Ok, the title may seem exaggerated, but I am pretty sure that there are millions out there who, without their phones close by, they will immediately feel uncomfortable. Numerous studies have shown that in this modern day of ultra-connectivity, we can’t seem to get by our daily life without at least a small dose of Twitter, or Facebook, some form of connection where ever we are, at any point of time to the internet, to make us feel sane.
Sometime last week, I attempted to synchronise my phone to my PC, because I downloaded a bunch of new apps that I wanted to try out. As I was synchronising, I got an error message that says iTunes couldn’t detect the phone any longer. Feeling perplexed, I checked my phone and strangely, it was turned off. I tried switching on again, but it refused to come back to life. I tried all sorts of ways to revive my phone, pushing different combinations of buttons at varying durations but to no avail. I knew my phone had turned stone-cold.
I headed off to a well known iPhone repair shop off Waterloo Street. The repairman examined my phone, opened the cover, checked the batteries and everything. He then returned my phone to me in 5 minutes saying that my phone is beyond repair. My warranty is over, and the exchange fee is exorbitant. My mum’s line is due for a recontract, so I could at least use my mum’s line to recontract and get a new phone. But lo and behold, after several months since the iPhone 4S release, it is still in severe shortage around town. I went to several Singtel stores and they had boards stating that they had no stock on ANY iPhone models.
It took me about a week to finally get my hands on a new iPhone. I tried the online store several times, checking the status of the iPhone several times each day. Finally one fine evening, as I was casually checking, there was stock on the online store. Immediately snapped one up. It arrived at the end of the week.
Throughout the days where I had no iPhone, I resorted to using a simple non-camera, non 3G capable phone. It was purely meant to be used to calls and messenging only. I wouldn’t say that I had withdrawal symptoms or anything on that extreme without any connectivity on the go without the iPhone, but it certainly made my life slightly uncomfortable and largely inconvenient. Instances where I need information on the go, certainly was much harder to come by. Little pockets of free time in between classes where I would usually check Facebook, Twitter,or just read the news certainly didn’t happen without my iPhone around. Not to mentioned commuting to school without any music!
What happened last week was a good experience for me, because I get to experience first hand what life would be like without a smart phone. In today’s hyper-connected world, we are increasingly dependent on our mobile devices to do just about anything that would increase our level of convenience. Think of all the possibilities one can do by just using the phone. Now, if you take all of that away, how would you feel? For me, I felt as if my capabilities were suddenly limited, as if an extended part of me was suddenly non-functional. Like a software, but with most functions locked, unable to use.
I am writing this not to whine about not having an iPhone like a 13 year old kid, this is just meant to write my observations down from a third-person perspective on my experience without one. And it was quite a revelation. I learned a lot on my gradual change in behavior and it would certainly garner reflective thought and some deep thinking on this issue and the implications on my attitudes and behavior down the road.