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.

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