The iPhone 5 has officially arrived on campus. Many students have their new toys on display in classrooms and dining halls, some still with the protective plastic wrap in place. Students with the “old” iPhone 4 are debating the relative merits of the new model.
But what about those students with no iPhone at all? For them, life at USC can be inconvenient. In today’s world, it seems necessary to have Apple’s signature device.
On campus, one of the primary reasons to have an iPhone is its social component. In the freshmen dorms, for example, students form connections with new friends through apps like Snapchat and Instagram by taking pictures and sending them to one another.
Furthermore, students are expected to be accessible by email at any given moment. Clubs and professors use email and Facebook as a way to send out last minute reminders. Without a smartphone, students risk missing these reminders altogether.
Off campus, students use smartphones to look up directions and bus schedules or download coupons for restaurants and cafes. A dead battery can induce a panic attack.
To many USC students, an iPhone is an important tool. But our generation’s dependence on iPhones is not all positive. For one thing, it creates a divide between those who have the phone and those who do not.
Many companies use QR codes and mobile apps to market to clients. Those without smartphones are essentially deemed irrelevant, as they are left out of the company’s marketing plan. Political campaigns also use these tactics, and it is not fair to ignore those who cannot afford the pricey phone.
iPhones—and smartphones in general—offer countless benefits. These benefits mainly provide opportunities to engage socially, find out about discounts or the latest news no matter where you are.
People without smartphones are not entitled to many of these opportunities. The day may come when the iPhone is cheap enough for everyone to take part in the technological revolution. In the mean time, however, the USC community should not take that luxury for granted.