Monday, August 20, 2012

Good-bye to my Samsung Galaxy S2, and why I can't stand some iPhone fans

The Samsung Galaxy S2 was my first smartphone ever. In college, I always went with the cheapest option when it came to a phone because I didn't feel like I needed all the fancy bells and whistles of a smartphone. Of course, I got what I paid for, and some of my friends may remember the junk phone that I had senior year, the one that could only make or receive calls properly about half the time.

I still don't feel that smartphones are a necessity in my life. Sure, they eliminate the need for a cheap digital camera, but after shooting with a camera like a Fuji X10, you realize how inadequate camera phones still are (especially in low light). It's nice not having to carry around an MP3 player for music, but that's not really a lifesaver. I don't play games all that much either because smartphone games are pretty primitive still. In fact, I abhor the fact that Angry Birds and its ilk are killing the gaming industry. If we can't have games like Bioshock anymore because too many morons would rather play Zynga games, then I may have to bash a few skulls in.

Yay, my new American phone
Still, I've become quite accustomed to being able to look up bus schedules on the fly, or go on Naver maps whenever I'm lost in the city. I'll have to leave the Galaxy S2 behind when I go to America (my brother will inherit the device), and I'll be downgrading to a HTC One V on Virgin Mobile. Honestly, I'm a little sad at having to say goodbye to the one object that's been with me the most this past year.

A little irrational? Maybe.

I also wanted to comment on the whole Samsung vs Apple battle that's about to be concluded in the US pretty soon. As a Macbook user, I'm generally a fan of Apple. And I have no particular allegiance to Samsung, besides perhaps a small tinge of national pride. But many Koreans despise Samsung, a multi-national corporation that wouldn't be too out of place in a Philip K. Dick short story.

But some iPhone fans have to be some of the worst kinds of people I've met (at least online).

First, you have the classism, which can be seen in the fact that some of them BOAST about the fact that iPhones are priced out of reach for less wealthy people. Out of all the merits that a product may have, a high price should be one of the least worthy things, yet for these people, it's a badge of honour. It's as if everybody has suddenly turned into Mean Girls who judge each other by the price tags on their Coach handbags. Ridiculous.

Second, you have the artistic pretentiousness, which can be seen in the fact that some of them act as if buying something suddenly makes them Annie Leibovitz or Wes Anderson. Remember all those iPhone people who were aghast at the fact that all those unrefined and gauche Android people now could use Instagram? Creativity is not a product you can buy, nor is it a fashion style you can imitate, nor is it a social circle you can join. It requires hard work and sacrifices, and you can't just replace that daunting process with consumerism. Disgusting.

Third, you have the thinly-veiled racism, which can be seen at some of the anti-Asian or anti-Korean sentiment among some iPhone fans. Some common examples include accusations that Asians/Koreans are incapable of innovation, Asians/Koreans are sneaky copycats, and Asians/Koreans are trying to steal Apple/American jobs. Never mind that technology is based on constant incremental improvements (what some may view as "copying"), or that the iPhone itself was largely an amalgamation and refinement of previous innovations. Ignorant.

And with regards to the lawsuit... The very idea that Apple has a copyright on the touchscreen phone is ludicrous, especially since they invented neither the touchscreen nor the mobile phone! What about the 4x3 digit keypad that's still used on smartphones? What about the camera phone? The clamshell design on laptops? Who has all the copyrights to those distinct designs?

Can you tell the difference between an LG and a Samsung flatscreen TV without the logos? Or what about between a Canon and a Nikon DSLR, or an Olympus Trip 35 and a Leica M9, again without the brand markers?

To me, it just seems like narcissism of one's time. Sure, these people are aware that it'd be stupid for one computer company to have a monopoly on folding laptops, or one TV company to have a trademark on flat rectangular panels: "B-b-b-b-but... The iPhone was a big cultural revolution during MY lifetime, therefore it is somehow super-duper special and unlike any other product before and after it!"

That being said, the iPhone is a fine product and there's a good reason why it's so popular. But man, some of its users embody everything that I hate about this society.

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