I wasn’t always an iPhone fan. In fact, when Apple’s first smartphone was released, I was a happy BlackBerry user and thought all of the excitement was absolutely ridiculous. I just didn’t get it. Why were people getting so worked up over a device that was, in my opinion, absolutely inferior to the BlackBerry in every way? I definitely couldn’t understand why so many people stood or sat in lines for hours, even camping outside various Apple Stores, waiting for the doors to open and Cupertino to start selling its latest flop. With all of that said, it’s time to reflect on the past ten years and what they’ve brought us. It’s time to reevaluate my thoughts on the iPhone pandemonium, and decide if it’s still as silly to me now as it was then. After all, today is the iPhone’s tenth birthday.
June 29, 2007 — the Birth of iPhone Pandemonium
When the iPhone was first released on June 29, 2007, I’d never stepped foot in an Apple Store and was pretty happy with that. I figured the only people who would buy the iPhone were Mac users, and they’d have to figure out for themselves that the veneer of gold over that lump of coal was only so thick.
I’d been watching the news, puzzled at the throngs of people camping out for such a long time just to hold their place in line. I didn’t understand why anybody would do that. The idea of iPhone pandemonium didn’t make any sense to me. Didn’t these people have jobs to go to? I certainly didn’t have time for that sort of nonsense, even if I cared … which I didn’t. Still, there they were, and it looked like they were happy as heck to be there.
No matter, I thought. They’d have their fun, get their crappy little phones without a keyboard, and be flocking back to real smartphones within a couple of weeks. Strangely enough, that never happened.
Stubbornness Failed to Prevail
Over the next three years, I watched the same iPhone pandemonium unfold thrice more. The iPhone 3G was met with the same level of enthusiasm, if not more. The same was true of the iPhone 3GS and then the 4. I was a graduate student, and was able to see for myself the increasing numbers of iPhone owners. They all seemed ridiculously happy with their phones, and I was getting increasingly frustrated with my own.
I’d hear stories about what folks could do with their iPhones. With each new App Store release, I’d look anxiously through the BlackBerry App World, looking for some equivalent. I would hack my BlackBerry Curve to install the latest version of its operating system, hoping for features that would rival what the iPhone was able to do. The itch for the iPhone was there, just beneath the skin, and I kept trying to deny it.
A Stolen BlackBerry as My Road to the iPhone
In 2010, Apple unveiled Find My iPhone. The new app was met with almost as much enthusiasm as the phones received, and I was confused. I had that feature on my BlackBerry Curve, didn’t I? It was something Sprint offered, and it seemed to me that Apple was behind the times. Still, I was subconsciously and even a bit consciously dissatisfied with my BlackBerry’s lack of features.
In around September 2010, my wife’s BlackBerry was stolen from one of the offices shared by graduate assistants and part-time faculty at our university. I immediately activated the smartphone’s tracking service, and called Sprint for help locating the device. I was able to get a bead on where the BlackBerry Curve was, but it was a three-mile radius. A needle in a haystack, and Sprint wasn’t interested in helping me find it. They’d gladly sell me a new model, though.
I thought long and hard about my journey with the BlackBerry, and what I’d been seeing in the news and around campus about the iPhone. I called AT&T, and took the plunge. I converted over to the iPhone, sure I’d regret the decision. Even then, I didn’t go with the latest and greatest model. Instead, I opted for the iPhone 3GS and remained a generation behind until just recently.
A Wonderful Journey Even Without Conceding to the Madness of iPhone Pandemonium
Since that day in 2010, I’ve grown to appreciate the iPhone in ways I never would have imagined. I’ve been converted, and the rich features in Apple’s devices make me wonder how I was ever satisfied with my BlackBerry in the first place. Obviously, I’m not alone in that sentiment — BlackBerry is struggling to remain relevant while the iPhone is dominating the market.
Do I understand the massive crowds that gather for each new iPhone release? Not so much, no. The iPhone is a wonderful device, make no mistake, and each new version brings terrific and fresh features. Innovative, even. But at the end of the day, I’m just as happy to order online or go to the Apple Store after the excitement dies down. If that means I have to wait a few weeks to get a new handset, so be it.
No, I’ll probably never fully understand the pandemonium that surrounds each new iPhone release. However, I do understand the mindset behind it — it’s an insistent desire for instant gratification and the compulsion to have the latest and greatest technology the minute it’s released. I’ve not yet been bitten by that particular bug, but I have come close to it. It never takes me long to upgrade to a new iPhone. In a few months, we’ll see if the next-generation iPhone has that “gotta have it” feature that compels me to stand in line or stay up until the wee hours of the morning to preorder the device.