What are the wanted? Ah – the wanted are aplenty. Firstly, I was granted both anonymity and acknowledgement at the same breathe. Anonymity because my device is merely one among the countless ones carried and cradled by strangers on the trains. For once, I failed to feel the momentarily sense of awkwardness that comes with the realisation that there is none other phone like mine. However, that sense of awkwardness was replaced by an equally uncomfortable sense of acute awareness – when I realised that people recognised my phone as the one plastered on walls.
Iphone 6s Plus. Rose Gold.
It blends in, yet it stood out.
Another wanted feature was its ability to anticipate me. It could read my thoughts before I formed them. The screen was filled with tiny boxes that showcase more ideas than I could even think of – the camera app jostle with the communication app for my attention, while others wait patiently in line to be noticed. Yes – I do notice all and try them out – eventually.
The last wanted feature is how it change the way I communicate and experience the world. In the old paradigm where there were emoticons instead of emojis, and emotions are expressed through a limited permutations of : ; ) ( p in only single shade of black – one cannot possibly capture the spectrum of feelings and convey them to others. In the world where symbols, words, pictures and sounds are weaved together for a holistic experience, Whatsapping becomes an intensely engaging exchange. Moreover, this device had the ability to expand and encourage positive habits. I was embarking on the journey to track my expenditure, and magically there were apps appropriate for that activity.
Such wondrous experiences! Is there anything that one possibly not want? Yes. The ambivalence of whether you possess the possession or the possession possesses you. I never had to be so keenly aware of my phone – till the day I got the new one. The past week was a harrowing game of hide and seeks. Where is it? Is it there? Check. Check. Check. The material constraints were immaterial when compared to the nagging issue of materialism. Did I make a wise decision in purchasing it? Were it meant to fill genuine needs, or to fulfil the crass desire of having materialism materialised? Although it allows the proliferation of positive habits, I can envision how it exacerbates the evils of negative habits – to use it excessively, compulsively, addictively. The dilemma is, do I control the device, or is the device conditioning my responses? The numerous functions forced my mind to adapt to its high expectations. Gone were the days when I could safely single-task – protected and secured from the surge of activity due to the limited functions of my old phone. Now the entire universe is laid out before my eyes, and when I try to see all, I see none.
Perhaps that’s what Alice saw in Wonderland. Illusion and disillusion. Enchantment and disenchantment.
That was what my wife wrote when she recently got into the iphone craze. Asked her why she wanted to get an iphone when she isn't even interested in IT and gadgets, she said she wanted to experience it. It's interesting that while I am trying to unwind myself from being too attached to expensive phones (I'm using mi 4i, btw), she's upgrading to high end phones. It's about $800+ with the plan. Much how is $800? Well, she'll experience it now. I also told her to write about her experiences in switching from a '2G' phone to a '4G' phone.
There's an interesting thing which I had observed. When one uses an iphone, it's not just the cost of the plan and the initial cost of the phone that we had to pay. The cost of all those paraphernalia are usually not counted in. As an example, a tempered glass screen protector can cost up to $50. A hard 'armor' hand phone casing can cost another $50. You can buy an insurance plan for the phone as well, for another $8/mth. All these are the hidden cost of owning one of the most coveted phones in the world.
I guess you don't just buy a phone. You buy a lifestyle of paranoia in owning a piece of expensive gadget too.
It's not all that bad. She bought a personal finance app to track her expenses daily now, and she's more up to date with opinion articles from news agency, which in turn generated lots of interesting focal points when we discussed what went on in our day. So the bite into the apple isn't all that sinful, since it also brings with it a byteful of knowledge. Life's full of irony, LOL