My iPhone obsession, part 2: Why I fear the iPhone 4 may adversely affect my movie-going, but I’m getting it anyway
I have to confess that, when the first iPhone was released, I didn’t think it was as great as other people felt. I was in love with my Nokia N80, and all but one of the mobile phones I’d ever owned was a Nokia. As it was battered and bruised, when the N96 was due to come out, I was convinced that was going to be my next phone. Frankly, the iPhone was over-rated as a device – I wanted something in my pocket that actually worked. And then I went into the Apple store one day and fell in love.
It was the iPhone 3G, that had just been released. I was in the store two hours, forgot what I had originally gone into town for, and within a week was the proud owner of my own iPhone. And if they ever come to make the story of my life (tip: don’t subscribe to that movie channel), then that moment will form a key part of the plot, with dramatic but slushy music composed by a James Horner wannabe and a dolly zoom onto my face at the moment I pick it up.
And it’s been a love affair that started awkwardly, but then after two weeks I prised the phone out of my wife’s clutched grasp and got her one as well, and from then on it’s been constant bliss. And I was watching eagerly on Monday for the announcement about the new iPhone 4, as my contract is up, and as I discussed in part 1 of this article, every aspect of my life has been enhanced by my 3G, not least my cinema obsession. So an iPhone 4 is a no-brainer, right?
Well, no. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if technology has gone past the tipping point and actually this could make things worse, not better. Consider the new features coming with the iPhone (and remember that many of these are simply putting the iPhone back onto a level playing field with other handsets, so it’s not as if I can defect to a different handset and avoid these problems).
Face Time Video calling isn’t new, of course. In fact my wife and I made our first, and last, video calls about five years ago. In both cases it was equally disastrous, with in turn one of us ringing the other from our place of work to discover the other had answered the phone while still in their underwear. And then we changed to handsets that didn’t have that feature anyway. But now, high definition, picture-in-picture video calling is here, and one of the three cinemas I regularly frequent has wi-fi in the lobby and bar. So now there’s no escape. Just have to make sure I’m never caught at the cinema in my underwear.
Retina Display Of course, I won’t be the only person potentially getting one. Mobile usage has gotten a lot better in the cinema where I live – in the 44 movies I’ve seen at the cinema this year, only one has been interrupted by someone’s phone actually going off. But the danger here is with the bright, shiny new display. Does the new iPhone mean more tiny lighthouses guiding you to your cinema seat as people cannot resist playing with their phones right up until the movie starts, or even after?
HD Video Recording Surely the day that a movie recorded on a phone hits cinemas can’t be too far away. There’s a lot of potential in this, admittedly, as it will allow budding Spielbergs to channel their creative juices without having to spend a fortune on equipment. But there are only so many blurry, Steadicam-less efforts one can tolerate before seasickness sets in (and I grew up on the coast).
iBooks As I’ve mentioned before, cinema is an ideal medium for me as I have an attention span that’s so short that I sometimes struggle to sit through a trailer without losing interest, to the point where I’ve sometimes wondered if I should actually be medicated for it. I’ve had A Christmas Carol on my phone since last Christmas, with the intention of reading it. I also have a number of other books on my phone. The tragic thing is that I used to read, a lot, and of course the irony of someone writing 2,000 words a week on going to the cinema who claims to not like reading won’t be lost on you. But could a love affair with books reignited through my phone, now that they will be readily available, be terminal for my cinema addiction?
External antenna Better reception because there’s a metal band running right around the outside of the phone. Thus increasing the chances of someone who’s not turned the phone off getting that all important ‘when are you coming home? Your dinner’s getting cold’ call. There are still a few out of town multiplexes where my current iPhone’s relatively poor signal performance leaves me free of distraction. Maybe not for much longer.
Photo and video geotagging And not only will people ringing me know where I am – potentially everyone in the whole world will know where I am. Already my WordPress blog app tries to track my every move whenever I post from my phone, and that will only become worse with the more integrated features of the new handset.
And I could go on. But I think you get the idea. So will this prevent me from handing over my hard earned cash for a new contract in a couple of weeks? Will it heck as like. It’s got a high definition screen to make my videos and movies even more watchable, and I’ll be plumping for 32GB, to maximise my storage options. Not to mention that they’ve somehow managed to make one of the most aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing devices ever made seem even more desirable. And as soon as it’s in my hand, all of those concerns above will be a forgotten memory – as long as I remember to get my wife one at the same time, this time. Steve Jobs, I love you and I want to have your iPhone.
Also in this series: