Love is in Stor(age): A Girl and Her Phone

“This line is for people with reservations, that line is for walk-ins. But you still need a reservation for the walk-in.”

My road to iPhone 7 may as well have been an episode of Portlandia. Even though I was completely aware I would leave empty-handed and annoyed, I walked into the store on Colorado Avenue in Pasadena the day Apple’s newest release went on sale.

“That literally doesn’t make any sense.”

I had been with my iPhone 5 (non-S, 16 gigabytes, and extremely high-maintenance, as I was constantly deleting photos. I was the poster child for Apple’s latest campaign, where picture-perfect moments were ruined by a lack of storage) for three years. Towards the end of its lifespan, it wasn’t an iPhone; it was just a phone, and I could not wait to dump it.  

Joseph, in his blue t-shirt, was unfazed by his faulty logic. He shrugged, and said, “order it online.”

I have T-Mobile, which means that I cannot sign up for Apple’s upgrade plan on the internet; I must do so in-store. I get a lot of flak for having T-Mobile, but I spent 10 months abroad, had unlimited—though 2G speed—data, and had a great time, mate, so keep laughing.

Next year is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and speculations are that Apple is going to release something completely new in its honor. I decided the upgrade plan was crucial. iPhone 7 is already expensive, and what if I can 3D print or something with the 2017 model? The “program” (an appropriate name for Apple’s already monopolistic regime) also gives me the opportunity to change carriers whenever I want.                                                                                                           

Naturally, the 128 gigabyte iPhone 7 Plus I so coveted was out of stock nearly everywhere: Santa Monica, Victoria Gardens … I even braved The Grove. Meanwhile, my parents back home in Chicago were loving the hopelessly romantic iOS 10. [Dad has sent heartbeats.] [Sent with fireworks.] I threatened to leave the family group chat.

Stop sending me videos of the dog, I do not have storage for this. What good is your digital handwritten letter, Mom, if I can’t even see it? After class one day, I had six missed calls from Dad and urgent sounding text messages. My parents were almost as eager to receive digital kisses from me as I was to send them. Or maybe they just got tired of my complaining. In any case, they had located a rose gold 7 Plus in Chicago, and the decision to purchase had to be made quickly. Naturally, I pounced.

Take this with a grain of salt: I didn’t have touch-to-unlock until two weeks ago, but I am completely sprung for iPhone 7. To start, Instagram looks great on the Plus’s large display, the battery life can easily span two days, and – thanks to the dual camera action – everything but my pores looks incredible in photos. And I haven’t even gotten to the haptics yet.

iPhone 7 gives users three “levels” of haptic feedback, a feature most noticeable when pressing the virtual home button. Because the phone is waterproof, the 7’s home button isn’t actually a button at all; it just feels like it is. The first level is a faint tap, while whereas the third is comparable to those of older models. I was on level one for a while—I liked its subtleness—until a friend’s boyfriend said I “had to get on level three.” He was right.

I didn’t even realize how weak level one was until I upgraded to level three: The iPhone 7’s third level communicates to its users through booms, knocks, and thumps. Older iPhone models vibrate and buzz—like when one zooms or swipes too far and the phone can’t complete the request—which always stressed me out. iPhone 7 gives a gentle reminder, pleasant tocks and clicks that are actually useful and even make even my mistakes enjoyable.

Don’t even bother passing me the aux cord. I normally only use headphones at the gym, so even with my old phone, I used Bluetooth connection to listen to music. The 7 comes with an aux cord adapter, so it isn’t necessary to replace the aux cord you already have in your car. There has been a lot of criticism considering the elimination of the aux cord. And I admit: there have been times this new feature – or lack thereof – has frustrated me.

At a coffee shop without Wi-Fi last weekend, I went to plug my headphones into my computer and realized all I had were air pods and a lightning jack. Another minor annoyance: Simultaneously charging the phone and listening to music isn’t possible unless you’ve got the right gear, though, with 7’s battery life, this hasn’t been a problem for me yet.

Finally, perhaps what gets me the most about technological obsoleteness is the waste it produces, and the lack of transparency when it comes to recycling; I don’t think Wall-E is that far-fetched.

If you’re a photo fiend like me, iPhone 7 might be your new right hand (literally—I am now a cyborg, probably because I don’t like how bulky this phone feels in my pocket). Even if I do feel like I need a pen sometimes à la “my dad’s Palm Pilot 2003,” this giant device has completely won me over.

Abigail MacCumber SC '17 is dual majoring in Media Studies and French. A former staff-writer for TSL, she is newly returned from a year in Paris and excited to be back in California this fall.

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