Back in primary school, I used to take a bus to school. There were four buses that did the rounds to and from St Leonard’s; I was on bus number four. Once, while waiting for the bus home, kids started talking about which the best bus was. “Four’s the best!” I said. It turned out that in fact, all the other kids from Four agreed that Four was not even a contender and there was some other, more awesome bus out there.

It occurs to me now that I can’t possibly imagine what made a bus actually good. Perhaps it was number of stops between school and your place. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that for no reason I jumped on the idea that my bus was the best, because it was mine and I was on it.

When I started watching Doctor Who at around the same time, it was very important to me that it was better than Star Trek. I had never seen an episode of Star Trek, or indeed anything apart from a bit of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But for some pathological reason, I still wanted it to be not as good as my show. When I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was similarly important to me that Charmed was total shit. I’m still reasonably comfortable that in at least one instance, I may have been right.

The pattern I’m trying to demonstrate here is that either I have a serious fandom problem, or at the very least, I did at one point, and that elements of it linger on in my psyche.[^1] These days, it tends to manifest in phone choices.

I know perfectly well that it shouldn’t matter to anyone what lump of metal and plastic they use to connect to the internet when on the move. But I find it so easy to get defensive when I perceive other people bashing my lump of metal and plastic. Grrr. What’s so hot about yours? Did you know there was a security scare last week with something that neither of us would ever be stupid enough to do, and it happened to your phone? Grrr. I have a phone, I have my reasons (they’re below), it works, I like it. It’s that simple.

So I’m not going to talk about the bullshit any more. I’m going to talk about nifty apps, and cute features that are happening on my phone, because I don’t know what’s happening on other people’s phones. I am not going to get drawn into discussions about how disappointing the latest thingumybob is with people who don’t care for thingumybobs in the first place. I am not going to start arguing that operating systems which I’ve barely used are less good than the one I use all the time, because I’m massively unqualified to make that call. I’m not going to get defensive on behalf of the most profitable company in the world because there’s almost nothing stupider than doing that.

Phew. That felt good.

My Reasons

I have an iPhone because once upon a time, in the days of Windows 95, a friend used a Mac and it seemed cool. So when the family got a new computer, I suggested that, and then it got a shiny new operating system, and I started using that, and every year it got a little bit better, and I got invested in its development, and I started finding a lot of awesome apps on it, and then Apple made an mp3 player (something I’d been meaning to get for a while) which I knew would work well with a Mac, and then I wanted one that played videos, and then I wanted one that played videos on the WHOLE BODY OF THE DEVICE AND HAD A TOUCH SCREEN (I can’t over-emphasise how awesome an idea this seemed a few years ago), and then they made one and it was also a phone, and then I got shitloads of apps, and then they brought out a new one and I got that.

And, crucially, I enjoy using it.

It’s all perfectly sensible. If Google had brought out a sexy Android with a touchscreen the size of the phone before the iPhone, I’d probably have gotten that. I like a lot of Google stuff. I’m one of the seven or eight people who really got into Wave. But they didn’t, so here I am.

Tom Charman Mastodon