x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Quest for the elusive iPhone

Adverts scream at us to buy the iPhone 4, but the shops are sold out.

The adverts scream: "Buy me! I'm great! Girls will like you!". The marketing terms are probably more subtle, but you get the gist. On billboards flanking the roads, lining the aisles of the malls, and in every newspaper and magazine; the assault is relentless.

Naturally, having been exposed to such aggressive commercial tactics for three decades now, I've become almost totally immune, impermeable to marketing campaigns unless they're for products I really do want anyway (and just needed reminding).

But, inspecting my heavily abused four-year-old mobile phone, currently sporting only 40 per cent of working buttons and about as co-operative as a whining child on a long car journey, perhaps it's time I considered a change.

And, despite being unaffected by advertising, I think that perhaps it wouldn't be too bad to inspect the gadget winking at me from every single poster, this "iPhone 4" thingamy.

After all, it does look cool, people do seem to like it (not that this should ever, ever effect decision-making) and, given that it's now into its fourth generation, I can't possibly be considered among those tedious "early adopters".

It took me five years of cursing the various faults of a series of non-Apple MP3 players before eventually giving up and heading to the iPod, and it's a tradition I intend to stubbornly maintain.

"Sorry sir, sold out," is the cheery response in every shop in every mall; shops plastered in posters for the very product they don't have in stock.

While hunting for its fancier replacement, my wheezing phone draws its last breath, no doubt a response to adulterous intentions. One thing quickly becomes clear: an iPhone 4 might be out of my grasp, but I must buy "a" phone instantly. Who knows how many spam texts I've already missed.

In a flash of rebellion, I purchased the cheapest handset I can find. For 100 dirhams, I've got something about as far removed from the iPhone as humanly possible, a phone that doesn't so much have a touchscreen, but more of a hit-it-and-hope-something-happens interface.

Take that, The Man. In your face, marketing executives in glass-walled offices littered with complicated swivel chairs. I win.

It is, unfortunately, rubbish. Within a day I've sent wrong texts and cancelled right calls thanks to cardboardish buttons too small for my chunky digits.

And, of course, while I battle design faults seemingly put in place solely to infuriate, the adverts for the unavailable iPhone 4 still litter the roads, aisles and back pages, only this time with an extra teasing glint.

Apparently deliveries are coming.

I haven't checked. Honestly.