I upgraded and felt nothing: Viking Voices


Viking Voices guest submission: Jonathan Pauly, Portland State student


In the decade since the iPhone was first introduced, we’ve become accustomed to carrying around supercomputers in our pockets.

The tiny chip glued into your phone is likely faster than the fancy laptop you’ve only used for Microsoft Office, Spotify, and Photoshop that one time you tried to edit yourself into a photo with Carrie Bradshaw after too many glasses of wine.

The once impressive computing power used to create Toy Story and the dancing baby from Ally McBeal has been lapped several times over, and all of that innovation is now being harnessed to check tweets and look up directions to your friend’s apartment, even though you’ve been there three times and could probably remember how to get there on your own if you didn’t need a phone to show you that, yes, 39th is still right after 38th.

And yet, we keep forcing our hard-earned dollars into the pockets of Apple and our phone carriers, duped into thinking a monthly loan payment is somehow different than directly hemorrhaging money from our wallets every year. All for an expensive “new” way to check our DMs (that is exactly the same as it was last year) and some incrementally-improved selfie camera feature that tacks $50 onto the price tag.

Hey, it’s only a few extra dollars per month, right?

Thankfully, I’m here to finally set the record straight: The iPhone X (it’s the ten, don’t you dare say the name of the letter printed on the box) does all of the things that the iPhone 8 does, but with a weird screen missing a chunk that technology writers are salivating over.

Obviously, it must be so satisfying to have a phone that can be shattered on both sides again. Did we learn nothing from the one-drop death wish that was the iPhone 4?

Through the power of dastardly and effective marketing, smartphones have attained an almost messianic status. How else am I supposed to explain this profuse compulsion to get myself the new iPhone every single year without reckoning with my own weakness when it comes to the Apple publicity machine?

Next year will be more of the same. The iPhone X2 will be the best (most expensive) iPhone yet that will set out to completely change the way we think about phones, probably by getting rid of the ability to make phone calls, or by eliminating the lightning port and requiring us to use wireless chargers that won’t be included in the box.

We will trade in our perfectly functioning, yet somehow ancient 2017 phones and start the process all over again, hurtling ever faster into a meaningless capitalist abyss.

Viking Voices is an open platform, rolling submission opinion column open to all Portland State students, faculty and staff. Submissions are voluntary, unpaid and not guaranteed to be published. All submissions are reviewed by Vanguard Opinion Editor and will be minimally-edited for AP style and clarity.

To be considered, email submissions of 600 words or less to [email protected]. Include name, major and/or PSU affiliation.