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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Hang on to your purse strings

  • Smartphones provide amazing, beneficial capabilities and have become virtually essential in today's society.
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  • Smartphones provide amazing, beneficial capabilities and have become virtually essential in today's society.
    Two years ago I became one of the millions of smart phone users. I had never felt such a sense of connection and empowerment. Questions could be answered at a moments notice with just a few clicks on my phone. I can even talk to Siri, an automated voice that can answer my questions and carry on somewhat thought provoking conversations.
    Hubby complains that I'm "too connected." 
    "If I got the same attention your phone does on a daily basis, I'd be a happy man," he complains at least once a week.
    I'll be the bigger person and admit it — I have a tendency to be "over-connected." But Hubby is exaggerating just a tiny bit. There are plenty of times I put the phone away; at night when I'm sleeping...or when I'm showering....
    But that's beside the point.
    Remember when my iPhone took a dip in the salty waters off the coast of Florida in 2012? I lived without a phone, or any permanent psychological damage, for nearly three weeks. Which explains why, when my iPhone 4S went down this past weekend, I had a small panic attack.
    Hubby calmly drove me to the mobile store to "check out my options." 
    I was eligible for an upgrade of a new phone on my contract, but I was determined to stay with the exact same phone. I had heard the iPhone 5 had a new connector for charging the device. My iPhone 4S charging dock matched the various docks in my car and in the house with my other Apple devices. I needed a different phone, but I was going to be frugal.
    Not to mention we have more charging units in our house than the number of devices we currently own. I didn't want to be bothered with yet ANOTHER different charging unit. If Apple was going to play that game, I wasn't going to be played.
    "I want the same exact phone," I told the sales lady.
    "Ok, I have that one in stock. I'll go get it for you," she said.
    What? No arguing with me that the iPhone 5 has so many better features that I'd be an idiot to go with the same phone?
    "You realize that this extends your contract for another two years and you will not be eligible for another upgrade for the next 18 months?" she asked.
    There it is.
    I began my counter argument about Apple's change of the charging unit.
    "Have you guys ever heard of planned obsolescence?" she asked. "It's a practice in designing a product so it's only useful for a limited time, before becoming obsolete."
    Page 2 of 2 - She went on to explain that eventually all iPhones will have the new charger and my old chargers will be obsolete. She also talked about the lightning fast speed of 4G that all iPhone 5s come equipped with. Eventually, she said, my current phone will seem like a dinosaur, probably before I'm eligible for another upgrade.
    I heard my wallet burrow itself in the bottom of my purse.
    Hundreds of dollars and two hours later, Hubby and I walked out of the store with brand new, shiny phones. Hubby with a Samsung and me with an iPhone 5. Neither have matching chargers.
    It turns out, a new charging unit wasn't the only extra expense.
    Due to "planned obsolescence" our phones no longer fit the previous cases we had been using. The only cases available for both of our specific phones are the popular and trendy Otter Box. The cheapest one is $50.
    For another $50 I could have gotten a water proof case.
    For the time being I'll just stay away from the ocean. I'm too poor now to afford a vacation anyway!
    Thanks, Apple, for taking me prisoner.
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