On Monday morning, I dropped my iPhone in the toilet. The logistics of that exchange involve sweatpants pockets and a toilet placed too near to the sink, but please don’t visualize the specifics. No one needs that. Let’s just acknowledge that it was a less than ideal start to the week.
After the phone ignored my pleas and a day spent in a bowl of rice failed to resuscitate it, I opened my MacBook, found out I had an upgrade available, added the same iPhone model to my cart, and had it on my doorstep by the end of the day. Click-click. Ding-dong. And done.
During this process, not once did I think about a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. Not once. And look, I’m not an Apple snob. I didn’t even know there was an Apple launch event happening this week. Actually, I didn’t even know they still did those. But I was always going to buy an iPhone. Why? Because I’ve used different variations of iPhones for over a decade. I even remember owning an iPhone that curved in the back and fit in my hand like a soft pebble. I’ve almost always owned an iPhone. And it appears that Apple now owns me.
People may argue for or against Apple products based on their merits, but frankly, that’s irrelevant. Like so many others, I’ve remained loyal to Apple, not because they so clearly dominate their competition, but because my mind has been melded to their operating system. When the new phone arrived, I had a new background, all my old apps and contacts, even my 2,500 photos (way too many, I know) back on my device in less than ten minutes. What’s more, I knew how to make that happen. I didn’t even need the help of the assistant AT&T sent to my door — though he was the nicest guy.
Speed and efficiency are king. And where Apple knocked the ball out of the park, Amazon caught the ball in the outfield stands, tossed it up, and hit it out of the stratosphere. Because after setting up my new iPhone during lunch, I ordered a case and screen protector on Amazon. Those arrived in my mailbox before dinner.
Contrast this with a different product I order from a non-Amazon website a few days ago. When the site estimated a delivery date an entire ten days away, my immediate thought was, “What could they possible be doing this week to prevent them from getting me what I want?” If you think I sound like an impudent child whining about delivery delays, you can’t imagine how quickly and without sympathy my wife shut down these complaints during dinner.
But that’s what Amazon has done to me. I expect free 2-day shipping. That type of speed no longer merits my amazement. It’s now the base level of acceptable. And that’s exactly what Apple and Amazon have done — they’ve redefined our expectations. I expect a phone that already fits within my operating model for how a phone should work. I expect packages and products to arrive on my doorstep within 48hrs. This is just the world in which I live.
It’s difficult to root against companies that raise the standards of their competitors. There’s a reason all smartphones look like iPhones. And Amazon has consistently made it easier to buy what I need and get it when I want it. It’s this type of meritocracy that makes capitalism great.
But will there be a day when my codependency on mega-companies will come back to haunt me? Will I eventually regret giving all my money to two of the largest corporations to ever exist? I don’t know. But what I do know is that self-awareness matters — that understanding what these companies are doing to our minds is the only way to retain a sliver of autonomy. We’re feeding a two-headed beast, whether we like it or not.
I want to say that next time I need a new phone I’ll try a Samsung Galaxy. I want to tell you that I’m going to take a journey to a brick and mortar shop for old time’s sake. But most likely I’ll continue to live my life as a corporate lackey — where selfies and same-day delivery rule the day. Because if convenience is king, I’m already a serf.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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