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How iPhones have made all of our lives Better(worse) [Gamer by Design]

If you read my column on the reg, then you know I spend about half my waking hours designing iPhone games. Oh and I also use an iPhone for my PHONE. So basically there is almost always an iPhone in my hand. This is a sad state of affairs, considering the fact that I’m not an Apple fanboy. All kidding aside, I give the iPhone its due; it made GPS maps actually usable on a handheld for the first time, it created the App store and improved the whole industry of making games for phones. We could go on, but let’s complain, that’s more fun.

So here it goes, the reasons why iPhones make my life worse.

Texting While Driving

I think texting while driving is super duper dangerous, and I’d advise you to never ever do it. But remember when I had my T9, old school texting phone? The one with 9 numeric keys? You could text with that thing with one hand like it was your job. And because it had tactile, physical keys, you could do it without looking. So though you shouldn’t text while driving, you could text and walk, while looking at where you were going. With iPhones, you have to look AND use both hands to text. So with the advance in tech, you lose some of the very mobile functionality of the more simple phones. Oh and we all have to look like chipmunks with a nut when we text now. And that’s just not sexy.

This is how you look when you text. Maybe reconsider doing it in front of the ladies...

People talking on that stupid white headphone Mic

That’s really nice of Apple to include a headphone with a mic with all iPhones, but we need to issue a PSA: You’re not really  supposed to use it that way. It’s supposed to be a set of headphones, and you either talk with the phone in your hand or buy a bluetooth headset if you don’t wanna do that.

Incorrect: Holding that headphone thing next to your mouth (why don’t you just hold the phone in that case).

Incorrect 2: Walking around talking with the headphones while looking other people in the eyes as you pass, so as to mislead them to think you’re speaking to them. When you do that, you’re just messing with thousands of years of how people interact in person.

Running with the headphones in

If you know me, you know I like to run. I find it interesting when people are running on the trail here in Austin with those white headphones in, and when you pass them, since they can’t hear, they get scared as hell and jump. What did you think was gonna happen when you’re running on a busy trail and have effectively made yourself deaf? We have 5 senses, and a couple of them are really useful for public awareness. Sight and hearing. If we were sharks and had that electric radar, I’d say go ahead and be deaf while running.

Multitasking talkers and iPhone addiction

Ok, so this isn’t just a symptom of iPhones, but their prevalence and ease of use has made us all use phones in many more situations than we normally did. I mean, think about it; before the iPhone came out, most of us used phones to just text and talk. Other activities were limited. Now when you’re out with friends, everyone is checking Facebook, email, Instagram, etc.

Imagine for a moment, the last time you were having a serious conversation with a friend and…their phone vibrates. You awkwardly look at each other in some sort of high-tech standoff.  What do they do? Act like they’re still talking to you and look at their phone. Here’s my test for you. Ask them a question and see what happens. If they answer intelligently, that person has a multitasking mind. If they don’t even answer, just give up and let them finish their little shot of iPhone addiction, then continue to talk.

Whatever Shall We Do?

If you read this list of the ways the iPhone has made our lives worse, you probably came to a similar conclusion as I did. It’s really a list of the “weird ways interpersonal interaction has changed” because of iPhones. And mobile devices in general. So what do you do?

Someday when the car drives itself, you can send all the lol's and omg's you want while on the road!

In some ways these days, technology fixes technology. How? Here’s an example. You know about the self-driving car? Well it’s pretty close to be ready for prime time. A lot of people are scared of it. But we need it. Because we have another technological problem, which is people texting while driving. It’s killing thousands of people every year. So, while a lot of people say, the solution is less technology, it’s actually more in this case, because phones aren’t going anywhere. Another solution to the same problem is better integration of texting into the car’s computer, which also frees the driver to look at the road. So my point is that, a lot of weird social interactions caused by iPhones are because we’re at a weird middle place technologically, in which phones are really useful, but don’t really fit the way us humans move, live and interact. As technology improves, they become more integrated to our lifestyle.

But don’t worry, for those of you who thrive on awkwardness, there will be new equivalents of chipmunking, white headphone talking and bad multitasking as new technologies emerge. I mean, voice texting is charming, right? That’s a good new one?  Siri, can you say “awkward?”

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