Eighteen months ago, in CeX, Clapham, I bought my 5S. It was in fairly good condition – it was hard to find one without cracked glass somewhere – and it worked. It doesn’t overheat, reset itself too often or lose charge in minutes.
In the seven years before the iPhone came out, I had owned perhaps 130 mobile phones. I’d buy one, trade it, put a little cash down and get another, again and again and again. Always searching for that novelty value, knowing anything more meaningful would never surface. It was entirely devoid of purpose. Then, all mobile usage was novelty for me. I didn’t really need to be texting and calling too often, I didn’t need to play any games and I have never been a big camera user.
Then came the iPhone and in it’s effortless superiority, it killed the phone-changing game overnight. It also spawned an utter addiction in basking in its alluring glow for hour after hour every day. Instead of changing on a fortnightly basis, phones lasted longer, with the occasional switch to Samsung Galaxy or Blackberry models, until the newest one came out. My name was on that. At its worst, I had five mobile contracts at one time. Paying them off long after I’ve stopped using and sold the handset began to grate after a while.
Those wasteful days resurface only as lessons learned, remembered with no shortage of bafflement as to what the hell I was doing. I need my phone more than ever now. I have used eBay often, and my 5S holds sharp advantages here over Android phones, let alone the dying Blackberry. It is a little quicker to use, and less prone to viruses, leaving me less prone to continually worrying my data may be stolen or worse. I use my 5S to write, connect meaningfully with people and log in to websites to reorder medication, check bills, engage with online banking and play two or three games I’ve had for years and still love.
At the same time, the iPhone 7 and its derivatives hold no sway for me whatsoever. They may be a little quicker, a little bigger, a little more impressive looking if you like that sort of thing, but I’d much rather have the money saved and the knowledge that if my 5S goes wrong, it’ll cost a fraction of the £700+ an iPhone 7 would cost. The fear of smashing the screen would dissuade me from using it freely; rather than owning the possession, it would own me. Once gripped by the Diderot effect of spiralling consumption, I am free. I will never go back.