I remember John Gruber talking about the iPhone on The Talk Show a few years back – about never having to be bored again, no matter where one finds oneself. Joe Hollier points to the importance of boredom as a space in which creativity can flourish.
The recent performances of the twitteropera in Basel and Zürich brought home to me some cultural differences regarding smartphones. The Swiss appear to hold back a little more than what I’m used to in Copenhagen, both regarding the technology itself and the large international corporations behind it. I think I’ve seen one old-fashioned flip-phone in CPH during the last few years, whereas in Zürich there are many that consciously choose a non-smart mobile.
I was wondering if there might be some inverse correlation between reliance on mobile phones and the degree to which a society provides a solid infrastructure that people can rely on for their basic needs. The mobile phone isn’t as crucial in Switzerland as it is in developing countries where the cellular network is the only form of connectivity available. For refugees it might be their single most important possession, as a recent BBC video made clear.
Make no mistake, smartphones are still pretty widespread in Switzerland, as the above photograph of a morning ride in a Zürich tram clearly shows – it’s just that there are a number that express reluctance in embracing the smartphone revolution.