We have seen the terrible havoc that slavish devotion to a perverted idea of religious allegiance can do, so a world in which we bow down at the altar of commercial brands may turn out to be a much better place. Let's turn our zealotry towards, for instance, Nike or Apple. We will swallow their proselytising, we'll convert to their belief system, we'll go their place of worship (ever been to the Apple Store in Regent Street in London?) and we will, in time, become self-appointed apostles. No one has murderous intent in the name of Apple.
Nevertheless, while I have a resistance to organised religion, my antipathy towards corporate hegemony may be even greater. I own an iPhone, and this column is being written on an iPad, so I am not immune to the appeal of the cult of Apple. They are, of course, aesthetically pleasing objects which define the fusion of form and function, and which inspire attachment, even affection.
The other day, I had to change my iPhone, an instrument that has been an appendage for a little less than two years. This phone had become part of me: in fact, it was me. It knew all my friends, it housed all my memories in photographic form, it would tell me where I had to be and when, and would even remind me about someone's birthday. It may have been an inanimate object, but it felt like a living organism.
Anyway, after two years of heavy-duty use, it had begun, like its owner, to show the signs of age. If dog years equate to seven human years, iPhone years must be the same as 35 human years. My iPhone had reached the equivalent of three-score-years-and-ten, and was ready to give up the ghost. Apple stand accused of designing their products with built-in obsolescence, and the battery on an iPhone can take only a finite number of charges. My iPhone found it increasingly hard to keep its charge and would pack it in always at the most inconvenient moment, which I interpreted as a form of protest, knowing that its days were numbered.
The 10 best smartphones
The 10 best smartphones
1/10 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Apple’s latest comes in two varieties: the iPhone 6 (4.7- inch screen and only 6.9mm thick) and the iPhone 6 Plus – a larger (5.5-inch) version, more suited for those with gorillasized hands. The experience remains largely the same: expect sleek, beautiful apps in a package that ties you into their ecosystem. From £539, store.apple.com
2/10 ZTE Blade L2
At only £90, the Blade is the perfect price-point for making sure your kids are safe when they leave the house. The battery lasts for 23 hours, so they can contact you easily, wherever they are. 5MP camera and a 5-inch screen. £89.99, store.virginmedia.com
3/10 Sony Xperia Z3
Anyone who wants a full PlayStation experience should at least consider this phone, which allows you to stream PS4 games from your console to the phone’s screen from November this year. Remarkably, it’s also waterproof up to 1.5m – so if you’re clumsy or just love the beach, this could be for you. From £469.99, shop.ee.co.uk
4/10 Nokia 930
The base model comes in at 32GB of storage. The main attraction to the Nokia Lumia range is a 4.5-inch ClearBlack screen with its brilliant contrast. The Microsoft Office app is among the best for any writer. For anyone who isn’t tied into Android or iOS this is a strong choice. Free on plans from £30.50/month, shop.vodafone.co.uk
5/10 Amazon Fire
Perfect for the Shazam generation you can point this phone – which works like any other Android phone – at pretty much anything and it will tell you what it is, how much it is, and where to buy it. Not for everyone, but if you’re a consumer it will likely change how you shop. Free, only on contract, amazon.co.uk
6/10 Moto G
Although it lacks the bells and whistles of the more expensive phones on the list, it’s still a great phone for its price, with access to emails, Facebook and more. Ideal for anyone who’s feeling the pinch this autumn. £90, shop.vodafone.co.uk
7/10 HTC One M8
The camera on the M8 has a special depth sensor for quicker focusing and clearer pictures. The phone itself is 90 per cent metal, so it doesn’t feel plasticy or liable to breaking. Also has front facing speakers and builtin amplifiers for those last barbecues of the season. £549.99, shop.emea.htc.com
8/10 LG G3
With its 5.5-inch screen the G3 is the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus but in an Android package. It has a 13MP camera with a laser focus, can charge wirelessly but isn’t waterproof or dust-resistant like some of the other phones on this list. £479.95, carphonewarehouse.com
9/10 Samsung Galaxy Alpha
The latest Samsung looks set to replace my personal phone. It’s got a 4.7-imch Super AMOLED screen but the main attraction is Samsung’s “Ultra Power-Saving Mode”, which turns the smart-beast’s screen into greyscale and limits the apps you can use, allowing it to run for days. From £449.99, shop.ee.co.uk
10/10 Nexus 5
Rumours of a new Google phone are rampant at the moment but their last offering, the Nexus 5, still packs a punch. The 5-inch screen is made from Gorilla Glass 3, so should resist a bunch of scratches. £299, play.google.com
In truth, the moment of demise had been coming for some time. My phone management has never been that clever, and I have occasionally found myself in the compromising position of being out and about with a dead battery and no charger. I have an iPhone4. I have let the world go by, with its iPhone5 and its iPhone6. I am not a man who is suckered by gadgetry, and I don't have to have the newest of the new. But woe betide the person who, in an Apple-governed world, doesn't keep up with latest models. Could I find, in extremis, someone with an iPhone4 charger? No, I could not. People looked at me as if I'd just asked them if they had a spare tyre for a Penny Farthing.
So my phone had to go. I remember when things were built to last. Companies took pride in the longevity of their goods. Now, they have the lifespan of a mayfly. Apple have built an evangelical devotion to their products, but the way they exploit that is really pernicious.Reuse content