Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Consumer Reports

I've now gone a whole week without buying an iPhone. Several of my more consumer product-oriented composer colleagues have already reported on their experiences with an iPhone, so I thought I'd offer an interim report on my experiences as well.

As a musician, I am most concerned with audio quality, and I've been most satisfied in listening to music I've made myself. Of course, opportunities for making music while in transit are somewhat limited; limited in fact to those real sounds I can make with either the sound-making organs of my person and only in those physical spaces where such sound-making is socially tolerated (whistling, walking; cycling, singing; elevator, humming) or those sounds that I make in my head all the time, and disturb none other than me. My play lists, while virtual, have no memory restrictions other than my own, and my ability to shuffle repertoire, as well as manipulate the sound files themselves is virtually unrestricted. Try this one: "me for song a sing Man Tambourine Mr., Hey." In short, the audio quality is fine.

I see poorly, so I will not comment on the image making and rendering capacity of my non-iPhone experience, but I believe that I have not suffered any eye-strain due to my non-iPhone use.

I'm a fairly big guy, 6'4" and a bit, and then minus a bit for slouching, with fingers designed, via many generations of natural selection, for farming rather than more delicate tasks. I have had no difficulties in not manipulating the small virtual keys on my absent iPhone, a minor triumph of user-interface engineering.

I've been very pleased not to have entered into any wireless service contract for an iPhone. I have not been locked into an exclusive contract with a born-again telecommunications behemoth. Billing has been elegantly managed and I have had no problems with waiting on standby for service inquiries. All non-answers to my absent questions about the service have been appropriate, correct, and brief.

Not having an iPhone has coincided nicely with the fact that I've had several very pleasant conversations with friends and loved ones, in comfortable and chosen settings. I've even video-chatted with a friend from the comfort of my studio (thus demonstrating that I'm not entirely a luddite). I have not been called in the underground, or on my bike, or while performing ablutions, nor have I called other from any of these environs, thus neither suffering bad connections or potentially embarrassing (if not dangerous) situations.

On the whole, a satisfactory experience. Not owning an iPhone has been both a bargain and a pleasure. Indeed, I can even say that since my non-adoption of an iPhone, my sensory and communicative experiences have been enhanced, if only due to the awareness I now bring to those experiences knowing now that I can and, indeed, do have them without either the mediation or cost of an iPhone. Thank you Apple, for enhancing my life.


Elaine Fine said...

I'm also really enjoying not having an iPhone, and I do believe that not owning will continue to make my life better. Thanks for this very enjoyable post.

Civic Center said...

I don't even have a cell phone and don't particularly want one, but my partner is what is known in the marketing trade as an Early Adopter, and the iPhone entered our apartment on the first evening. Seeing my photoblog while walking down the sidewalk and being able to split two fingers apart to see a picture full frame and then squeezing the two fingers down to read the text struck me as purely magical. And finally, somebody has designed an interface where simplicity is king.

So though I'm not going to buy one, the thing is definitely not overhyped.