Part of the morning commute ritual of late has been the slightly tense moment at the platform when a man realises everybody else has his or her phone in his or her hand, deeply engaged in remote social intercourse. The look of embarrassment on his face is forced away, when, forcing a wry smile, one hand slides into the trouser pocket of an off-the-peg suit and emerges with a black iPhone 3G. Social disaster averted, until he tracks the gaze of fellow commuters to the billboard advertising the phone for €49.
It is still sickeningly true that the iPhone is something of a putative status symbol amongst a certain type of man; in simply showing the phone, men seem to create for themselves membership of some exclusive (!) club, populated by cognoscenti and people who need email and web on the go, but don’t feel the love for RIM’s corporate, slightly staid Blackberry.
Truth is, it’s all total bullhonkey, as anyone seeing me pick up my iPhone a week after launch date proved. As I sprinted along Henry Street to the Carphone Warehouse, it would have been tough to imagine a less cool customer. Hundreds of pounds of flesh hurtling with its own momentum to a bloody mobile phone shop was not my finest, most nonchalant hour. But when I pulled it out of my pocket on Monday morning, I was James Bond, Steve Jobs and the Rat Pack all rolled into one.
How is a feeling like this created, and how has the corporate brand of Apple encouraged so many thinking sensible people to fall for the idea that this most available of gadgets imparts an exclusivity? I’ll cover my thoughts on this later this week.