One of my friends recently posted a picture of her old iPhones, which made others comment how the iPhone changed in size, going from smaller and more compact to the recent release of the iPhone 6 and 6+ which boasts the largest screen available with the newest version of the iOS software installed. Some people joked that she should start a museum and others demanded to know why she even had some of the older models around after rushing out to get her iPhone 6. She explained that she wanted to hang onto her previous phone in case anything went wrong. The rest would likely be sold off to make a little extra money and free up space in her drawers. Welcome to the normal protocol of owning the latest and greatest in the 21st Century!
Many of my friends are quick to upgrade to the newest versions of the smartphones – in most cases, they literally had their last phone for a couple of months to a year before they pre-order or purchase their new model of phone as soon as it comes out. They’re excited at first, then come the comments and complaints about the new set of glitches and problems that this model comes with. Eventually they get used to maneuvering the new model until the company announces the newest version of their phone. My social media feeds blow up when that happens and all I see is a flurry of posts about what color or special size they’re going to buy.
As for me, I’ve still got my iPhone 4, which I bought my third year in university. It’s worked well for me and I plan to continue using it until it can: A) No longer hold a charge or B) Starts experiencing serious glitches that hinder my calls or texts. I’ve got a long standing record of using my phones until they no longer work – my first cell lasted me from my second year in middle school to roughly my third year in high school. The second phone lasted up to my third year at university – dying before I went out to grab a bite with friends. (That resulted in me e-mailing my folks from a friend’s computer to tell them that I was safe and was going out with friends – not ignoring them or their messages.)
Some of my friends do a double take when they see me pull out my small iPhone 4 and ask me why I haven’t upgraded my phone. My response: It still works so why would I upgrade? A few of them have joked about helping to accidentally break or lose my current phone so I can get the newest model now. Aside from not wanting to replace my phone until I have a serious problem with it, I have many memories stored on this phone: numbers from international friends I met through university, a sweet, thoughtful note from a friend who sent me positive thoughts before he left to earn his graduate degree in Vienna, and countless pictures taken with friends, family, and talented individuals I admire.
disCONNEXION by Xing Danwen
Image from Artspace
With people constantly changing their communication devices in an effort to “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak, it made me think back to this contemporary art series by Xing Danwen that I learned about in my Contemporary Asian Art (China, Japan, Korea) class. Her photographs of technology waste is a gritty, grim picture of consumerism and how it hurts us. These items were once used in commercial electronics, likely sold and used overseas, now they’re in landfills in China, many with toxic parts and chemicals that are leaking due to poor disposal. Isn’t it funny how the newest phone can boast a high price tag, but quickly lose its value once used and replaced by the brand new model?
What about you? Are you in favor of upgrading to the new model when it comes up or are you a firm believer in “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it?”