Is There Food?

by Daniel Woolstencroft

A Ridiculous Attachment

Three iPhone 4s, three different faults. That’s where I stand now. Reception issues, “No Sim” errors, and now the yellow screen blotches.

Do I go back for a fourth kicking? Is three strikes enough?

Surely it should be. This should be easy, right? They can’t make these phones without faults, why line up for that? Cool, screw ‘em then, let’s go get a Google Phone.

You can argue that science of antennas and screen adhesives as much as you like, but it’s not about that. It’s not that easy.

My kids have grown up around the iPhone. It’s regularly handed to them in pubs or restaurants. My son (5) was bought an iPod Touch for his birthday. He reads stories on it, plays games on it, listens to Johnny Cash on it (Tennessee Stud, thanks for asking).

Today, I took him to the hospital for a hearing test. He took his iPod Touch, I took my iPhone. We played multiplayer FingerFoos while we waited to be seen. It was beautiful man, you should have been there.

I recorded the whole expedition on the iPhone in the best 720p video I’ve seen from a mobile phone. I edited it together in a couple of minutes when we got back. Then his Mum could see how he got on at the hospital. It’s the most mundane, trivial little thing, but to him it was amazing that he could capture all this and play it back for everyone. He was proud to show the final cut off to his family when he got home.

I could do this on other phones. My son could have a Nintendo DS or a PSP or something.

My other son is 2. He’s attached to the iPad. He likes to play with the piano apps, and at bed time he watches Little Bella. The other night he had some sort of nightmare, and couldn’t get settled in his room. He was screaming and wouldn’t go back to sleep. He watched iPlayer-streamed CBeebies using the iPad. Within minutes he was calm, settled. He slept fine after that. iPad is a part of his vocabulary already.

The whole time I used the Nexus One, neither kid was interested. There are no kids stories, no apps that appeal to them. It didn’t feel like something any of us could get emotionally attached to. Perhaps that’s a good thing, healthier.

Apple’s secret sauce is that attachment. That ridiculous, irrational, unnecessary attachment. Whether it’s the iPad, the iPhone, your MacBook, iPod it doesn’t matter: it’s not just another phone, or another laptop, or another MP3 player. It’s yours.

I heard a girl in the Apple store saying how gutted she was that she’d lost her iPod Nano. It’s not even an expensive piece of equipment, but she was visibly, emotionally affected by its loss. That doesn’t make any sense, but it’s the same situation I have here with my family and these shiny little toys that Apple make for us to play with.

FaceTime taps into that emotional irrationality, it’s a good example of the technological tricks used to keep you on their platform.

So I’m left with a decision again. Ditch this platform, or line up for another kicking…