A near riot occurred Friday outside an Apple store in Beijing as fights broke out among people trying to be first in line for the new iPhone 4S, Apple said.
Two weeks ago I would have rolled eyes at that as a sign of the Apocalypse. For years I resisted having a smart phone. I figured that my being a reasonably capable person would easily compensate for the fact that my phone wasn’t terribly bright.
My previous phone was less smart and more “classic underachiever.” Sure it made phone calls and sent some texts, but there wasn’t anything remotely entertaining or sexy about it.
When people waxed rhapsodic over their Blackberries and how they could have email at their fingertips, I was appalled. Why would I want that? Do I really need the latest email from CatChannel.com when I’m in line at the grocery store? Frankly, I was deeply suspicious of a phone so smart it’s unclear if it works for me or if I work for it.
Now? I get it.
As with most any progress in my life, Mr. Wonderful is to blame for this. He gifted me with an iPhone — the granddaddy/sparkly unicorn prize of the smart phone world. Still, I was cranky and reluctant to receive it. Smart phone? Whatever. I’m better than all this hype.
I sat down with the phone in my hand and started poking around. Suddenly, there it was. I had the world — at least the World Wide Web — in the palm of my hand.
Facebook, email, shopping and banking? There’s an “app” for that. Apps are neat little tricks. They take all the Web surfing and logging in and scrolling around we do on a regular computer and compress it into a little square where it all springs to life with a tap of the finger. I was blind but now I see indeed.
Twelve hours later I came up for air having discovered that I can shop, text, listen to music, watch television and even turn my phone into a flashlight. I hear this thing can even make phone calls, but who has time for that?
Granted, this can lead to a bit of an addiction. Apparently I felt I had to catch up on years of non-smart phoning all in one afternoon.
“What did you do yesterday?”
“Nothing remotely productive. Downloaded every app on the planet and bugged the heck out of Siri.”
Siri is a big part of the addiction. “She” is the spookily on-the-mark voice enabled digital assistant who answers your every question at the push of a button. You need only to ask and Siri can dial the phone, send a text, set a reminder and probably start dinner for you.
Interestingly enough, she can also tell you how to hide a body. For the record she suggests landfills and foundries as solid bets.
This is not to say that Siri doesn’t make mistakes. Or perhaps I make mistakes and Siri simply tolerates me in a spookily, like Hal from 2001 Space Odyssey voice. “That’s fine Kymberly” she says in a tone that tells me she’s mightily aggrieved but has to put up with me because I control the power button (or at least she lets me THINK I do).
For some reason Siri thought I wanted bananas the other day. She was attempting to clarify if I was looking for a farmers market, grocer or warehouse full of fruit. My clarifying that “I don’t want bananas” sent her off to find me a downloadable version of the Al Jolson hit (“Yes, we have no bananas.”)
It took a few rounds but she finally came to the understanding that I was in need of neither produce nor a vaudeville song. Still, she was sweet to try.
New beginning. Two weeks ago I had to wander the wilderness, alone and in the dark without a cell-phone flashlight or immediate knowledge on where to find bananas (whether I want them or not). Now, I can’t imagine living without a world of communication in the palm of my hand, and Siri as my (mildly annoyed) right hand gal.
Siri sets alarms, posts reminders and keeps track of my diet and my email and serves as a GPS system. Strangely, people keep asking if I have sworn at Siri yet? I’m shocked. I couldn’t do that. How rude!
I’m also just a tiny bit afraid of her. I suspect that Siri is real, she knows where I sleep, and, most importantly, she knows where to hide a body