28 Jun 10 Unbelievable Ways The iPhone Has Changed Your Life
Can you believe that ten years have passed since the first model of iPhone was released back in 2007? For better or worse, Apple gave birth to a smartphone revolution which has forever changed the way we live, work and interact every single day. It’s almost impossible to imagine what the world was like back in the days of dial-up broadband and Nokia bricks. Today, the entire world is at our fingertips and we can do almost anything with a mere tap or swipe. Humans are more digitally interconnected that ever, but has it come at a price? To mark its ten-year anniversary, we discuss ten ways our lifestyles have changed forever since the release of the iPhone.
#1 We’re More Social Vs. We’re Less Social
One of the most obvious ways in which the iPhone has transformed our lifestyles is by making communication more accessible than ever. No longer do we have to pay hefty phone bills to call relatives abroad, we just use FaceTime. And most household landlines have become obsolete as a new breed of social messaging apps replace the need to pick up the phone. There’s no longer an excuse not to stay in touch, yet has our day-to-day human interaction suffered as a result? It’s a common sight to see those walking down the street become so absorbed in their on-screen conversations that they forget to have them in the real world. How many times has the love of our lives walked past in a bar but we were too busy taking a Snapchat of our cocktail to notice? And the ultimate paradox; how many times do we ignore a Facebook ‘friend’ in the street because the small talk with a mere acquaintance would be too uncomfortable?
#2 We’re Never Bored Vs. Our Attention Spans Are Shot
Carrying an iPhone in your pocket is like transporting an entertainment system with you everywhere you go. We can pack light and still have access to TV, music, games and books. So there’s no chance of getting bored, that is, until we run out of battery and struggle to remember how we used to fill our time. And it’s not entirely our fault. Smartphones are designed to keep us hooked. Their apps require us to pull down to refresh, much like a slot machine in a casino. Smartphone addicts seek the reward of a new ‘like’ or email message and the dopamine rush that comes with it. The result? Even just receiving a notification can severely distract us. With a never-ending stream of entertainment platforms competing in one tiny screen, we flick from app to app and task to task. Our attention spans are so far gone that even a goldfish can now concentrate for longer than we can. Ouch.
#3 There’s An App For That Vs. We Never Switch Off
Cooking? There’s an app for that. Shopping? There’s an app for that. Relaxing? There’s an app for that. Apps have infiltrated every aspect of our lives, for good or bad. Most we couldn’t live without, but when do we switch off? 38% of us can’t even last one day without checking our email while on holiday. Our iPhones have created an always-on culture and with it new social norms that dictate we be accessible at all times. We’re stressed, our eyes are strained, our brains are tired and that’s before we even talk about how phones are keeping us up at night.
#4 We’re Better Informed Vs. We’re Less Intelligent
We have the world’s biggest information resource at our fingertips. Who won the World Cup in 1982? Just Google it. When did the Berlin Wall come down? Just Google it. Our brains have become short term memory drives, but what happens to the spare space? We have the ability to learn, to teach ourselves anything from millions of YouTube videos, but is it making us more intelligent or less? Do we take less notice of our spelling because we know autocorrect has our back?
#5 Young People Have A Voice Vs. New Teenage Pressures
Millennials and Generation Z have grown up surrounded by technology. They are often dubbed screen zombies, yet they have a voice and access to the world that previous generations could only have dreamt of. If the recent general election is anything to go by, the fact that the majority of young people have a smartphone and access to social media offers policy makers a new channel to mobilise the young. That can only be positive. Fingers crossed they can battle the immense pressure to conform to the unobtainable lifestyles of their favourite social media influencers and use their voice.
#6 We Can Capture Moments To Last Forever Vs. Experiences Become A Competition
Older generations can show us the highlights of their youth in a handful of yellowing photographs. Us? We are amateur photographers taking thousands of photos a year to be preserved forever somewhere in ‘The Cloud’. But how often do we spend time getting the perfect shot just to show off online? Our sharing culture is underpinned by a deep desire to impress others and find confirmation in the form of ‘likes’ and comments that we are in fact a cool, successful and attractive person.
#7 We Can Express Ourselves Better Vs. Our Private Lives Have Become Public
Our iPhones and their apps have become an extension of our personalities. On social media, everyone’s a journalist with a story. We can share, we can give opinions, we can find like-minded individuals and engage in debate, and we can build Instagram and Pinterest profiles that showcase our creativity. But we also overshare. We share what we eat for dinner, we share our daily grievances and embarrassing couple selfies that no one wants to see. And Snapchat’s latest location based update is one step further. Share your location, right down to your street address ALL the time? No thank you!
#8 We’re Better Informed Vs. We’re Less Happy
Swipe right on your iPhone and the world’s biggest news headlines appear. Scroll through Twitter and see the development of a natural disaster on the other side of the world as it happens. We’re better informed, but we’re waking up to every country’s bad news every single morning. The impression? We’re heading for a world-wide apocalypse and you’d be better off staying in bed.
#9 The World Is Our Oyster Vs. We’re More Impatient
Everything is merely a tap away. With an app for everything, increasingly fast mobile internet speeds and the immediacy of messaging apps, our lives have become a lot more convenient. We don’t need to spend hours in traffic, our iPhone GPS tells us to take another route. Even Siri is at our beck and call. But have we forgotten that the good things in life take time? Will there be future masterpieces of art and architecture? Or will the easy option always win?
#10 We Have More Opportunity To Find Love Vs. Romance Is Dead
Mobile dating apps have made the pool of ‘fish in the sea’ infinitely bigger. We’ve got a far greater chance of meeting Mr or Mrs Right than ever before. But unlike predecessors online, these dating apps do not use carefully created algorithms to find our perfect partner. Instead we have gamified dating, making it an addictive new sport to swipe left or right with the sense that someone better or more attractive is always around the corner. Will we ever be satisfied?
Our love affair with our iPhones is also very real. As many as 9% of US adults have admitted to using their phone during sex, while another survey found that US university students prefer their iPhones to ‘hooking up’ on campus. There’s no wonder that for 79% of us, our phones are the first thing we grab in the morning.
What does the next 10 years have in store?
Our iPhones have changed our lives more than anyone could have predicted ten years ago. But we definitely wouldn’t be without them! What has the next ten years got in store? We believe that smartphone euphoria will begin to fade as we question what impact our ‘always-on’ culture has on our mental and physical health and that of our children. We predict that more emphasis will be placed on taking breaks from technology and, as already noticed in younger generations who prefer selective social media such as Snapchat, we will see a retreat back into the private sphere. We will continue to cherish our iPhones but we will start to relish the benefits of unplugging from the digital world. And as the home of digital detox, Time To Log Off is ready to spread the word.