Christopher Lee


Bin your iPhone5. It hasn’t a clue where you are and it’s turning us into cretins with no minds of our own

24 September 2012

My new iPhone 5 doesn’t know my way home. That is official. Apple with all its genius to fool people that they’re getting the best mobile in the world has cocked up. Its mapping APP doesn’t work.

This, of course, amounts to a crisis. A man on the French TV show France24 claimed that he lived in a place called Dudley. Clearly he does not. Clearly the man is a fool because his iPhone map shows no such place as Dudley exists. His clean socks, his old school photographs and his teddy bear must be somewhere entirely different because Apple knows best.

Apple has always known best. Apple has clouds. Apple has buzzing things that tell you the name of songs; can tell you what’s in the shop you’re passing; tell you the best time to buy Turkish delight squares in Kazakhstan and gives you a torch so that you can see the keyhole on your front door. Only it is not the keyhole on your front door. It is the keyhole to someone else’s front door because you do not know where you are, where you think you are and even where you have always been for the past 30 years.

My iPhone knows best. It has to know best because it has more computing power than the whole of NASA space rescue programme when they brought back Apollo 13.

But it is not just about computers. It’s about us – you, me and my priest. Because the reason Apple knows best is because we’ve all said it does. We have all not only got used to the idea that iPhones know best. They also know everything. They know so much that we no longer have to know anything at all. This is the real crisis, not the workings (or non-workings) of some crap fashion accessory.

iphone 5 queuesSimply, the iPhone has taken over. We no longer talk to each other in restaurants because like everyone else in the restaurant we are looking at our iPhones. If we want to know the time of the train we ask our iPhone. A lawyer next to me on a train to Canterbury from London’s Charing Cross checked her iPhone to find out where she changed trains. She did so instead of asking the guard who was standing just along from us.

We’re not only obsessed enough to camp out for 48 hours to get the new one (even though it could not tell us where it is we are camped) but we are determined to pay whatever is asked for it because such is the Apple hold, no one can discount it. We even like it being expensive.

We have now got ourselves an A* in cretinism. We have given up initiative and basic brain power and the fun of finding out by looking things up in books, asking the way of a complete stranger, making up our own minds where’s a good restaurant and seemingly everything else other than when we want to wee or poo – and that will come.

Can we get out of this? I think so. I have left my wiggly amp phone in its box. Instead, I have bought for £9 a small, pretty Samsung that just phones and texts. It does the job and I hope it will catch on.

If I lose it? I’ll ring it from the Pay As You Go twin I also bought – at £9, I can afford it. If someone picks it up, I’ll ask them where they are. They will probably know – unless of course they consult their iPhone. Then I’m afraid, we’re all lost.

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