Okay, I'm going to share some disturbingly shocking news: I have been without a cellphone since about 2002. The last cell phone I owned was the excellent Sanyo SCP-5000, and prior to that I owned the Nokia 8100, which I paid a mind-boggling (if not ill advised) $700 for at the time. But somewhere down the line, the appeal of being able to be reached anywhere and everywhere, tethered by the now ubiquitous cell phone lost its appeal...
The reactions I receive when I tell friends and acquaintances, including my fellow Apartment Therapy editors, that I do not own a cell phone range from bemused to sometimes outright upset (magnified by the fact I live in Los Angeles, where I believe babies are now being delivered wearing headsets and MMS their mothers before arrival). Considering I contribute to a tech site, I understand the confusion, but I've never thought having a cell phone was a necessity. Years ago, rumours of an Apple branded handset began to surface, and I would often mention I might reconsider returning to the fold if Apple offered many more features besides voice call service and sported Apple's UI artistry. But when the first iPhone arrived, the limitations of speed and utility softened my desire for an Apple branded cell phone. Watching friends load websites with the speeds akin to your grandfather's fiber deficient bowel movements did little to convince me I was missing out on very much, since I remain dispassionate about cell calls, and was mostly interested in IM, email and blogging features the iPhone hinted at with their first iteration.
"Okay, I'll get the next version, when it's on a 3G network and has additional features I can use," I promised friends who worried that I had regressed to a luddite state, perhaps considering I might appear at the next social gathering on a pennyfarthing and spouting off stories of the "good ole days" and tales about pre-industrial technology.
I stayed up till 4am last night debating the pros and cons of returning to the world of owning a cell phone again. The majority of my list was composed of "pros", including the introduction of the Apps shop, much faster online access, tighter integration with other Apple products, the inclusion of GPS, and the realization that a truly relevant platform was hitting its stride. Like it or not, the iPhone matters, and to ignore it or excuse it as an overhyped toy would be as foolish as those who said so much about the first brick sized iPod (which had similar deficiencies and limitations compared to other MP3 players at the time). The glaring negative on my list was the cost. Although the iPhone 2.0 is priced at a wallet-friendly $199, the minimum $70/month plan was a painful amount to budget for someone who is trying to live within his means (the life of a professional blogger isn't one of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, folks). I debated internally for hours into the morning, finally decided at 4am I could do without one, and fell asleep resigned to live without the hand held second coming.
Well, until my girlfriend woke me up at 6:30am by pouncing ontop of me (normally a good thing) and excitedly asking if I was getting the iPhone today. She wanted to come along this morning and partake in the first day festivities with an excitement that was contagious (I believe it was at this moment both of our upper lips began showing an apple flavoured Kool-Aid stain). In an instant, I succumbed to what I admit is my inner fanboy desires (the same that bit me with the Xbox360, the DS and the Wii), and thus we set out this morning to hit up an out-of-the-way AT&T store location which I thought would have a moderate sized line.
Oh boy, what an optimistic fool I can be! We were greeted by a long line that wrapped around the corner, with what seemed like a very, very slow moving wait (people in line looked comfortably situated in portable seating in it for the long haul). We drove around the line that wrapped perhaps a 100 people back and ended up deciding to just go get breakfast instead, drowning out our disappointment in pancakes and coffee. I had work to do and I didn't feel up for getting into a line that I had no guarantee of coming out of with an iPhone from. Call me a bit old...or wise...but I can wait till tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. But for now, a software upgraded iPod Touch will do, and I live yet another day cell phone free, thinking and living different.
*Small update from an inside source at Apple: "Don't update your iphones yet! There's an activation error that will be resolved."