‘The iPhone is great.’ ‘No it’s not.’ Enough!
Few things during the last decade – with the exception, perhaps, of discovering that you’ve got type 2 diabetes – have been quite as consistently irritating as the debate surrounding whether a Mac is better than a PC, or vice versa. I’ve known of many pointless arguments in my time, including a memorable occasion when two friends became so furious during a discussion about the worth of the music of Bob Dylan that one ended up holding a smashed whisky bottle to the other’s neck. But the grindingly repetitive Mac v PC squabble essentially boils down to one simple issue: one person likes using a particular computing platform, someone else likes using another. There doesn’t really need to be any further discussion on the topic, and those two people certainly don’t need to jab fingers at one another and make it abundantly clear that any plans to spend Christmas together are right off the agenda.
I’ve got a Hotpoint washing machine, but I don’t chuckle in a smug, self-satisfied fashion when I see someone loading their pants into a Zanussi. It’s a choice for me, as a consumer, and it’s a choice for them – and not only that, it’s a choice that both of us are perfectly happy with. I mean, I like griping and whinging as much as the next man – and currently the next man is my neighbour, Alan, who’s a miserable bastard – but even I can’t see the point of trying to give someone a long list of reasons why they shouldn’t like something that they’re manifestly in the process of liking. That’s just rude.
But the geeky Mac v PC feud pales in comparison to the Pro- vs Anti-iPhone hoohah that currently appears to be playing out at great length across vast swathes of the internet, like a colossal mass of parallel arguments between bored suburban neighbours about the pros and cons of cutting back the leylandii. Not since piles of disco records were burned at a football stadium in Chicago in 1979 have so many people been vilified for an entertainment-related purchase – and not only have they made the decision of their own free will, they’re not even remotely interested in taking it back to the shop and getting their money back. Because they like it. But thousands upon thousands of people are saying to them “Haha, well, no you don’t, not really.”
This video – which becomes not very safe for work after about a minute or so – has provided the focus for much of their grievances. It features a cartoon character who enters a store and demands an iPhone 4, batting aside all protests from the store assistant: the HTC Evo has a bigger screen – “I don’t care”; the HTC Evo can build you an island, turn into a jet and fly you there – “I don’t care”. But this video grates on me, because I’ve actually had that conversation. I’ve been the twatty idiot asking for an iPhone. I’ve used umpteen handsets in the last few years by Nokia, Motorola and HTC, running Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile – and after years of not being remotely interested in having an iPhone, I came to a rational decision that I preferred it. So I had to ring up T-Mobile, who don’t offer iPhones, and tell them, persistently, over 5 long minutes, that I wanted an iPhone. And I was told that I didn’t want one, not really, but I had to say that I did, because otherwise I’d have ended up with an HTC handset, which I didn’t want. I’m not saying that the iPhone will always be my preferred option, I may well drift back to some other phone once I’ve broken free of the shackles I’m locked into for the next 18 months. But I find it incredibly boring to be thought of as some kind of unthinking, credulous, dribbling imbecile who has willingly profferred his credit card details while under the evil spell of Steve Jobs.
Charlie Brooker, a man who I admire in many ways – not least because he’s a much better writer than I am, seethe – was at it in the Guardian yesterday, pouring scorn upon the iPhone 4 and anyone who has been sedated sufficiently to hand over money in exchange for one. I’m not interested in buying an iPhone 4, but I know people who have, and they’re balanced individuals, they’ve made a decision, and, as far as I’m aware, they all think that the phone is quite nice. Not amazing, but then again it’s only a sodding phone, they weren’t expecting it to regrout their bathroom. I can understand why Brooker resents the power of Apple’s marketing machine, but that doesn’t mean that its customers are all brainwashed numbskulls who haven’t yet realised that they’ve bought a mobile phone by mistake. And nor does it mean that they’re all wide-eyed evangelists hell-bent on extolling its virtues; it’s perfectly possible – likely, even – that they’re as contemptuous of blind, unwavering adoration of a bit of plastic as they are of blind, unwavering hate.
Photo: Getty ImagesTagged in: apple, iphone, iPhone 4
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