iPhone isn't cool anymore

iPhone isn’t cool anymore

Updated at 4:13PM ET Sep 12, 2022

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I carried my first iPhone like an egg after I bought it. The year was 2011; The season was winter. The floor was dirty, but I was too nervous to take the thing on the subway. It was an absolute luxury, by far the most luxurious, and felt like the most fragile thing I had – a Faberge rather than a farmhouse.

The exact model was the iPhone 4, which looked like an ice cream sandwich from the side and felt sturdy. I wasn’t interested in just slipping and dropping the thing: It was dark, I was in a crusty area of ​​New York, and I looked scared in the Death Cab for Cutie Shows—would someone punch me in the face and he—she? The iPhone was relatively uncommon at the time; BlackBerry – the traditional option – was still more popular, but both were outnumbered them by Android. Nokia was beating them all. Most Americans They did not have a smartphone, and many of them did not have a mobile phone at all.

In a market generally known as boring plastic blocks, Apple gained an edge with an impeccable design that was actually less efficient than most competitors. Several reviewers rightly noted that typing on the touchscreen was worse than the physical keyboard, and complained about the iPhone’s fragility. In these early years, buying one was the fashionable option, not the practical one. that was awesome.

How things have changed. As of this summer, For the first time everAmericans now use the iPhone more than any other smartphone. Small children handle it while sitting in strollers. Parents handle it while pushing the strollers. For a while during the pandemic, the Kardashians tore their heads on weekly basis to film their show without risking exposure to the film crew. There is no mystery, no rarity, not much in terms of novelty. The iPhone is like a carrying case with a few cameras: a utilitarian assumption.

This does not mean that people will not buy new devices, of course. Quite the contrary. Apple this week revealed its latest iPhone models: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. they A little bit like it To last year, the year before, the year before that, and actually the year before. Now, the routine has become familiar; Every year, Apple Ships a few hundred million Phones to be purchased by Probably millions of people Enrolled in the company’s annual promotion program, and by many others who are not. These phones are very expensive – $800 and up – and certainly not everyone can afford them. But Apple avoids that hurdle with its upgrade program, which converts the initial cost into a monthly loan payment.

That’s a big part of the problem in a nutshell: a system built around annual upgrades means that more and more people buy an iPhone and then live their lives entirely indebted to Apple, which is better than its competitors at trapping people in a “closed-wall garden” — or as the writer called it Cory Doctorow,”fattening field. What was once a bold consumer choice is now a sad dive into the gutter.

I wouldn’t have expected any of this on such a cold walk home, and not just because I couldn’t imagine being in a position to upgrade from my beautiful new machine. A few months before my big purchase, in 2010, gizmodo I paid $5000 to get it Missing iPhone 4 prototype — the same one I’ll eventually keep with great care — and publish all its secrets before Apple can make them public. This iPhone felt very new and exciting, even after Apple made everything official: the first phone with a selfie camera! Showdown time! Retina display! And… a gyroscope? amazing. Apple eventually called it iPhone Everything changed againAnd that was true. Marketing was matching delivery and people became slandered, Line up by the thousandsAnd the Digital storefronts struggled to keep up.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 14, with a bunch of extra and frankly boring improvements, is the iPhone that won’t change a thing. This isn’t a blow to Apple, exactly. It’s a credit to the company that, in terms of iPhone quality, slides the scale from “very good” to “very, very good.” But the iPhone’s predictability is a sign of the changing cultural landscape around the device — and changes in attitudes that have resulted in part from Apple’s own innovations. Where the iPhone once symbolized vitality, it now evokes an overwhelming inevitability. The company will produce, the people will consume, and Waste will pile up (and higher and higher). Don’t let the brand fool you: With the introduction of the latest hardware, Apple has now faked 38 distinct iPhone models since 2007, once Pluses, Maxes, Minis, and SEs are all counted.

We are overwhelmed with phones, and the malaise that many people feel about technology is rising from their screens. Lots of Americans They have been forced to rely on smartphones due to the lack of better internet options during the pandemic. Polls show that The majority of us Seeing the big problems in services they are a gateway to: social media toxicity, misinformation, data collection, abuse. iPhone pixels light up an Instagram post giving you FOMO, a YouTube video making your uncle suspicious of a vaccine, NFTs selling for millions, and a tweet asking you to sign out forever. Bo Burnham was right when he was describe it The Internet as “a little bit of everything all the time” – digital life has become a bit lumpy and psychedelic. It only makes sense that the iPhone would follow suit; Everything is formatted to fit his screen.

To some extent, these problems are out of Apple’s hands. And sure, not many iPhone owners worry with them. However, Apple products cannot exist in a vacuum: just as the company has proven that they can nuclear Facebook’s ad business with a change in its privacy features needs to know that its new devices will shape the world it was born into. This world is dark, and as the new iPhone seemed to make it even brighter, the 14 Series seemed to lean all the way. The iPhone 14 Pro screens are now “always on”, as if to compromise our ultimate ordeal. And – that’s right – there’s a new “Emergency SOS” feature, which will allow the iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite and call for help if you’re lost or trapped, the victim of a crime, or in danger of fire. Apple promoted this with a video of a woman summoning rescue helicopters from a wooded mountaintop. It just felt futuristic and kind of awful, which is a nice representation of where we are. (as such Buzzfeed News“Kate Notopoulos said it so eloquently,”I’m sure Apple knows we’re all going to die soon. “)

It seems reasonable. Having wrested so much value from the earth with so many new tools being created every year – did you know that humanity produces more than 59 million ton of e-waste annually? Big Tech looks to the stars for its new ideas. There is probably nowhere else to go. Meanwhile, we’re all here navigating through the rubble. Raise your head from time to time and wave to your neighbor: he probably has an iPhone.


This article originally mischaracterized the iPhone’s popularity in relation to Android smartphones.

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