Over the last couple of days I haven't been able to think straight.
And it's all because iPhone 6 released today. Well, not so much because of the iPhone 6 - I'm personally not all that interested in the iPhone 6. It's more so because all of the hype surrounding the launch of this one new smartphone has gotten me thinking about smartphones in general.
For the past decade or so, smartphones have been around. Okay, maybe not quite that long, but at least since as far back as 2007. And in all of that time, I've had little interest in them. I had a person try to talk me into buying the first iPhone years ago, but back then it was really expensive, and I wasn't really looking for a phone so much as an expensive plaything.
So I've been out of the loop for almost 10 years. That's nearly a decade that smartphones have had to become a big thing. And I have been content with basic cellphones throughout all of it. But fast-forward to now... And I'm not sure what I'm thinking.
On Monday a classmate mentioned to my fiancee and I that the iPhone 5c is now 'free' through certain carriers, and it got us thinking about them. Over the week I noticed that my current cellphone has gotten pretty beaten up within just a few short months. By contrast, my fiancee's old iPhone 4 is still in great shape. Then, about two days ago, my fiancee's mom said she is thinking of dropping our cable, and possibly switching things around.
I started thinking about the different kinds of phones out there, as well as the different plans and providers. And while I am still not sure what I would get if I were to make a change anytime soon, I think I've come to two potential options.
After going and checking out the iPhones a bit, I quickly came to the conclusion that I don't like the iPhone 5c. It is cheaper than the 5s (above) for a reason. The design doesn't seem nearly as sturdy as the 5s, which by comparison is a lot more like my girlfriend's still-functioning iPhone 4. The 5c has a plastic or glass casing, instead of metal, and sports different shades of pastel colors that just don't seem suited to me.
The iPhone 5s (up above), is pretty similar to the 5c software-wise, which is good since I am familiar with the Apple iOS software from using the iPod Touch and iPhone 4. It can also use iTunes, so it can play any music or whatever that I decide to purchase. It's only a little more expensive than its derpy younger brother, and would probably do the trick. So it is my first option.
By contrast, I'm also looking at Windows phones. While checking them out, I came across the Nokia Lumia 1020, which includes Windows 8.1 mobile, as well as the Cortana assistant - voiced by none other than Halo's Cortana voice actress, Jen Taylor. What caught my attention about this particular phone is its price (seemingly comparable to the iPhones on many plans), size (I don't want a gigantic phone), it's inclusion of Microsoft Office (intrigued!) and a 41 Megapixel camera - versus the iPhone's 8 Megapixel camera. Windows phones can also use Smartglass, and have some connectivity with XBox, hence some added incentive for me.
So this is where I'm stuck in my debate now. I have only started looking at smartphones, but these two seem like possibilities. And since I don't want something really high-end, but nothing low-end either, I feel like these are reasonable choices.
Why a Smartphone? Why Now?
So I realized some things, and maybe it ties into why I am even considering any of this in the first place.
1. It's a Chance for more Independence
I haven't been in charge of paying any phone bills, I simply pay my phone bill as a part of my rent. Recently my fiancee and I have started being in charge of our own suppers and buying all of the things we need to make them - up until now we've simply bought the meat and cooked on occasion. I am not sure if I could afford this or not yet, that's something I've started checking into. But maybe I could, especially if we make cuts elsewhere.
Going with a new phone carrier could also present me with the opportunity to start a plan in my name, and be more independent about my cellphone payments.
2. It ties into Technology and my career
There is a lot I don't know about smartphones. Since I've started going back to school to study the computer field, I've been surrounded by people who know more about this technology than I do. And as the years pass, smartphones will only become more prevalent, more personalized, and capable of doing more things. Working with cellphones could be right up there with working with computer systems and networks, and in a way it already is.
Aside from knowing the technology, I do feel embarrassed to own a cheap cellphone because I am concerned that I will not be taken as seriously by tech-savvy people in my career, as I would if I owned a decent smartphone. Practically, it would make it easier for me to get good phone service, and I would be able to make better use of a wide variety of tools on my phone, which could be useful in my career.
3. It's also about brand loyalty, and which brand offers more.
I'm not an Apple die-hard by any means, but I think their iOS devices have been great so far. I think iTunes is a pretty decent, modern way to buy music. And I think Apple has a lot to offer with their various apps and features. They are a leader in the smartphone industry.
By contrast, I have some level of brand loyalty to Microsoft because I own a PC that runs Windows 8, and I have an XBox One. The company is facing some rough times, and I feel like my support could mean something if I became an adopter of their Nokia phones. My phone would connect with my other devices, and work like my other devices, giving me greater insight into the Windows 8/9 design and features. There's also no denying that competition is good for the industry.
Obviously there is a lot for me to consider, should I decide to pursue getting a smartphone. Who knows, maybe this is just some phase and by next week I'll be over it. But maybe I've started to notice something, a potential in the smartphone, especially as my life is getting busier and more unpredictable. Maybe a 'mobile computer' would be a good thing for someone like me to have right now.
Regardless, I've been unable to focus entirely on my school work this week. Perhaps I am using this as a distraction against reality. I have no idea. School is getting tougher, if only a little. But other stresses continue to pile on.
I'll be giving some thought to smartphones for a while. If the idea still sounds good a few weeks from now, maybe I'll see about making a switch.