Last week, my cousin and I had a discussion about cell phones. He told me that he wanted the new iPhone, but was waiting for the iPhone 6 to come out next year. I was taken aback: The iPhone 6? I thought people still carried the iPhones 3 and 4!
I may have been slacking in the technology newsfeed department, but at the rate that large-scale companies like Apple are developing ideas for new products it certainly is hard to keep abreast of technology's latest.
Cellular technology is a crucial aspect of life for many, but have smartphones become too important to us, and for all the wrong reasons?
We hold our devices, such as cell phones, very near and dear. While this is not always a bad thing, it can be excessive. I have witnessed multiple instances of people obsessively treating their Smartphone like a newborn baby, similar to how a certain caricature of man would call his sports car his ‘girlfriend.’
Cell phone users tend to embrace their devices as fashion accessories. The way we choose what kind of phone to buy often reflects the image we want to project. We can even accessorize them with different phone cases or key chains, and sometimes even with colourful stick-on gems. Whether we realize it or not, our cell phones say a lot about who we are, and technology has become a very personalized part of our selves.
Another thing that seems a little peculiar to me is the way in which people use technology not productively, but for more trivial reasons. A friend once told me that the only reason he uses his Blackberry Smartphone is for BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), an instant messenger application used between Blackberry devices. This did not sit well with me. BlackBerry devices provide a wide array of functional uses, and to say that the only reason to use a BlackBerry phone is to instant message a friend seems like such a waste of available resources.
A survey in the New York Times last year claimed that 61% of people use their Smartphone for games, with social networking at 49%, and music at 42%. Only 22% use them for work-related communication. The twin notions that we see our phones as entertainment devices and that we cannot leave our homes without them demonstrate an unhealthy dependency.
Devices like smartphones will undoubtedly become more complex as more applications are developed. In a sense, I miss how simple the telephone used to be. While technology has done so much for us, sometimes I feel that it might just be... too much?
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photo credit Yutaka Tsutano