A year ago, I wrote this post, in which I claim that the iPhone is essentially a better phone, and not a revolutionary game-changer. I was convinced that while it would conveniantly integrate two of our day’s oft-used gadgets, it would only make our lives more conveniant, not fundamentally different. And so, the dangers and benefits of the iphone were stated as typical for anything else.
Well, things have changed.
In fact, two key developments have caused me to reevaluate my opinion of the iPhone’s impact on our culture:
- Apple introduced the app store, which provided the opportunity for people to use the iPhone’s various innovative functions in any way they can dream up, and the faster 3G internet, which made these functions much more practical.
- I got one for myself.
It almost goes without saying that I’m not disappointed with my iPhone. It is everything I hope for and more. The real question, though, is whether this “Jesus-Phone” does as much to change our culture as many might think. While I used to balk at this concept (and at the time I was probably right to), I find myself realizing that the iPhone is starting to change things – at least, for me.
The iPhone has affected my downtime. It’s safe to say I can’t remember a time I was forced to simply sit and think. When I’m walking somewhere, waiting in line, or trapped in a room with no food (it could happen), I always have the ability to read the Bible, check my calendar or email, twitter, check facebook, or listen to some music. The benefit here is it enables me to more easily keep up with various tasks. I like to communicate with friends through email, facebook and twitter. I need to keep on top of my schedule with my calendar. If anything’s a necessity, isn’t scripture?
And yet, another necessity is simply thinking about all of these things. In an iPhone culture, the single most frightening danger is that we will all be too busy reading, checking, tweeting, and updating that we forget to think about how and why we do those things at all.
If we didn’t want to call the iPhone revolutionary (and I’m apt to at this point), we could at least call it the missing link that connects the individual to the outside world at every point of one’s life. The implications of this are much too huge to discuss in just one post. But we can at least recognize the immediate dangers and prepare ourselves to make changes.
Whether we go without the phone, turn it off every once in a while, or just learn to use it in moderation, we can let the iPhone change our lives, but we don’t have to let it change our hearts.