iPhoneless: The Response

Matthew Alexander:

Stephen, much like Paul Miller, is attempting to explore the technological trajectory we’ve collectively chosen to follow from an intensely personal perspective. And yet, much unlike Paul Miller, Stephen has sustained his ties to the technology he relies upon for the sake of realism.
I suspect that, regardless of the negativity swirling around his experiment, Stephen’s findings will ultimately prove to be valuable to even the most staunch of his opponents. And, irrespective of how long the experiment lasts, I applaud Stephen for taking the bold step to challenge one of the most accepted and self-reliant elements of his day-to-day life.

I’ve gotten a metric crapton of feedback on my post from yesterday, and it’s been divided in to two categories.

Many people have been very supportive of this endeavor. I think there is a sizable percentage of nerds out there who realize the weight that technology has on our lives, and are uncomfortable with it at times.

Then there’s the other camp. The camp that has called me all sorts of names in emails, tweets and forum comments. Some have suggested I’m doing this just for the page views, or for some sort of self-important navel-gazing.

This group of people all point to this paragraph in my original post:

In addition to my self-imposed 12-month timeframe, I’ve got an LTE iPad mini in the mail, set to be delivered Friday. It’s my first iPad with cellular data, and coupled with the Mini’s form factor, I think it will be a decent iPhone-replacement for the times I need data when I’m not in the office or at home.

In hindsight, that paragraph really doesn’t convey what I wanted it to, so last night, I added this one:

To be clear, I’m only going to fall back on the LTE when I have to for work. Short of that, the iPad will be on Wi-Fi only.

I like how Matt put it in his post — I have to be realistic about this. The reality is that I frequently work in buildings without Wi-Fi, but where I need data to get my job done. My paycheck is more important than this experiment, so the LTE iPad is a concession to that reality. That said, I will only use the LTE when necessary; I’m not going to enable it the second I unbox the thing on Friday.

In my post yesterday, I wrote:

The iPad mini, of course, isn’t nearly as portable as the iPhone. It’ll be great for meetings and being out in the field for work, but too big to use in line at Starbucks or at a red light without looking like a douchebag. I’m counting on that factor to help this be a success.

I chose the iPad mini over the iPad for lots of reasons, but I think the size is still big enough where I will feel conspicuous using it in public, during a meal or while watching a movie with my kids. Part of my addiction to my iPhone is made possible due to the simple fact that it’s always in my pocket. The iPad won’t be. I will be leaving it in my office when I go out to lunch with people, and on my desk at home when I’m outside with the kids. The flip phone will keep me just connected enough to be able to be accessible, but not so connected that I lose touch with what’s going on around me. The iPad mini is simply a stop-gap for the times that my responsibilities require I be connected out and about.

In short, I’m not replacing my iPhone with an iPad mini that I’ll be carrying around with me everywhere I go. I’m not ditching my iPhone to simply use something with a bigger screen and a cheaper monthly bill — I am leaving mobile data behind, to every extent that I can and keep my job.

It’s been a wild 24 hours, and while I’m not going to keep up with the various threads going on around the Internet based on my post yesterday, I did want to address some of the feedback, and clarify the bit about why I will still use an iPad on LTE.