While I'm no Luddite, I'm certainly no early adopter. I leave that to my techie husband for whom having the latest and greatest technology is sometimes a job requirement. My needs for a phone prior to moving here: it had to make and receive calls, send text messages (SMS), and receive and send email. If it can browse the web and check Facebook too, so much the better. But not necessary. Most of my friends have iPhones and have done their best to convince me that I should get one too, but I've never felt a burning desire to possess one (or have it possess me?).
Here in Macau, there are so many things that I never knew I needed. After a week, I could see the language barrier was going to be a way bigger deal than I previously thought. Particularly when it comes to getting around. It's a small place... there's no way I could get so lost I couldn't be found again, but the aggravation involved when traveling with kids means that if there's an easier way I should at least investigate it. And the fact that we're a quick boat ride to Hong Kong and literally steps away from the border of China means that we'll be doing some roaming outside Macau. The expats I've spoken with were happy to pull out their iPhones and show me all the great apps specific to this region that help with navigation, transportation, and communication, all for free, but only available for the iPhone. And the fact that I can use it in Hong Kong and China for nothing more than I would already pay to use it in Macau... compelling indeed. So we went to the phone shop.
And I came home the new owner of a white iPhone 4 with all the bells and whistles. And after having it for three days, it's very clear to me what the fuss was about. Especially when with the push of one button, my phone can find me and show me where the nearest bus stop is and where the bus that stops there goes. It actually feels a little bit like cheating.
10 years ago, to find my way around Japan, I had to learn to read and speak Japanese so I could read the signs and ask questions. Today I just pull up the map that shows my address in Chinese and show it to the taxi driver and he'll deliver me without having to say a word. I hate taking the easy way out. I'm stubborn like that. But I think I can get used to this. Heck, three days in and I already am! But I'm still going to take language classes. Which I'll call to arrange on my fancy new iPhone. Sweet!