Did you hear? The iPhone was released today. If you didn’t already know this, then I don’t know how you missed it. Last night, while I was running on the treadmill, I saw no less than 17 iPhone commercials. And I only ran 2 miles! You haven’t seen the commercials because you don’t watch TV, you say? Okay, but that’s no excuse. It’s all anybody’s been talking about anywhere for days. For weeks. For months. Not that I was talking about it, because I really only started paying attention last night, after commercial number 12 came on and I thought, “Hey, didn’t I just see this like 30 seconds ago?” But today, today was the day! The phone is out, in a store near you. You can go buy one now if you want. They’re probably still open.
This evening I was talking to my brother and he mentioned the iPhone madness, how people had lined up early, in some cases, staked out a patch of sidewalk and camped there for days, just to be one of the first to get their hands on a new iPhone.
And it struck me how people used to line up like that hoping to snag THE HOT TOY, whatever was the big “must have” toy that all the kids wanted for Christmas. The first time I really remember this happening was back in the early 1980s, when the Cabbage Patch Doll first came out. In the ’90s it was Tickle Me Elmo, and then Furby. In between and ever since then, there have been others.
I don’t think that happens as much anymore. Not for toys, anyway. Today, it’s more or less the adults that are lining up for the latest must have techno gadgets: Xbox, iPods, and now, the iPhone. Sure, you can argue that Xbox 360 is for kids, but I know equally as many adults who stood in line to get one for themselves as I do parents who stood in line to get one for their children (or at least, that’s who the fathers claimed they were buying it for).
It also struck me how, the adults who are standing in line for the new tech gadgets now are very likely the same ones who sat waiting, with bated breath, for Santa to deliver the new hot toys for Christmas back when they were kids themselves. Essentially, I figure, the marketers are marketing to the same crowd, only that crowd has aged a bit in the intervening years.
I’m not getting an iPhone. First of all, there’s the cost. At $499 for the basic version, I can’t afford one. And even if I could, there’s the fact that it’s paired with a different service provider than I have right now. I could switch, sure. But to break my current contract, I’d have to pay some outrageous fee. I’m not certain, but I think when I signed my current cell phone contract I signed away my rights to any future children I might bear under some kind of Rumpelstiltskinian clause. If I did, you can’t blame me. It was long and written in very small print.
And then there’s the fact that I like my phone to be a… phone. Just that and nothing more. The phone I have right now, (are you ready for this, you might want to sit down) DOESN’T HAVE A CAMERA IN IT. It doesn’t play music either. It just has some buttons with numbers on them and when I push them in the right order, it makes a phone call for me. And I chose it ON PURPOSE. The sales guy thought I was nuts.
But that is the reason I have silver ware in my kitchen as opposed to, say, just one Swiss Army Knife. I want my fork separate and disconnected from my knife, separate from my nail file, separate from my tweezers, separate from my scissors, and separate from my corkscrew.
I don’t like the universal remote, either. I have trouble working it. I press the button to raise the volume on the television and find the VCR blinking off and on instead. I hit play to start a DVD only to find the television rapidly changing channels. All because I have to press the device button first, so the remote knows which device I am trying to control. But my cell phone? When I flip it open, it’s just a phone. I don’t have to switch it out of camera mode or MP3 mode to make a call.
Now, if someone were to say, GIVE me an iPhone, complete with a pre-paid calling plan as a gift, would I turn them down? Hell no! I’m not STUPID. I’m just lazy. And broke. So I’m not standing in line for the iPhone. But I might borrow yours to make a call.