When I took my iPhone out of the box to prove to my children that we were the first family on the block with one, I had a glimpse of what life will be like after I’m dead and they’re fighting over my jewellery.
“Can I have it?” asked Ella, 16.
“I’m the oldest,” said Zoe, 18.
“I’m the only one who doesn’t already have a cellphone,” said Clementine, 9.
“You shouldn’t keep it for yourself because you hate cellphones,” Ella said. “You will neglect it and won’t use all the features. Give it to someone who will
appreciate it. Me.”
Hands-free: To buy or not to buy? You decide
I looked at my offspring and wondered—was it too much to hope an iPhone could improve my life? After all, a nation of early adopters already had said this slim $599 (about Rs25,000) lozenge with a pretty touch screen was indispensable; maybe I would, too. I imagined organizing my car pool schedule with a touch of the iPhone’s calendar button. Then I pictured effortlessly emailing my husband to remind him to buy beer.
With things going so well, I decided to tackle set-up on my own. Thinking that it should be a cinch, I determined in less than 15 minutes which gadget to unplug from my computer to make room to plug in a new gadget, and instructed my computer to update the iTunes software necessary to configure the phone. Then I clicked on the iTunes icon. An onscreen window delivered an ominous message: “Unable to mount disk. Broken pipe.”
Broken pipe? I won’t say I panicked, but when Zoe wandered in a half an hour later to ask if she could touch the iPhone, I was feverishly trolling for advice at macfixitforums.com.
I was about to erase my hard drive when she grabbed my wrist and called to her sisters, “Get Mom out of here while I set up her phone.” Five minutes later, everything was done except for one tiny step: activation. The AT&T system was overwhelmed, but my children already had phoned the carrier and learned that within six hours I should receive email confirmation that the iPhone was working.
Day 2, Saturday: By the time I came downstairs for breakfast, the neighbours had gathered in the kitchen, rocking the iPhone and cooing, “Isn’t it cute?”
Then I found out that they were trying to use the Google Maps feature on the iPhone to look up directions from our house to a restaurant called Toast, which is one block away.
Day 3, Sunday: The iPhone revealed an unpleasant truth about my chin. I realized while browsing through the photos my children copied to the iPhone that, depending on the angle, I appeared to have quite a few chins. After frantic attempts to delete the Jabba-the-Hutt shots failed, I phoned Apple customer service and learned that the only way to cleanse my iPhone was to first delete the chin shots from my computer’s photo folder and then re-sync the folder’s contents to the iPhone.
Day 5, Tuesday: I started to feel the cold chill of backlash. A friend called to say she had heard you have to send away the iPhone to replace its battery. The children left dirty dishes in the sink despite my attempts to play them off against one another by offering access to the iPhone.
Ignoring the naysayers, I decided to use the iPhone to free me from the drudgery of the grocery store. I touched the Notes button to make a shopping list, but found it difficult to use the tiny keyboard buttons to accurately type “avocado” (“scocafo”) or, of all words, “apples” (“sooles”). After “2 doz eggs” came out “DOA efgs”, I decided to email the list to myself instead. This only took a few minutes longer than jotting it down on a scrap of paper.
Day 6, Wednesday: Despite the thrill of being able to browse the Web from the produce aisle to confirm that the vacuum-packed imported butter I’d found needed no refrigeration, I have started thinking seriously about returning the $599 phone, despite a 10% restocking fee. It hasn’t really changed my life in the ways I’d hoped.
The New York Times
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