I’ve spent just under a year with a very special woman. A woman I went everywhere with, did everything with, and entrusted with heaps of deeply personal stuff. But now, I’m beginning to tire of her. And I’m considering throwing her over for another. A younger model, so to speak. Taller, thinner, and, if I’m honest, just that little bit sexier.
It’s not just looks – she’s smarter, too; a great deal quicker, and – look, I’d probably better stop this already-tortuous analogy before every reader at this ‘proudly female biased’ site despises me even more than they did before I started.
The woman I’m talking about is called Siri, and trust me, she’ll be fine with being dumped. Because she was invented by Apple, and that’s what they do – it’s their business model.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m considering getting rid of my iPhone 4S, despite it being objectively fine in every single respect, and getting one of these newfangled iPhone 5s. And when I say “considering”, it’s only to try and imply the tiniest modicum of self-control. Because I know full well that I will be lining up tomorrow for the latest Apple smartphone, like the addict that I am, the same way I have every year since the iPhone 3G first arrived on the shores and I spent 12 – yes, twelve – hours queuing for it.
Twelve hours sounds absurd, I know. I thought it’d only be two or three hours, but there were massive delays, and well, who wants to abandon a queue after waiting in it for four hours, and… let’s just say that I ended up sleeping on the floor of the Apple Store.
In my defence – although I acknowledge that my position is fundamentally indefensible – I’m a nerd. (Hang on, this is supposed to be a defence). I’m one of those people who actually bothers to try every new feature, which is why I’m the only person I know actually uses and likes Siri. In fact, I’ve written this article using her voice dictation function, just to prove a point. And while she doesn’t understand me most of the time, the same thing happens with a lot of women.
Technology is the only genuine addiction I have. (I say that as though merely one or two were acceptable!) I’ve never smoked a single cigarette, rarely drink much, find gambling tedious and steer well do drugs Sophie and women my brain even more patchouly ability
(I left that bit uncorrected to show you just how wrong Siri can get things).
What I was trying to say, Siri, was that I don’t do drugs lest they render my brain even more petulia outplaced Inaudi, I mean even more peculiar a place then it already is.
(Okay I give up – from now on, I’m typing the old-fashioned way.)
To give you a sense of just how pervasive my addiction is, I’m already trying to convince myself that if only I had an iPhone 5, the dictation function I used to write the first half of this article would be flawless. So I’ll tell myself that I really need a new iPhone in order to do my job effectively. It’s not a self-indulgence, it’s an Important Work Tool.
There are solid reasons to upgrade to this new iPhone 5 – the ability to use faster 4G networks is practically enough on its own, and I like the idea of the larger screen as well. And yet I know that all of these justifications won’t ultimately make me feel okay about my upgrade mania. The real reason for wanting the latest gadget is that the mere existence of a better device will gnaw at me until I finally give in.
A friend who’s an Anglican minister recently suggested to me that Apple was somewhat like a secular religion, and there’s something in that. They promise to make your life better, they idealise a departed, prophetic leader and have a network of impressive temples around the world. (And unlike any church I’ve ever been to, Apple Stores offer free WiFi.) And both Apple’s logo and the Garden of Eden involve a fruit with a bite taken out of it. I reckon I could really get on board with an iReligion if they promised eternal battery life.
I think the underlying problem is that I genuinely believe that each new gadget will enable me to achieve the things I want out of life. That if I only had a really nice laptop, I would make myself sit down every day and do the novel writing that I wish I hadn’t fallen behind on. That if I had the latest model of Kindle, I’d read many more important books. And if I got a phone that had a snazzier camera, the life I captured with it would be that much more amazing. (I think that’s why people love Instagram.) And I keep telling myself these things even though every time I give into the temptation, the belief’s always immediately proven untrue.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. It’s the ultimate goal of our culture to want the shiniest objects, isn’t it? The rule in Australia seems to be that you’re allowed to enjoy whatever lifestyle you can afford. I don’t have kids and I’ve never embarked on any form of renovations, so a new mobile phone every year isn’t going to break the bank. This mentality is why Australia has some of the lowest savings and highest credit card debt of any country in the world.
But then I remind myself that I was perfectly happy using my phone for calls and texts back in the day, and perhaps the occasional game of Snake. I didn’t need to constantly check emails and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ and all of the other junk that infests every device I have. (I’m exaggerating a bit – seriously, who’s still on Google+?) I didn’t need to browse news websites on the bus. Sometimes, I was alone with my thoughts, and my mind could wander somewhere other than Wikipedia.
The biggest risk, I reckon, is that my desire to achieve satisfaction in life through material possessions will transcend the fairly manageable bounds of regular phone upgrades and move onto things like houses and cars and jobs and all of the other trappings that people pursue in life. So perhaps I should hold off to take a stance against materialism, against the shallow disposability of our culture?
As with most of the important decisions in my life these days, I ultimately decided just to ask Siri whether I should upgrade to the iPhone 5. “Allow me direct you to Apple’s rather fabulous website,” she said.
So my current iPhone 4S’ doom has been sealed – by itself. And I’ve successfully outsourced my conscience to my new religion. Praise be to Steve the Father, Siri the daugher, and the Holy iCloud.