My Affair with Technology: Technophile Lust and the iPhone

Last week Negin referenced the story of how I almost skipped my best friend’s wedding in order to buy the iPhone. This sounds like a joke but it’s actually embarrassingly true:

I think this is a question every young man faces at least once in his life: Should I skip my best friend’s wedding in order to wait in line for an expensive piece of consumer electronics?

I have answered variations on this question in the past: Do I skip my first love’s wedding to go to a free Death Cab show? Yes. Do I skip holidays with family in an attempt to bone exes and convince "friends with boyfriends" to become "friends with benefits?" Every Thanksgiving since I moved to New York. Do I feel guilty about it? Sorta kinda. When faced with a moral quandary, I have almost always done the wrong (i.e. socially unacceptable) thing.

It all started Monday June 11th 2007. All the neophiles, gadget freaks and Mac obsessives are frothing at the mouth. It’s the Apple World Wide Developers Conference and the question on everyone’s mind is "When are we getting our iPhones?"

The keynote speech by Steve Jobs (the closest thing to an address from the Pope for the Mac faithful) is slow and uneventful. We get One More Thing. Apple’s browser is now available for the PC. We snore. And then we get One Last Thing: The iPhone will be available June 29th at 6pm. The other iPhone news (lack of flash, lack of java, confirmation that 3rd generation wireless web will NOT be here) is disappointing and underwhelming but we have finally gotten the date this we will get this sexy little expected disappointment in our hot little hands.

I sit and ponder this after having skipped lunch to watch live blog coverage of the event. As I am dutifully downloading Safari for my work computer, it occurs to me that I will be on an island off the coast of Seattle at my friend’s rehearsal dinner when the iPhone launches . There isn’t cell phone reception there, much less cell phone stores.

I immediately IM a close friend about my predicament. What should I do? Should I arrive late, missing the dinner but securing the phone? Or should I finally stand up for a friend and deny my intense, burning technophile lust?

My friend points out that I have spent the last hour and a half complaining about how Apple has become more of marketing machine than a tech company, the way the Intel transition has made obvious how painfully slow their development is, and the many failings of the phone outlined above. I type "But come on, it’s the iPHONE!!!"

I proceed to IM another friend who usually supports me in my desire to purchase the newest and shiniest electronics. He says "Could your wedding date wait in line and buy one for you? " The thought has occurred to me, but I feel like it would be wrong to ask my date to take a ferry to the wedding late in order to be the first to have a toy I don’t need and can’t afford.

As the last two weeks passed more and more (mostly bad) details appeared. Then we learned the battery life and screen were better than originally announced. Some reports surface that the onscreen keyboard sucks and you can’t use songs as ringtones. Than we learn the data plans were incredibly cheap.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I decided I just didn’t care. My Treo is genius. I can write blog entries on it, check my email, and take phone calls. I’ve dropped it a thousand times and it keeps on ticking. And most of all, it doesn’t make me feel guilty for being a bad friend.

The second the wedding’s over though, I was going to skip out on the reception and find an internet connection, even if I had to swim to the mainland. How else would I read the first user reviews that are rolling in?

My resolve to not buy it lasted a whole two weeks. I’m like a junky and Apple was more than happy to give me my unhealthy fix… and my unhealthy fix of, 24 hours a day. With it, I can request the greatest geek jerk-off documentary of all time while hanging out in any zip code, just by putting in my zip code… come on, I’m on team Nerdcore Rising! If I’m not plugging the film I’m not doing my duty.