New iPhones fuel smartphone fad

For one long, grueling week, I was without my iPhone. I missed dinner plans with my podmates. I couldn’t call my parents for money. I missed all those pressing emails from Mary Cisar. I was completely cut off from society.

To get my problems resolved, I moved into the Verizon store – world-renowned for great customer service and speedy results. In the course of two days, I was recommended four conflicting courses of action: I could buy a new phone, fix my old phone, order a free replacement phone or receive no help at all.

Eventually, Verizon and its tech support agreed it was a hardware issue, and I managed to get a refurbished iPhone sent to me although they downgraded me from a 4S to a 4. Finally, I reentered society.

In the midst of my phone misfortunes, Apple announced the release of its new iPhone 5S and 5C. Instantly, I wanted in. I pushed the problems with my current iPhone to the back of my mind. Surely Apple had fixed those problems.

But doesn’t the iPhone 5S look eerily similar to the 5? While many users love the new gold option, most of the changes took place internally. There is an updated processor and improved flash, but much of it is the same.

Then Apple introduced the iOS 7.

Apple completely reworked the operating system, preaching the new “experience of depth” and layers created with translucent screens. The new system features crisp, clear colors. A new control panel is accessed with a swipe from the bottom. The “motion coprocessor” tells where your phone is, whether it’s moving or hasn’t been used in a while.

The format of the iPhone has stayed the same since its release in 2007. This new upgrade has kept true to Apple’s ease of accessibility and user-friendly interface while giving the iPhone a much-needed makeover.

Another feature users are buzzing about is the fingerprint scanner. The scanner has replaced the traditional home screen button and has the ability to read 5 different fingerprints. But some are concerned with the government compiling a database of our fingerprints – the slippery slope towards overall domination by our government. Area 51 and stuff. But should we be worried?

Apple has promised that the fingerprints are stored in the main processor of the phone and not sent to the iCloud. So don’t stress. Big brother isn’t watching. Apple just created a techy gadget to help maintain its image of moving towards the future.

Additionally, Apple announced the 5C, a cheaper version of the iPhone. But would it be better to shell out a little more for the 5S? The 5C does come in five vibrant colors: pink, yellow, green, blue and white. But does the plastic backing cheapen Apple? Apple’s trademark is its sleek, metal design – which the 5C lacks. If you’re going for an iPhone, why not splurge for the 5S?

We live in a smartphone world. We have constant access to the Internet and to one another. St. Olaf faculty and staff operate primarily through email, expecting a constant connection to the Internet. The average St. Olaf student might receive 30-40 emails per day, disregarding those unfortunate members of stolaf-extra.

When I no longer had a phone, I learned rather quickly how dependent I am on technology. Apple exploits this: They knew we were hooked the moment they released the first iPod. For our generation, the newest and techiest is the best. We are quick to judge peers who still use flip phones or phones with actual keys.

So it’s safe to say that when my contract with Verizon is up, I will be getting the new iPhone. Do I need a fingerprint scanner? No. Can I tell if my phone is working faster? Not really. Will it eventually break? Probably.

But what can I do? I’m addicted.

Kathryn Haggstrom ’14 is from Omaha, Neb. She majors in English with an Africa and the Americas concentration.

Image by Emma Johnson