – it’s just that when I’m sitting with them, I want to converse and actually do human kind of things without interruption, and that’s what Apple make difficult. Call me cynical but I want to talk like people do, like people used to do. If people who owned Apple phones could just put the bloody things away while in company and leave it at that, I wouldn’t have a problem and I wouldn’t be writing this. But that’s where Apple really break new ground: the problem is, Apple and similar phones are just too bloody good and we as a species are powerless to stop them. Or, at least, powerless to not become obsessed with all this technology. So in many ways, it really isn’t our fault.
There, I admit it: Apple make devices which are addictive, fun & intriguing — as well as time-wasting. They could have stopped at making a half-decent phone with a few dozen apps, but that wasn’t good enough, no…they had to go and develop/allow hundreds, maybe even thousands of apps, and make them all rich and compelling and seemingly essential to our survival. Buy an iPhone and you can’t help but get caught-up in the madness of quality design and sleek, innovative gadgetry. Except here’s the thing: we just don’t need that much of it.
That was good fun, wasn’t it? Slating Apple? Except here’s the really daft part – this is an argument which doesn’t actually exist. I’m arguing against myself, really. It’s a ghost argument, if you will. A phantom waste of my western time. An argument so pathetic and feeble and not worth talking or writing about that I really ought to slap myself for bothering to waste all this time putting my thoughts down here (not to mention editing, spell-checking and digging-out my brick-phones…). Looking at it in the context of the Universe, it’s all a bit silly, really…I mean, we’re talking about a company who make shiny technological things which some people like and some people don’t like. Considering it from that perspective, I’m amazed at myself for actually bothering to get wrapped-up in it all. Let’s be honest, if someone accidentally delivered an iPhone 5 to my door, chances are that I’d at least open it and unwrap it and plug it in and charge it and use it and become attached to it and not notify the post-office or Apple that they had made a mistake. Really, the Apple iPhone 5 is just yet another device which I will not use, along with the iPad, iPod or iwhatever, because I am already in a modern slave agreement with HTC and never got round to buying Apple products (and I like to think I have a life, too). Had things been different, I might have become an Apple addict.
For a while there – 1,032 words which you just waded through up until the start of this sentence, to be exact – I forgot what the hell this blog post was about. But I’ve remembered now, so I’ll get back on with what I was saying.
Ah…the brick-phone…remember those? Course you do. While some of you may be googling What’s a brick-phone? On your iPhone 5, others of you will be smiling and may even be filled with a precious, nostalgic feeling of weight in your pocket and horrific bills after just a few ill-timed phone-calls. My old shit Nokia! I loved that phone! some of you may well be thinking. Those heady days when predictive text was in its infancy, and your brick-phone went everywhere with you, your hands working feverishly on the keypad to create a message…a message which wasn’t exactly a joy to put together, it’s true – you had to remember what the message you were replying to actually said, while you typed the new message – but a message which felt satisfying to write all the same.
So here’s why I think the brick-phone will forever rule:
You can actually, really, drop it
According to various sources, dropping an iPhone of any description means instant phone failure, inescapable phone-rage and endless conversations with happy strangers when trying to get a new one sent through. My old Nokia brick, on the other hand, was so indestructible that I regularly had fun deliberately dropping it, sometimes even chucking it at the floor. Every time I dropped it, the phone smashed and exploded and flew across the floor in various different pieces, then I put it back together and sent a text on it and felt brilliant. Until I threw it at the floor a bit too hard one day and it broke and I ended up in a modern slavery agreement with HTC, that is…
Freedom without the internet is a good thing. You should try it
Call me mental, but I think it’s nice to not be hassled or accesible when you’re out and about. Plus, having a brick-phone means that you can actually say I haven’t read that email yet to your boss or client and genuinely mean it. For me, those days are long gone.
It makes a fine weapon
You might get in one smash to an attacker’s head with an iPhone 5, if you’re very lucky, but you’ll never get a second and come out of it with a working device. With a brick-phone, however, the rules change…you can beat the crap out of a mugger, teach a second mugger a thing or two and still have enough battery to call an ambulance.
The brick-phone’s battery lasts forever
What I just said. Now? I can’t go a day without needing to charge the damn thing up.