I recently bought an iPhone and am trying to figure out how to use it. I don't really have a need for all the fancy things it does but I remember the beating George Bush the elder took when he expressed surprise at the supermarket scanners, and I don't want to follow in those footsteps. I may have been weaned on Typewriter 2.0, but I am determined to have at least a passing acquaintence with Web 2.0 before it morphs into the next big thing.
So over the weekend, I set up a couple of applications, downloaded some music and subscribed to a handful of podcasts, and when I boarded the bus to work this morning decided to give it a try. I plugged my earphones into the iPhone, listened to a couple of news items on an NPR podcast, then settled into tunes from Bonnie Raitt and Madeline Peyroux.
But here's the thing: it wasn't fun at all. I felt disconcerted, disoriented. Here I was, connected to a whole world of opportunities, but disconnected from the reality around me. It was really uncomfortable.
Before long, I put the iPhone in my bag and returned to my usual routine of people-watching and looking out the window. By the time the bus reached my stop, I'd regained my equilibrium and went on about my day.
I'm not giving up the iPhone. I'll try the podcasts again, most likely at the gym, where disconnecting from the reality of 45 minutes on the ellpitical machine will be a blessing. I'm already a text-messaging addict, and I love the GPS, the weather channel, the quick access to YouTube and the application that turns the iPhone into a flashlight. That "music genome project" thing is cool.
But if it's a choice between the rich and varied world inside the sleek little iPhone, and the messy business of real people, I'll take the people.