What I am now… is a man with an iPod Touch.
Up to this point I had successfully avoided the Apple cult, sometimes with the aid of diversions and clever disguises. I’ve just always used a PC, mostly from the inertia of always having had one. My MP3 player has been whatever was selling for 10 bucks at Wal-Mart that was marginally capable of pushing a song into my earhole. And my handheld needs have been more than adequately filled by my series of increasingly complicated Palm Pilots.
Besides, Apple fans are… let’s face it, they’re a little scary. I’ve used Macs in college and here at work, and yeah, they’re decent machines, I’ve got nothing against them. If you don’t gush about them, Mac fans simply regard you as a lesser being who simply doesn’t get it. But God help you if you even slightly disparage anything with a shiny, half-eaten apple on the side or hordes of rabid iPod people will swarm hand-over-hand across your column, blog and Twitter feed to click and hold you until you submit and endlessly sing the praises of Steve Jobs and all that he holds dear. Even if I was interested in a Mac, I would feel like someone slightly intrigued by Scientology who was freaked out by Tom Cruise.
But Palm seems to be walking away from their PDAs, preferring to stumble forward with smartphones in their eyes, while friends with iPhones and iPod Touches (iTouches?) have been flagrantly fondling their shiny toys at me. “Look,” they say, dancing in monochromatic poses. “We are Bright and Futuristic and Good. Join us!”
Ah, but I was made of sterner stuff. No glitzy fadmachine for me! I was
perfectly content with my Palm TX, even if it didn’t have fancy
bouncing animations or sophisticated motion detection or a koi pond
app. Mostly I used it to read ebooks, and since there wasn’t a– What?
There are now three different ebook readers available for the iTouch?
Including the same one I use the most, eReader? And eReader.com and
Fictionwise and Baen Books all make it easy to download your books to
your iTouch? But, but, but…
It began to haunt my dreams. So
cool, so tempting. Slim, silver, comfortable to the hand. Maybe I could
just try one, see if I like it? But the prohibitive (for me) price kept
me a safe distance away. I’d stop by the locked white counter in Target
or idly click around Amazon just in case the iTouch price inexplicably
dropped to $50, but no luck. (Always the iTouch, by the way. My cell
plan is firmly locked in Verizon’s vaults, guarded by that oddly bland
guy with glasses and his crowds and helicopters, so the iPhone is dead
to me.) And then I saved some money, and got some more for Christmas,
and “I really really want one” was sounding more and more justifiable,
and the gleaming white die was cast.
I chose the Apple store for
my conversion. The thing never goes on sale so it hardly mattered where
or when I bought it. (Yes, I could have ordered from store.apple.com
and saved the tax, but that would have taken days! Whole days!)
Besides, it just seemed right, and I knew I would be welcomed among
friends, possibly even given handfuls of flowers to go sell somewhere.
On January 1st, 2009, I cleansed myself and my wife Teres and I went to
the Casselberry Mall to begin my new life.
The next half hour
was a blur. Did eager hands really clutch at my sleeves, drawing me in,
or did I dream it? Were there chants, and hymns, and joyous hallelujahs
sung to me by a choir of smiling young people in polo shirts? Was I
really submerged wholly into a glittering pool of apple juice, to be
brought forward as a new and clearly better being?
All I know
is Teres came back from Hot Topic to find me standing outside the
store, dazed, clutching my new white and silver bag and mumbling
something about needing to sync, needing to sync now.
many other people who have spent a wild weekend with a new
acquaintance, I’m in love. I find myself reaching for my iTouch to
reassure myself that it’s close. I’ve loaded all the top free apps on
it, and then deleted most of them, and then loaded on more. I’ve filled
and emptied it twice with TV shows and movies because I can. I’ve paid
for more music and software in the last five days than I have in the
last year because it’s so easy. At one point I found myself Twittering on it while I was sitting in front of my computer, which has an actual keyboard.
can’t explain why, really. I can’t write on it the way I could on my
Palm TX, which has several efficient word processor programs and, wow,
even lets you cut and paste text, a very sad omission on the part of
the Apple people. I can’t move files to it as easily as I can to my
Palm. I have to convert non-iTunes movie files to work with it, whereas
I have apps for my Palm that can read most any format I can throw in
there. There isn’t an Apple equivalent of my folding Palm keyboard.
But it has personality, in a way my Palm does not. It feels
better. High-tech, Star-Trekky, futuristic, like a time-traveler left
it behind so I could play Ninja Ropes. I feel privileged to own it.
So I’ll sell the Palm, and hope Apple adds a word processor soon, and I’ll try not to fondle it too obviously in your presence.
If you don’t have one, you just won’t get it.