It’s been six weeks since I got my iPhone. Since then, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked questions along the lines of, “Oh my god, are you totally addicted now?” “Isn’t it amazing?” “Can you not live without it now?” “You must be loving it!” I squirm nervously when people start gushing because, honestly, my iPhone really hasn’t been that life-changing. My old fashioned paper Moleskine planner was far more helpful when it joined the household than my new phone has been.
Despite being a young couple who likes technology, we’re surprisingly archaic in some ways. Besides not having a TV, we don’t have WiFi in our house — just a single DSL hardline that plugs into my husband’s desktop computer or my laptop, which means that only one of us can be online at a given time. As inconvenient as this is, it’s actually quite good at limiting the amount of time wasted online. Because there’s no WiFi and I have a very small data plan on my phone, the basic fact is that my iPhone doesn’t get used. Except for the occasional text message, my phone sits in the china cabinet, abandoned and ignored. I do feel guilty about this and tell myself I’d use it more if we got WiFi, which I’m considering, but the bottom line is that I’d have to fundamentally change my lifestyle if I wanted to use my phone more, and therein lies the problem.
I don’t want to check my phone all the time. I don’t want to pull out my phone when I’m bored and looking for entertainment. It’s far more efficient to juggle a wrinkled paper grocery list and sticky-faced kids than make sure my hands are spotless before reading a list on my phone’s touchscreen. I’ve checked out a few cool apps, but most scream “time-waster” at me whenever I think about using them. I hate time-wasters because time is so precious!
Last week, when I went to Kitchener-Waterloo for a day, I decided to experiment and use my phone as my primary source of information. Instead of mapping out my route and knowing exactly where I was going ahead of time, I relied on my phone to google addresses and a map of the city in order to get where I was going. It was more annoying than effective, and next time I’ll resort to my old style of organizing/planning everything via my laptop in advance.
I also had my email synced to my phone for less than 10 minutes before undoing it. The last thing I want is to receive emails constantly throughout the day; when I feel like handling emails, I go to my computer. It keeps it simpler, makes me think more consciously about what I’m interrupting to do so, and is more likely to elicit a response from me than get filed and forgotten if I only glance at it in passing.
Admittedly, it’s a beautiful device and I do like flipping through the apps and using the camera, but that’s about it. My conclusion that may disappoint many is, “No, my phone is nothing special.” In fact, I think it’s overrated and kind of wish I’d gotten the new Blackberry Z10, because I might as well support a local Canadian industry while I’m succumbing to the smartphone craze. The iPhone 4S was by far the cheapest option and that’s why I got it in the first place, but it will remain firmly planted in the cabinet for the next while because I don’t want to become more distracted and busy than I already am!