The single most notable phenomenological residue of spending a few hours with the iPad is what it does to my perception of the iPhone. The minute I picked up an iPhone back in 2007, other smartphones that had seemed remarkably capable (Treos, Blackberries) suddenly felt dated and limited. To my great surprise, the iPad does, for me, the same thing to the iPhone. Whereas before today the iPhone felt like a capable, if diminutive, computer, suitable for web browsing, email, composing text, and running all sorts of applications, it now seems more like, well, a phone. A phone that can do lots of cool things, to be sure, but nonetheless, my perception of its primary identity is no longer “computer that also makes calls” but simply “phone that runs some handy utilities.” As of today, when I picture the “thing from the future that I take with me to do almost everything I can do with a laptop except write code,” I picture an iPad, not an iPhone — until, of course, the inevitable release of the device that changes my perception of the iPad.
This morning I was looking for a reference to back up what I assumed was by now a commonplace, which is that the iPhone is the new cigarette (original credit for this assertion to @wendyrama). Google gave me nothing relevant (neither did Bing or Cuil for that matter, so much for decorrelation). So, for the next person looking for such a reference, here it is.
The iPhone is the new cigarette. That’s it. Simple as that. You can stop reading now if you get it.
For people who smoke, the cigarette is still the cigarette. For people who don’t, the iPhone does almost everything that cigarettes do.
- The iPhone changes your brain chemistry. For better and for worse it makes you feel good and want more (mechanism of action be damned).
- The iPhone gives you an excuse to step outside and fiddle with something when you feel like not working for fifteen minutes.
- The iPhone gives you something to do in boring interstitial situations, like waiting in line at the store, or waiting for the bathroom, or waiting in line for the bathroom at the store.
- The iPhone gives you something to do with your hands in awkward situations.
- In really awkward situations the iPhone gives you a way to check out entirely (granted, that’s a slightly different type of cigarette).
- When you’re using your iPhone in public, some people will think you look sophisticated. Others will think you’re annoying.
Come to think of it, even for people who smoke, the iPhone is the new cigarette. It gives you something to do while smoking.