I expressed this carnal dilemma on facebook last night:
Zaak thinks an iPhone is terrific, found an ideal monthly plan, has his wife's permission to get one, but still can't list enough reasons why he "needs" one. He guesses he'll just keep his money.Not surprisingly, I got 15 comments. I'll get to those in a minute.
What I didn't post was my full tech needs and resources.
- I currently have an iMac (on it's 4th year) on which I do most of my personal work (design, video, email, photo & music library, website, address book, calendar, Skype with family, etc.).
- I have a school MacBook Pro (also on it's 4th year) on which I do all of my school work (making assignments/tests/lesson presentations, email, grading program, media class prep), cohousing work (email, proposals, committee work, Skype, etc.), and where I do most of my web browsing and blogging (I'm on it now).
- I have a first generation iPod Touch 8 GB (which my students think is totally retro) on which I listen to tunes at work during preps, play Angry Birds, use as a calculator, check my email / calendar / address book, look at maps before traveling to a new location in Calgary, and check the news/blogs on the rare occasion my laptop isn't around and I have wifi). I have tried reading books, the Bible, and blogging from my iPod, but it just isn't a very fulfilling experience.
- I have an 80 GB iPod Classic which serves as our entire music library. It's hooked up to our receiver in the living room and it comes on long car trips.
- I share a Nokia mobile phone with my wife that we usually forget to bring with us or forget to charge. I use it to text for carpool rides (about 10-15 texts a month). When we do remember to bring it with us, we'll call home to ask if there is anything we can pick up on the way home (the answer is usually "no"). We've never exceeded the 50 free minutes on any given month.
- We also have a brand new set of Panasonic wireless home phones. We spend about $30/mo total to have the home phones including all of our long distance.
- iPhones are a thing of beauty, not unlike a mountain vista or a glorious symphony. My life could be impacted just by the beauty (harmony, intention, power).
- The odd time I am a little lost in Calgary, I could use the G4 network and the maps app.
- Amber could have full ownership of the Nokia or we could cancel that $15/mo subscription.
- I could shoot video and take impromptu photos rather than having to drag my Canon miniDV camcorder or Flip Cam and my Nikon DSLR around everywhere.
- I could update my facebook status from almost anywhere. Something I barely do at home.
- I could give my kids my iPod Touch to play with.
- I could adapt enjoy more apps that I have been unable to try/use because my iPod is so old (3.5 years!!).
Is that worth $60/month (plus the cost of the phone) for the next 3 years (about $2,650 total including tax, fees)? I would likely spend a couple more hundred dollars on apps etc. too.
Now for the facebook comments:
- Dean, Isabel, Janis, Cate, Marta and Karry LOVE their iPhones and believe I would also. I agree.
- Sara, Justin, Helen, and Landon suggest alternatives: Androids, something cheaper. Reservations? Yikes!
- Mom, Petra, and Trish share my dilemma. Yup.
- Lawrence and Jon discourage me from giving in to my wants. True, true.
Yes, I would have a marginally (?) richer tech life.
Would I likely have my nose glued to it all day and all evening? Probably, knowing my experience with my iPod/MacBook/iMac. This likely means less facetime (irony?) with my family.
The pocketbook** would suffer.
As a whole, I will have become more materialistic, though I've already achieved gold status, so what harm could an iPhone do?
As a global citizen, would owning an iPhone be better for everyone? I believe that is a resounding no. The factories aren't exactly a place where I'd like my children to work, so why would I support the employment for the Chinese. The materials used are likely mined unethically and may even contribute to wars around the planet. But again, I'm already a global criminal by the amount of energy, food, and technology that I consume, what's one more gadget?
Finally, the tough question, and one I am reluctant to post here, but hey it might generate a good discussion. I should iterate: I am not judging those who own and love their iPhones. This is my struggle, but maybe it is yours too: Can I as a professing Christian own an iPhone based on the reasons I've posted? I'm not sure I can. And I type these words with sadness because I really, really want an iPhone.
- My money could be spent more generously, in a more giving way.
- My time could be spent in relationship, rather than entertainment.
- I should consider the full, global impact of my spending as the ripple effect is great and terrible.
- Can my purpose here on earth (to be used by God for the restoration, renewal, and redemption of the world) be better accomplished using an iPhone? (maybe?)
** by using this word, do I disqualify myself from even being able to buy an iPhone?