Thursday, July 31, 2008

The iPhone: The First Phone Where The Primary Objective Isn't To Call People: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I don't often do requests. It's not that I'm against writing on ideas other than my own, but rather that the requests have been a bit random and are not always -- in my view -- wide-reaching topics.

Nevin, write a blog on how people are bringing their poodles into stores.

Nevin, write a blog on the deadliness of Mexican jalapenos.

Nevin, write a blog on my Catholic wedding.

(Note on Catholic weddings: They are long. But in the one I went to, the groom and groomsmen all wore Converse shoes. Now that's an idea Jewish weddings should steal.)

But lately, many of you have been pestering me about a certain topic. A product that has recently taken America by storm. You've read about it, seen it, maybe even own it. And, bowing to public pressure, today I write about:

The iPhone.

So here we go.

I have one fundamental problem with the iPhone:

I can't figure out how to make a phone call with it.

I mean, I look at that thing and I am lost. I see a button to check traffic. I see a button to go online. I see a button to send a text message. I see a button for music. I see a button that looks like a cross between a television and a stove.

But how do I use the iPhone to, you know, phone someone?

I'm a traditionalist. I'm used to phones where the numbers I press are featured prominently. With my phone, for example, I flip it open...and the numbers are there.

I then use these call people.

And here's the nifty thing: When the person on the other end answers the phone...

...we talk.

Over the phone.

Can the iPhone do this? I'm seriously asking this, because I've yet to see someone actually use the iPhone to talk to another person using spoken words.

Case in point: My friend and co-worker Rachit recently braved the long lines at his local Apple Store -- where apparently, you're waiting in two long lines: One to purchase the phone, one to activate it -- and was happily showing me everything he can do with the iPhone. He showed me how to send e-mails. Texts. Listen to tunes. Watch TV. Play games. See if the 405 Freeway was clogged. Take photos clearer than the latest cameras. Shoot video.

All well and good. But...

"How do I call someone with it?" I asked him.

And he looked at me. Just looked at me. Like a puppy pondering why there wasn't any food in his bowl at the pre-arranged feeding time. He was confused, a vacant glaze coming over his eyes.
"You don't need to call someone," he said.

Come again?

"You don't have to call with the iPhone," he continued. "It's easy to text or e-mail."

"But what if I want to talk to the person?" I asked.

"But you don't have to," he replied.

"But what if I want to?"

"Why would you want to?"

"Why? What you do mean why? Because I'm used to talking to people on the phone, that's why."
"But you don't have to talk with the iPhone."

"But what if I want to talk with the iPhone?"

"You don't have to."

"But I want to!!"

"You can text or e-mail them."

"I don't want to text or e-mail them."

"But it's faster."

"It's impersonal."

"No one talks anymore."

"We're talking now."

"But not over the phone."

"Dude...I want a phone to talk."

"Talking isn't necessary."



"You know what, Nevin? I don't think the iPhone is right for you."


Eventually, Rachit relented and proceeded to try to find something on his iPhone that resembled some sort of pad for which you can press numbers and hear another person on the other end.

The process took 45 seconds.

45 seconds -- not to call someone, mind you -- but to find the number pad for which to make the call.

45 seconds. To find numbers that have been in front of you since the rotary age.

And you know something? Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm behind the times. Maybe the era where we use our phones primarily to phone people has passed.

But ponder this:

If I saw a man having a heart attack, I can quickly flip my phone and dial 911 in 1.3 seconds, thus saving that man's life and earning his eternal gratitude.

If someone else saw the same man having a heart attack and had an iPhone, by the time he or she found the "9", the man would be dead.

Because last time I checked, 911 didn't accept texts or e-mails.

And now for this week's:

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE now features ads.

If you click on these ads, you'll be contributing to my "Send me on a Vegas gambling junket" fund.

I can't think of a worthier cause.

(The writer of turns 29 on Aug. 6. He likes gift cards. Hint hint.)


Anonymous said...

I think you are jealous that you don't have an iPhone.

You probably want one for your birthday, huh?

Oh yeah, I wrote this on my iPhone JACK@$$.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

Nevin, the great thing about iPhones is that you can make fun of people who have it. Example:

LOREN: I love my new iPhone! Look at all the things I can do with it while I'm in bed! I can operate my iTunes from here!

PRINCE: Uh-huh.

LOREN: Hey, I'm going to sleep. Could you turn off the hall light?

PRINCE: No. Why don't you get your iPhone to do it?

LOREN: [grumble, grumble]

Nev said...

Prince, I did the exact same thing with my friend Rachit. I went to his desk one day, pointed to his iPhone and said:

"iPhone, make me eggs!!"

The iPhone failed me.

James said...

You're the man, Nev

Mike Nunes said...


One Happy early Birthday and Two, Thanks for the Catholic Wedding comment, I knew I would make it in some way or another.


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