You see them everywhere: smartphones. It’s like everyone has either an iPhone, Blackberry, or some sort of Android phone and they are staring at them while doing pretty much everything. People walk and tweet. People Facebook during lectures. People check their inboxes at parties. Sports, dinner, hair cuts, washrooms (yes, I’ve heard the “pings” in washrooms). You name a place and I bet that someone uses their phone there, however ridiculous the place. It’s an epidemic. Or pandemic. Don’t know the difference.
I don’t hate smartphones, hell, I have one myself. A beautiful 16 GB iPhone 4 that I’ve been infatuated since December. The thing that bothers me is that people always have their phones on them, doing something so important that they can’t pay attention to the person they are having lunch with. I guess I’m a bit jealous.
The new Windows Phone 7 commercial sums it up quite nicely.
My smartphone addiction started out as an innocent affair, like it always does. I began looking at any news of the new iPhone from the specificities about its retina display to speculations to why the white version wasn’t released along with the black one. Then there were discussions with friends in real life and on online about which is better: iOS or Android (both are good, but I was fiercely on the iOS team). There were the Apple store trips, the going-to-see-my-friends-only-because-they-had-iPhone-4s (and because, well, they’re my friends too in case they’re reading this), and debating with myself whether I should get a contract for a cheaper phone or without one. It got so bad that I dreamed of buying the iPhone during finals. My obsession infiltrated my day AND night life.
Finally, I bought my iPhone 4 at the Apple store at Oakridge Centre 1 hour after I had my last final. It was a fantastic way to start my winter vacation and under much speculation from my friends, I didn’t manage to drop it out of excitement on the first day.
That’s when I got hooked. Hooked as in most of my life is on my phone and I need to be attached to it at all times. Everything from the glass covers (a very nice addition yet very crackable) to the 5 MP camera is perfect. But it’s the apps that make the difference. The Calendar app is so easy to organize everything I have to do week by week, making my planner obsolete. The Notes app lets me jot down my thoughts and ideas instantly. The Mail app lets me write e-mails on the go and send them once I’m Wi-Fi connected.
And then there were the apps in the App Store. That’s where it all went downhill (my productivity) and uphill (my entertainment).
As of right now, I’m proud to say that my addiction is less severe. Like moving from the extreme hyperfunctioning end of the spectrum to the slight above average area.
I still like finding new cool apps and ways to change up my iPhone like changing the wallpaper (go Canucks!) and the ringtone (The Lazy Song!) It’s attached to me at all times when I’m out, even at work, because losing my last phone on the bus has become a stern reminder to never have it out of my sight. Now it’s more about trying not to damage it (only dropped it 3 times with no dents!) and to be mindful not to be a hypocrite by not playing with my phone when I’m with friends as well. Bros before hoes and phones.
Having a smartphone has helped me improve my self-control beyond what I thought I could with new, shiny technology. My mesmerization with the iPhone was the same as when I got my first and only Game Boy with the games being the equivalent to the apps. I remember playing Pokémon in the car, during dinner, during recess, at the mall, you get the point. And it was like that with my iPhone. Also similar to the Game Boy is that over time I’ve learned to work my iPhone into my life so it doesn’t disturb my productivity and social life, but improve them. That’s biwinning in my iBooks.
Written by Eric Chow