iPhone fear and loathing

April 4, 2009, 5:06 PM UTC

The iPhone was charging. Refined, introverted, mysteriously chilled, my new $200 tile of technology lay supine on a side table, gulping power from the wall.”

So begins an essay entitled “I Hate My iPhone,” set to appear in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Written by Virginia Heffernan — a former TV critic for Slate and a lovely stylist — it meanders for a bit before it gets to heart of the matter:

“At 4 in the morning, I was in bed, fighting rage. I couldn’t stop thinking about that device’s tarty little face and those yapping ‘apps’ you can download for it. The whole iPhone enterprise seemed to require so much attention, organization, explanation, praise, electricity. I know — I know: in the morning, Apple’s latest miracle machine would fill my palm with meaning and magic. So why couldn’t I contain my annoyance? I had no new-thing excitement. It dawned on me: I hated my iPhone.” (link)

Heffernan and her editors probably thought she had hit on an original idea. But the “I hate the iPhone” theme is as old as the device itself. In fact, Tanner Godarzi published his “3 Reasons I Hate The iPhone” in Apple Matters on June 15, 2007 — two weeks before Apple (AAPL) released the first model. And CNet.com ran its video “Top 5 reasons to hate the iPhone 3G” two days before the iPhone 3G went on sale.

Other smartphones get their share of attention, but the iPhone seems to stir deeper emotions.

This being the Internet, the Top 10 List is the most popular form for expressing one’s feelings — positive or negative — about anything. Run a Google search and you’ll find pages and pages of Top 10 iPhone Hate lists. The No. 10 reason on one is “Stunning hypocrisy.” No. 1 on another is “It’s trying to kill me.”

But there are other ways to let out your iPhone fear and loathing. Someone registered hateiphone.com and invited visitors to “join thousands of people just like you who want to discuss iPhone.” More successful is ihatemyiphone.com, which presents visitors’ iPhone stories in little cartoon bubbles, sorted by date, random, or “most hated.”

“Hating your iPhone is normal,” say the site’s owners. “You are not alone. Telling us about your hate will make you feel better. That’s a promise!”

Currently holding “most hated” honors among the sites’ 51 pages of dread is this post by “Paddy”:

“I loathe my iPhone. I left it in hotel rooms throughout Europe hoping someone from housekeeping would steal it because then I wouldn’t feel as guilty as I would if I’d given it away, thrown it off a bridge or simply stopped using it … No-one would steal it.” (link)

Virginia Heffernan found a better way to get rid of hers. By the end of her NYTimes Magazine piece, she has returned the dread device to the AT&T (T) store and left, to her evident satisfaction, with a new Research in Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry “and money to spare.”