iWas

Itâ''s 2 AM and Iâ''ve just synced my address book to the one on my iPhone. This is after painstakingly transferring every phone number from my old phone onto my computer. This is after viewing web pages with full clarity as I zoomed in using pinches and taps, searching the user discussion forum on the Apple website for answers. This is after finally managing to get the iPhone to connect to my home WiFi network because it couldnâ''t handle a straight-up WEP password. This is after the sound from my iPhone brought a grin to my face as it entered my ear canal through the pure whiteness of my earbuds. This is after syncing my iPhone with made-up playlists on iTunes to transfer songs and videos because manual transfer is disabled. Itâ''s 2 AM and Iâ''m staring at the height of human progress.

From the Paleolithic to the Neolithic down through the Bronze, Iron, Middle, Industrial, and Information ages this is where weâ''ve come. This is where weâ''re going. Itâ''s 2 AM and Iâ''ve just watched the highest quality YouTube video Iâ''ve ever seen. And the worst.

This is not what you want to know.

What you want to know is how I stood, fourteenth in line, for over five hours in front of the ATT store in Times Square, encapsulated by metal barricades and guarded by security officials as onlookers passed by, constantly asking why we were here. The eyes of hundreds, thousands of normal people, baffled, amused, disgusted by our voluntary placement in a cage of dedication. This was the zoo of nerds. The circus geeks.

What you want to know is how after I was let into the store it took another 45 minutes to get my iPhone because the ATT purchasing system crashed because of too many transactions all happening at the same time. What you want to know is after all that, after I got home, after I activated my iPhone with relative ease, unlike many others, what you want to know is: was it all worth it?

But Iâ''m not going to tell you all that. You can find that elsewhere or decide for yourself. Instead, Iâ''m going to tell you that at this moment, right here, right now, at 2 AM, Iâ''ve come to a revelation. Iâ''m addicted.

June 29, 2007 could quite possibly go down as one of those great days of infamy that remain severely underappreciated in our fleeting and cursory glances at history. The day gunpowder was brought from China to Europe. The day the atom was split. The day Coca-Cola was invented. Aspartame. Viagra.

The iPhone is revolutionary. Itâ''s revolutionary in its interface, itâ''s revolutionary in its convergence, but more than anything else itâ''s revolutionary in its mystique. Itâ''s the Helen of gadgetsâ''the way it captivates you, hooks you, makes you its slave. Youâ''d go out of your way to defend it or to destroy it out of jealousy. The fact is, if youâ''re not getting one now, youâ''re waiting for generation 2â''cheaper, faster, better, more widely available, whatever. It really doesnâ''t matter. Youâ''ll convert. With all the hype surrounding the iPhoneâ''all the media buzz, the symbols and icons, the love, the hate, the worshipâ''this isnâ''t just technology anymore, itâ''s politics. Itâ''s religion.

But the iPhone represents something else. Itâ''s a transformation in the way we behave. Ten years ago, a cell phone was a luxury. Now itâ''s hard to imagine life without one. Visual voicemail, Safari, YouTube, SMS texting â''virtual sounds, virtual sights, virtual worlds, virtual conversations. Just like the Nintendo Wii, with its virtual tennis and virtual baseball, the iPhone is furthering the human disconnect from reality. You swing a controller when you could go swing a bat. You text message when you could call. You call when you could talk in person. Attention deficiency, obsessive-compulsivenessâ''just as the kids of the Internet generation will incessantly check and update their Facebooks and MySpaces so too will you now check your email any time at every hour. Itâ''s all synchronized, perfect, flawless, and easier than ever. Work is no longer restricted to the hours for which you get paid. You can, are, and will be reached at any time. Thereâ''s no silence, no darkness, no moments of contemplationâ''your phone will provide you with all the audio and visual stimuli you could need to numb away reality. This is virtual life.

But, hey donâ''t get me wrongâ''I love my iPhone. And you will too. And maybe that's the problem.

--Suhas Sreedhar

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