A Curmudgeon Navigates an IPhone World

a | A

By Caroline Baum

I am always amazed at the number of people I know who live on their iPhones. And I mean live. The iPhone is never more than an arm's length away.

It's programmed to give updates on sporting events: every time their favorite baseball team gets a hit or a run or even if the game is delayed by rain. It tells them how to get from point A to point B in the New York City or London subway systems. It will find a restaurant nearby, wherever they happen to be. And it eliminates the need for those ungainly phone books, although every once in a while, they need something heavy to press a wrinkled document.

And for those who don't want to touch and swipe, Siri, Apple Inc.'s enhanced speech-command service, will cater to their every need.

Who wouldn't want such an all-in-one device? A curmudgeon like me. Maybe I'm odd (don't answer), but when I'm not at my desk, I don't want to be at a virtual desk. I want to be able to make phone calls to coordinate plans when I'm out and about and check emails related to my work. I don't want to watch a movie on a miniature screen, do research for my next column, check the weather in Kuala Lumpur or read movie reviews.

I'm a prisoner to information all day long. When I step away from my desk, I want to really step away.

Last week, I got an email from Verizon. "Exciting news! You're eligible for significant savings on a new device on 9/30/12. We'd love to show you what's new at Verizon Wireless."

Exciting? To whom? I clicked on the link to take a peek. All of the models were smartphones -- smarter than I wanted or needed. I haven’t seen the new iPhone 5, which Apple unveiled today. But I do plan to take a look at it, especially since I'm in the market for a new phone, and the old breed is passe.

Not that the iPhone 4S wouldn't be phone enough for me. Even curmudgeons like to be up to date.

(Caroline Baum is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow her on Twitter.)

Read more breaking commentary from Bloomberg View columnists and editors at the Ticker.

-0- Sep/12/2012 20:28 GMT