Occasionally a device comes out that is a game changer. My first laptop made me realize I didn’t have to be stuck to a desk all day. My first computer with a DVD player built in made me lose any remaining interest in VHS. Although I grew up in a house with a VCR, I must confess the technology always got on my nerves. Being able to jump scene to scene was liberating. Few devices have changed my life more than my iPhone 3G though, which I purchased last year. I know it sounds like I am channeling Steve Jobs, but it has truly been a revolutionary device to me.
For one thing, I have never been a big phone guy in the first place. I love to email and chat though. I also over time developed a love for texting. The iPhone has the best text program I have seen yet. All of my texts are organized by the person I am talking with and are in bubbles like I am talking in an old comic book. The email app works wonderfully, and unlike my first smartphone, this one syncs with my yahoo email address painlessly. If I want to chat, Yahoo! Messenger has a free app that also works really good. And now that I have a phone that I can do things on while I talk, I don’t even mind talking on it occasionally.
It also serves as a portable entertainment library. I never owned or saw a need for an iPod, but now that my phone has a dedicated one, it is nice to carry my music around with me. I can watch movies bought on iTunes or streamed from Netflix. It doubles as an e-reader allowing me to read books or comic books without carrying around a massive library all the time. I have always enjoyed reading, but sometimes it just isn’t easy to sneak a book in somewhere. And although I love gaming, I gave up on portable games years ago. My iPhone has changed all that. Gameboy games never quite measured up to me. They expected you to devote the energy of a console game to a little tiny screen that never could quite get the look of a console game to me. The perspective always seemed off to me. However, with the iPhone, the games look and play like something that I can pick up for a few minutes while I wait on a meeting to begin or I am stuck in line.
Finally, though, it changed the entire way I perceived Apple. Years ago, when Apple first almost collapsed, I switched over to the PC world. The iMac and iPod couldn’t win me over. But the iPhone made me wake up and realize that Apple had something to offer. When I fell in love with it, and Apple came out with the iPad, I decided to give it a try. It has become the computer I want the most now. And then last month, they unveiled their new laptop. Suddenly, I find myself eagerly awaiting the new Apple products, while questioning where Microsoft lost its way. All because of a little phone that combined a whole bunch of features I never really wanted, and now don’t see how I lived without.