Can you remember the T-Mobile Sidekick? The feature phone with the swiveling screen used to be all the rage. The device is now as good as any for measuring the passage of time in the tech world.
I’m practically giddy with anticipation of the iPhone 5, slated to be released in a matter of weeks. I’ve never before owned an iPhone, and the iPhone 5 will be my first. In typical Apple fashion, no hint of the existence of an iPhone 5 has officially been uttered, but the speculation is rampant, with no shortage of credible tidbits pointing to October 15 as the all-important day. If there’s one gadget I must own this year, that would be it.
I was in the shower (where I do a lot of good thinking) and I remembered how just popular the T-Mobile Sidekick was back in the day. While security vulnerabilities lead to some pretty high profile hacks of the Sidekick, it was pretty much the must-have phone and texting device among celebrities, rappers, and the glitterati at large. However, I’m sure it pales in comparison to today’s iPhone fever. If you’re a public personality, and you don’t have an iPhone, you’re pretty much a loser.
What I find amusing about this current state of affairs is how Apple’s popularity and ubiquity means that you have to own the same iPhone as everyone else in order to maintain your cool. For a company whose public image has long revolved around arming cultural rebels with their stylish, niche laptops and computers, it’s an interesting turnaround, albeit a ludicrously lucrative one.
In any case, it’s that awe-inspiring buffet of apps in the iTunes store that makes any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch unique, there are still those few must-have apps such as Yelp!, Facebook and Shazam that I downloaded, and use regularly. In this way, the uniformity extends even to the apps. There are well more than 500,000 apps available in the app store, but fewer than a handful greatly improve my daily life, and those are the ones I use regularly.
I would never bejewel my T-Mobile Sidekick, if I ever owned one, and personally don’t indulge in much phone customization. However, the fact people would go through trouble to make their phone stand out from the crowd is something to acknowledge. There’s a stunning array of custom iPhone cases that look like everything from ears, books, and anything else you can imagine, at the end of the day, it’s still the same phone that everyone has.
While the iPhone may be the new standard in smart phone technology, an unexpected attribute of its success is homogeneity. And with that said, I still can’t wait to buy one!