Monday, September 23, 2013

Unexpected technology

I wasn’t sure whether I should say anything about this, because it’s too easy for people to think I’m bragging. But since I already mentioned this on Facebook, well, I’ll make an exception.

On Saturday, I got a new iPhone 5c (the back of the phone is pictured). This is, by my count, my fifth brand new cellphone, including my first one in the late 1990s. But my last three phones—including my iPhone 3G and iPhone 4—were “hand me ups” from Nigel. I haven’t bought a new phone since around 2005, I think, and I’ve never had a new iPhone before. I think that’s exciting, not in an “Apple fanboy” sense, but just because new is exciting for me.

On Thursday, I updated my iPad (also a hand me up) to the new iOS 7 operating system. My plan was to update my iPhone 4 this past weekend, before I knew I was getting a new phone. My old phone, by the way, has now been passed on to another family member who is upgrading to her first smartphone.

There are a lot of people who have dismissed the iPhone 5c as a version for the peasants: Cheaper, with fewer features. Bill Maher described it as looking like a phone wearing Crocs. Yeah, well, whatever: The phone is less expensive than the full-featured iPhone 5s, and the plastic cover makes it lighter. The difference in features is irrelevant to me, since I’m upgrading from an iPhone 4—the new phone isn’t ”limited” at all from my perspective.

I’ve always said that when buying new technology, people should by the best and most powerful they can afford so that it remains useful as long as possible. My new phone is 4G capable, when that network is widely available. So, it’ll have far more life in it than my old phone would have had.

The operating system, iOS7, has also had its share of knockers. I actually really like it. I don’t mind the new “flat” icons, though I do have to learn what some of them are because the symbol has been changed. But some of the basic functions, like closing open Apps, which is now like swiping it away, are much better. Other features are much better, too. Other things just look pretty, and that’s also okay.

I think of technology not so much for what it IS, as for what it can DO. This particular aspect of my technology journey has taken me from a used iPod Touch, to a used iPhone, on to a used iPad, and now to a brand new iPhone. Each one has been useful in its own right, which means that eventually what I have now will be replaced by something else that better meets my current and/or future needs. In the meantime, the iPad, iPhone and my desktop Mac all work together seamlessly and without me having to figure things out.

For now, the thing for me is that I don’t get new technology ever day, seldom something that’s sought-after, and nothing that’s ahead of others. So, if this all sounds like a bit of bragging, tough. There’s far more to it than just that.


rogerogreen said...

Is this the one with the fingerprint recognition? THAT would make me nervous.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

No, that's the iPhone 5s—the "full featured" model. Apparently, Apple has no access to the fingerprint data, so no search warrant—legal or dubious—could compel them to reveal what they don't have. Of course, nothing is beyond government spies of many countries, some of which don't worry about things like the rule of law (and the USA doesn't always, of course…). Even so, I think people are being WAY too paranoid about that: No government has any interest in compiling a database of a single fingerprint from millions of people. They have plenty of other, easier ways to get more useful information.

Of course, that's all easy for me to say, since the government already has my fingerprints. To become a permanent resident of New Zealand, I had to submit my fingerprints to the FBI to obtain criminal clearance. I doubt very much that once they have fingerprints they ever discard them. It was recently revealed that the NZ Government shares fingerprint data with the US Government, so I have every reason to think that the information is already on file, possibly in two countries.

Personally, I'm far more worried about governments spying in ways we don't even know about, with no legal controls, oversight or transparency, let alone a mechanism to correct erroneous information.

John Q. Public said...

The yellow one wasn't available?

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Blue is my favourite colour! :-)