Modern Life

13 uses for the iPhone we did not predict 10 years ago

June 29, 2017

It’s the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone, and you know what that means: None of us have had a conversation at a dinner table for 10 years (don’t miss). The iPhone succeeded in upgrading our lives in countless ways, but here are a few we couldn’t have predicted back in the magic glory days of 2007.

1. Simplifying the process of being needy. In 2006, we had to ask a friend for help to take a poorly framed, synthetically lit photo of ourselves in the driver’s seat of our Hyundais like the Flintstones or something. Today, we can show people what we look like in the parking lot of Kohl’s whenever we please.

2. Realizing we should apparently give a damn about walking. It’s hard to imagine there was a day when we didn’t legitimately high-five each other for hitting 10,000 steps. My 5-year-old checks my wife’s step count at least twice a day; just think how much more convenient it’ll be when we can just install a chip into his heels.

3. Stalking people! Ugh, it’s like creepily driving by an ex’s house at 11:30pm five times happened a million years ago. Now you can learn what you’re missing out on in real time.

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4. Deeply simplifying vacation packing. I once packed a Walkman, four extra batteries, a shoebox of cassettes, 20 G.I. Joe comic books, The Hobbit and what history textbooks will refer to as a “road atlas” for a family Disney trip. Conveniently, I can now sedate my 5-year-old for 14 solid hours through the American South with a single game of Goat Simulator.

5. Goat simulating.

6. Obtaining all music recorded throughout the history of the human experience for basically free. First, we were forced to pay $18.99 for Tesla CDs we hadn’t previously heard. Then we stole everything we had on cassette through some kid’s dorm room. Then the music industry got mad, sued the kid and, presumably, trashed the dorm room. Three nerds let us feel like we were paying for music a little, and the music industry was like, sure, whatever, just take it. I feel like there’s a dark metaphor about consumerism in the American experience here, but I’m too busy streaming the entire Jimmy Buffett discography via a machine in my pants to care.

7. Capturing the live concert experience via piteously blurry pictures in which the lead singer is comprised of four pixels.

8. Learning about the moisture-wicking powers of rice. Seriously. Had no idea. Genius invention. Also apparently you can eat it.

9. Feeling the illicit danger of running your finger over a smashed, cracked screen and not getting cut.

10. Replacing lighters in concerts! The flashlight is a safer, convenient and more luminous means of conveying to John Mayer that you enjoy his balladry. NOTE: The following bands still use lighters: .38 Special, Kid Rock, Cypress Hill and the Doobie Brothers. Do not use your phone at these phones, or someone will shoot you in the ankle.

11. Making breakups like a million times easier. You can just stop responding, instead of the old method of turning all the lights off in your house, and hiding under the coffee table for three weeks. All the inability to hold a meaningful conversation with a partner, none of the downside.

12. Running the free world, apparently.

13. Waking up in the morning to find out that the person running the free world has just established an internet tax, war on Arnold Schwarzenegger and/or playground gossip about Morning Joe, I guess? You know what, maybe these things aren’t worth it.


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