Why I’m Not Standing With the iPhone Crowd

Today, I am not standing in line anywhere for an iPhone. It’s expected to be close to 100F here in North Carolina, and even though I’m sans child, I have no inclination to do such a thing, nor do I harbor feelings of jealousy against the people who have ordered and can afford these new iPhones. I don’t have one, haven’t had one, even though I’ve been an Apple user for the better part of my lifetime.

Which is not to say that the iPhone 4G isn’t an amazing gadget (contrary to what some might say for a good headline) and, again, will likely change the face of technology. Just that it isn’t for me.

I’ve always been a Mac loyalist. I wrote my first full length novel on a strawberry iMac, and have been slowly working to convert my family and friends to the Mac platform for years. I’ve endured crappy WoW performance from the beginning, because I love my Mac. I’ve named every single one of my computers, and couldn’t get half my work done if Scrivener didn’t exist.

But I can’t help but feel as if Apple has changed since I started out with my first little computer. I mean, in college, my computer wasn’t compatible with anything. Any term paper I wrote had to be emailed, then opened in the computer lab, then formatted correctly for printing. I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I wasted trying to convert footnotes from AppleWorks to MS Word.

I’m not saying I’m a purist, exactly. But the market for iPhones is not the average lifelong Mac user, I don’t think. It’s not a matter of sour grapes, but it’s a matter of observation. The iPhone has become a status symbol, a mark of techworthiness (or not… there are plenty of iPhone users I’ve encountered who have no idea how to use the device). Yes, there are all kinds of reasons for owning an iPod, but the mania surrounding the whole new release just baffles me and, honestly, feels a bit surreal from my perspective. The iPhone was Apple’s ticket to the cool club, sure. But at what cost?

Each of my Macs has run for years. The MacBook I currently have is over three years old. For me, it’s about computers that last, not about phones and gadgets that expire and become obsolete of their own devising. Sure, the iPhone is a magnificent product—my husband owns one, so I know my way around it if I have to.

I guess what gets under my skin is that Apple, which once branded itself on being unique, has lost touch with that. Sure, they’re a business. They’re rolling in the dough. They’re far more successful than they were ten years ago when I was banging out term papers in my iBook (the computer, not the iPad application). And I’m glad for them, absolutely. They’ve changed and, judging by the headlines across the Web today, they are at last dominating the tech scene. Any company wants to be that successful, and they are certainly the envy of the industry.

It just seems a shame that some of us way early adopters are left out of the shuffle. You know, the writers, musicians and artists who had the first iTunes, and got the company to the point where it could make something as magnificent as the iPhone. Who scraped together every last penny to buy a more expensive computer when we could have gone with a Dell.

Coupled with their AT&T contracts in the US, their less than stellar network issues, and high prices, even though my contract on my crappy phone is running out soon, I’ve really got no interest in a 4G, sadly. I guess I’m just not in the cool club anymore.

I bet the lines for the Droid phones are a hell of a lot shorter, too.





30 Responses to Why I’m Not Standing With the iPhone Crowd

  1. I don't disagree. The two things that really bother me about iPhones are the network (at&t really does suck) and the status-symbol nature of them. I use an iPhone because it's an amazingly functional device, not because I'm Cool if I have one.

    I own a 1st-gen iPhone, as does my wife, and we love them. We use the heck out of them, and they've been worth the $ – not because we had people oohing and ahhing, but because they're incredibly useful. They also appealed to the geek in us on the deepest level, since they're really as close to a tricorder/communicator as we've seen yet. ;)

    Now our phones are 3 years old, still functioning fine, but we're still upgrading to the new ones. And again, we're doing it for practical reasons, not because they're The Big Thing. We want to do video blogging and even narrative vids, and the new phones have good-quality 720p video recording (we're not pros, we don't need pro-quality). And our current models are too old to be on the 3G network, so we should see an upgrade in speed. There are a number of software upgrades we're looking forward to that aren't available on the 1st-gen phones too (threaded email and universal inbox? Yes please).

    And even with all that, we wouldn't be upgrading except we can get them pretty cheap – 2 phones for less than we paid for 1 of the 1st-gen ones. And we're grandfathering in our service plans. It took all that to get us to upgrade – take any of it away and we'd probably decide it wasn't worth it.

    So… yeah. I hate the status-symbol nature of technology in general, and the iPhone in particular, because people see me with mine and assume I got it AS a status symbol. When really, I just want a useful damn device that saves me tons of time and hassle.

  2. I don’t disagree. The two things that really bother me about iPhones are the network (at&t really does suck) and the status-symbol nature of them. I use an iPhone because it’s an amazingly functional device, not because I’m Cool if I have one.

    I own a 1st-gen iPhone, as does my wife, and we love them. We use the heck out of them, and they’ve been worth the $ – not because we had people oohing and ahhing, but because they’re incredibly useful. They also appealed to the geek in us on the deepest level, since they’re really as close to a tricorder/communicator as we’ve seen yet. ;)

    Now our phones are 3 years old, still functioning fine, but we’re still upgrading to the new ones. And again, we’re doing it for practical reasons, not because they’re The Big Thing. We want to do video blogging and even narrative vids, and the new phones have good-quality 720p video recording (we’re not pros, we don’t need pro-quality). And our current models are too old to be on the 3G network, so we should see an upgrade in speed. There are a number of software upgrades we’re looking forward to that aren’t available on the 1st-gen phones too (threaded email and universal inbox? Yes please).

    And even with all that, we wouldn’t be upgrading except we can get them pretty cheap – 2 phones for less than we paid for 1 of the 1st-gen ones. And we’re grandfathering in our service plans. It took all that to get us to upgrade – take any of it away and we’d probably decide it wasn’t worth it.

    So… yeah. I hate the status-symbol nature of technology in general, and the iPhone in particular, because people see me with mine and assume I got it AS a status symbol. When really, I just want a useful damn device that saves me tons of time and hassle.

  3. I purchased my first smart phone(htc evo) about 3 weeks ago. I didn't know what I was missing until I got it and played with all the apps.

    I thought about getting an iphone awhile back but I have never liked how apple ran things. Leaving that "one feature" that everyone wanted out until a later release to get them to buy the next model of the phone. Plus how closed they are when it comes to what you can do with the phone itself and the apps.

    Yea my evo's battery sucks but I'm going to get a replacement and it will last me all day then. As it stands now if I charge it at lunch I don't have any issues with it. Also waiting on a otterbox for my evo so I don't have to be so worried about breaking it.

    But I love the openness of the android phones, anyone can submit an app and not have to worry about it getting denied or whatnot. (unless malicious in some way)

    Plus I have always like to support the underdog.

    But for now I'm happy and I don't think I'm missing anything with the iphone craze.

  4. I purchased my first smart phone(htc evo) about 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know what I was missing until I got it and played with all the apps.

    I thought about getting an iphone awhile back but I have never liked how apple ran things. Leaving that “one feature” that everyone wanted out until a later release to get them to buy the next model of the phone. Plus how closed they are when it comes to what you can do with the phone itself and the apps.

    Yea my evo’s battery sucks but I’m going to get a replacement and it will last me all day then. As it stands now if I charge it at lunch I don’t have any issues with it. Also waiting on a otterbox for my evo so I don’t have to be so worried about breaking it.

    But I love the openness of the android phones, anyone can submit an app and not have to worry about it getting denied or whatnot. (unless malicious in some way)

    Plus I have always like to support the underdog.

    But for now I’m happy and I don’t think I’m missing anything with the iphone craze.

  5. There's a documentary called Macheads that speaks to this same kind of thing, it's on Netflix, might be worth a watch.

  6. There’s a documentary called Macheads that speaks to this same kind of thing, it’s on Netflix, might be worth a watch.

  7. After reading that I have to ask… why exactly are you a mac "loyalist"? Sounds like your somewhat slavish devotion to a corporate entity has made your life over time incalculably more difficult and annoying.

    And Apple has ALWAYS striven to make their products a "status symbol" nothing has changed with their marketing, it is your perception that has changed.

  8. After reading that I have to ask… why exactly are you a mac “loyalist”? Sounds like your somewhat slavish devotion to a corporate entity has made your life over time incalculably more difficult and annoying.

    And Apple has ALWAYS striven to make their products a “status symbol” nothing has changed with their marketing, it is your perception that has changed.

  9. Goddamnit, you're just like one of those whiny little hipsters who complains when that underground indie band finally makes it big and starts actually making money. You accuse them of being a sell-out and say things like "You changed, man! You used to be COOL!" Have you tried being proud of Apple?

    The tech world, like the music world, is a viscous one. Sure, they hold their ground on premium computers, but premium computers alone won't pay the bills. I for one was (and still am) happy to see them on the attack in other markets.

  10. Goddamnit, you’re just like one of those whiny little hipsters who complains when that underground indie band finally makes it big and starts actually making money. You accuse them of being a sell-out and say things like “You changed, man! You used to be COOL!” Have you tried being proud of Apple?

    The tech world, like the music world, is a viscous one. Sure, they hold their ground on premium computers, but premium computers alone won’t pay the bills. I for one was (and still am) happy to see them on the attack in other markets.

  11. I think at the Droid X presentation they said they're seeing 160,000 android phone activations a day.

    Of course all the phone carriers have Android phones now…

  12. I think at the Droid X presentation they said they’re seeing 160,000 android phone activations a day.

    Of course all the phone carriers have Android phones now…

  13. I have to agree with Scott, what you're saying is you've loved Apple from the beginning even though they've always sucked, but now that they suck in the form of a huge corporation, you don't like them?

    • Nah, I don't hate Apple products. I love them, which is why I endured the growing pains for as long as I did. I love the computers; heck, it's all I've used for the last decade. I was always willing to take the bad for the good, because I believed in the software and OS.

      That said, it's about iPhones specifically where my gripe lies, and the culture around it–not the computers.

      • I have to say I agree with you on the whole.

        What I find truly fascinating though are the levels of passion that Apple products seem to inspire, from both the lovers and the haters. Myself included.

        Some time ago I wrote a post commenting on the fact that I couldn't get on board with the whole iPod frenzy when it happened while pointing out that there were other good options out there too. To this day I'm still amazed by some of the vitriol I received for daring to denounce the Cult of Apple.

        I do however have an iPhone… and yes I find that against all my initial expectations I am entirely at its mercy. However, mine is a hand-me-down from my other half (he upgrades and I get a 'new' phone) so at the moment I am in possession of a one-careful-previous-owner-3gS, and that does me nicely thank you very much. I have a simplicity O2 contract (I'm in the UK) which costs me £15 a month and offers me all I need. Until 2 days ago I had a 3g which was also just fine (now promised to his sister).

        Despite this what I cannot stand is the pre-launch insanity that seems to have become par for the course once a year around this time. It is during this insanity that I start to entertain the idea of binning iPhone if for no other reason than to completely disassociate myself from the madness. A madness I firmly believe is indicative of some of the most repugnant character traits human beings can display. I am actually embarrassed to have an iPhone while this is going on.

        Yesterday I found myself being party to a running commentary from a friend on her step-by-boring-step quest to get her new 4g. The barely suppressed desire to shriek 'get a life' drove me to distraction after about 5 hours of it. I was then further annoyed to discover that my other half forked out £600 for his new 4g, a state of affairs I find immoral, on many levels. To quell my annoyance, and since he clearly has no concept of well spent money, I have decided he can hand over a further sum of money (of my deciding) which will go to a charity of my choice. Something has to redress the balance and soothe his moral conscience.

        [Sigh] Let the hating begin…

  14. I have to agree with Scott, what you’re saying is you’ve loved Apple from the beginning even though they’ve always sucked, but now that they suck in the form of a huge corporation, you don’t like them?

    • Nah, I don’t hate Apple products. I love them, which is why I endured the growing pains for as long as I did. I love the computers; heck, it’s all I’ve used for the last decade. I was always willing to take the bad for the good, because I believed in the software and OS.

      That said, it’s about iPhones specifically where my gripe lies, and the culture around it–not the computers.

      • I have to say I agree with you on the whole.

        What I find truly fascinating though are the levels of passion that Apple products seem to inspire, from both the lovers and the haters. Myself included.

        Some time ago I wrote a post commenting on the fact that I couldn’t get on board with the whole iPod frenzy when it happened while pointing out that there were other good options out there too. To this day I’m still amazed by some of the vitriol I received for daring to denounce the Cult of Apple.

        I do however have an iPhone… and yes I find that against all my initial expectations I am entirely at its mercy. However, mine is a hand-me-down from my other half (he upgrades and I get a ‘new’ phone) so at the moment I am in possession of a one-careful-previous-owner-3gS, and that does me nicely thank you very much. I have a simplicity O2 contract (I’m in the UK) which costs me £15 a month and offers me all I need. Until 2 days ago I had a 3g which was also just fine (now promised to his sister).

        Despite this what I cannot stand is the pre-launch insanity that seems to have become par for the course once a year around this time. It is during this insanity that I start to entertain the idea of binning iPhone if for no other reason than to completely disassociate myself from the madness. A madness I firmly believe is indicative of some of the most repugnant character traits human beings can display. I am actually embarrassed to have an iPhone while this is going on.

        Yesterday I found myself being party to a running commentary from a friend on her step-by-boring-step quest to get her new 4g. The barely suppressed desire to shriek ‘get a life’ drove me to distraction after about 5 hours of it. I was then further annoyed to discover that my other half forked out £600 for his new 4g, a state of affairs I find immoral, on many levels. To quell my annoyance, and since he clearly has no concept of well spent money, I have decided he can hand over a further sum of money (of my deciding) which will go to a charity of my choice. Something has to redress the balance and soothe his moral conscience.

        [Sigh] Let the hating begin…

  15. AT&T service sucks. As long as they monopolize the iPhone, I will not own one, either. Great post – thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

    Anita @ModelSupplies

  16. AT&T service sucks. As long as they monopolize the iPhone, I will not own one, either. Great post – thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!

    Anita @ModelSupplies

  17. This is something that I'm seeing more often.

    Apple used to be for the 'underdog' but now they become more and more mainstream.

    As a result the underdogs no longer find there need with mac anymore.

    Personally I've never been an mac fan or such.

    I though about buying an iPhone ounce but found it to gadget like.

    Seriously, does it matter if there are like a billion apps if only e few are actually useful?

    Anyway, I have never been a mac fan and I'm not starting now.

  18. This is something that I’m seeing more often.

    Apple used to be for the ‘underdog’ but now they become more and more mainstream.
    As a result the underdogs no longer find there need with mac anymore.

    Personally I’ve never been an mac fan or such.
    I though about buying an iPhone ounce but found it to gadget like.
    Seriously, does it matter if there are like a billion apps if only e few are actually useful?

    Anyway, I have never been a mac fan and I’m not starting now.

  19. The last time Jobs ran Apple he used to make fun of the Apple II-E group (the ones providing the operating capital) and reserve the free gourmet juice vending machines for the Mac group.

    So don't feel bad. He doesn't treat customers any differently than employees. You are obviously a "II-E type."

    Could be worse. Jobs sucked the annual budget of Portugal from some Japanese V.C. suckers for the NeXT. You had one of those, right? And sent your papers by telepathy?

  20. The last time Jobs ran Apple he used to make fun of the Apple II-E group (the ones providing the operating capital) and reserve the free gourmet juice vending machines for the Mac group.

    So don’t feel bad. He doesn’t treat customers any differently than employees. You are obviously a “II-E type.”

    Could be worse. Jobs sucked the annual budget of Portugal from some Japanese V.C. suckers for the NeXT. You had one of those, right? And sent your papers by telepathy?