A ‘sheep society’?
Back in 2006, there was a seemingly infinite choice of mobile phones. The Sony Ericsson W850i Walkman was my means of mobile communication. A sliding device, possessing an MP3 player, and, for its time, sufficiently antisocial speakers, but most importantly – it was festooned with luminous orange buttons! Walkmans proved popular to those who enjoyed disrupting the general public, forcing passers-by to enjoy their latest ‘tunes’.
Even though Sony’s Walkman range offered a sound proposition to music on the move, amongst my peers they were somewhat of a rarity. In 2006, at the tender age of 13, the varied assortment of mobiles owned by my contemporaries was huge. Many owned Blackberrys, phones that were so complicated you needed comprehensive computer coding knowledge simply to navigate the contraption. Also popular, the memorable LG Chocolate and Motorola Razor, and phones harder to recall, devices like the Game Boy lookalike - T Mobile Sidekick 3.
Browsing round a Carphone Warehouse was an adventure, you’d be clueless as to whether the phones would slide, swivel, flip or levitate. But, on 29th June 2007, the mobile phone industry was historically changed. Enter the Apple iPhone. A button free touchscreen device that offered a revolutionary interface. Ergonomical, innovative, minimalist – it worked. The demise of competitors’ products quickly followed. Today enter a phone store, and the assistant will politely ask – ‘Will it be an iPhone 6 or 6s sir?’ To buy anything else is inconceivable. Objectively, is the iPhone a superior product to its counterparts? Or, are we blindly following like sheep?
In Shakespeare’s county, where I reside, a leisurely stroll through the quaint, historic market town of Stratford upon Avon will swiftly highlight something. Amidst the bustling hoards of enthused Japanese and American vacationers, you will notice something about the passing vehicles. Every other car is a Range Rover! And, I’m not talking poverty spec models from the early noughties either. Fully loaded - £80,000 plus Range Rovers are everywhere.
Admittedly this is not the cheapest place to live, situated smack bang in the middle of the country means it’s the ideal commuter town, and as a self-confessed car bore I more than appreciate outward displays of wealth. Though, I question the status symbol purchases. I suspect there’s an element of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.
Granted, the latest Range Rover is a grandiloquent testament to British engineering, a vehicle that warmly welcomes you to the aristocracy. But, if I possessed the wealth to purchase one of these mammoths, I simply couldn’t accept seeing them wherever I voyaged. And for that reason, I would procure something slightly more inconspicuous and elusive – the Volvo XC90.
Of course the iPhone is light years ahead in terms of technological ability than my Sony Walkman. But, I admire the diversity and character of the old phones. And yes the Range Rover is undoubtedly one of the best cars for everyday driving – but life just seems a tad drearier when everyone possesses the same gadgets and cars, regardless of how capable they may be.
Today my chosen device for communicating – the iPhone of course. Baaaa.