For many reasons, I never thought that I’d buy an iPhone. When the original model first launched ten years ago today, it was far too expensive. At $599, it would have been the single-most expensive thing I had bought in my 17 years alive and I certainly didn’t have that kind of cash on hand to invest in something that didn’t have wheels.
Its many new features, while cool, seemed unnecessary and unproven. Sure, I wanted a phone with a camera, a real mobile browser and a new-fangled touchscreen, but my no-name flip phone did the job just fine. Really though, this was just an excuse that I swallowed to hide that I didn’t have enough money to buy an iPhone.
So, color me surprised that in less than five years following the debut of the first iPhone, I had finally caved and purchased my first iPhone, the iPhone 4S. Then two years after that, I bought my second iPhone, the iPhone 5S.
For all the reasons that I held off investing in an expensive smartphone, what I failed to consider was the kind of money-sucking, obsessive precedent that spurs into motion when you buy your first.
I had gone from a life without smartphones to being on a streak of buying new device after new device, caught up in small design and spec changes that seemed to promise a life demonstrably better than the days I had lived before.
First off, where did this money come from, and why had I gotten accustomed so quickly with cycling through this tech? After only a little time, the subsidized smartphone business model had wedged its way into my circadian clock of purchases. Every year, I needed a new phone or at the very least, I needed to start thinking about my next.
Ten years following the debut of the iPhone, my life as it relates to smartphone purchases has followed the same rhythm, just like so many others. But I’ve gotten smarter over time.
While I used to have no reservations about plunking down for a new device every so often, I’m now more patient. I’ve gained knowledge and I’ve studied the market. I know when it’s time for me to buy or when I should hold off.
In fact, I like smartphones a whole lot more now that I’m not obsessed with the idea of buying all of them. I’m enjoying watching those small changes take shape into something bigger (or nothing at all) from the sidelines.
I'll never forget how the iPhone spurred such a grand shift in the way that I think about phones. What's most impressive is that in a short amount of time, Apple's phone also altered the mindset behind why and how often many people around the world decided to buy smartphones in the first place.