There are either too many options, or not enough I was thinking as we discovered logistical chain impacts on cell phones as well.
Perhaps (or not) you are old enough to remember the single household phone on the kitchen wall? The one that had a specific ring combination for your household? The one that, if you lived in a rural area, was probably just one of a dozen on a party line. Then there were the bakelite desk phones with their rotary dials. Heavy things that featured prominently in several mysteries as the murder weapon. The kind that also featured in spy novels with a bug planted in the handset. Then there was the marvelous addition of colors of that desk phone as an alternative to the basic black.
From there the innovations which seemed really impressive at the time advanced to the princess phone (smaller footprint – ouch, just saw the pun in that) with pastel colors. Then we advanced to the cordless handset which might have resulted in fewer accidents but definitely contributed to frequent games of “hunt the phone.” Buttons to push rather than a dial, wow, those improvements kept coming.
We were in Stuttgart from 1981-1984 and moved back to the US to discover the breakup of Ma Bell, the spawning of offspring and the fact that you no longer got your phone from the phone company. Huh? was my response. We had been in Germany with a heavy duty phone complete with a unit recorder so you would know how fast you were racking up charges on your phone. Go buy my own phone? Why?
The next major impetus in phone technology was fostered by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the complete lack of infrastructure in the Former East. Average of three-four phones/town (police, hospital, bar/inn) and a waiting time of years to get in lines and get a phone. The Finnish company Nokia and the US Motorola stepped into the gap. By 1995 even the US military had “mobile” phones even though they were usually referred to as bricks – same as any hand held radio and weighted just about as much. Basis of allocation was one per commander under the European Army Med Command. Since I normally sent my out with whatever ambulance was doing long haul transport (Würzburg -> Landstuhl 3-4 hours) of patients, I rarely saw it. The cracker box radios didn’t reach all that far which isolated crew and patients for an unacceptable length of time. As you might expect, I just ignored the complaints that I wasn’t reachable at someone else’s convenience.
I will skip the intervening years – you lived through them – and jump a bit more than 25 years to today. Alex’s phone just might have been dropped a few too many times and no longer charges. It has been deemed non-repairable, as it is an iPhone 8. Noah has been on the same phone for about 5 years now and it can’t be updated nor does it hold a charge for more than a couple of hours.
The first phone was easy – the Apple store has lots and lots of options in stock. We found him a reasonable replacement. Yes, I could have saved a few $$ by ordering through AT&T, but I have no desire to extend my contract with them for another 36 months. Noah’s phone proved to be more challenging. Due to the PC/Linux based engineering software (plus gaming, let us be real here) he wanted to opt into a phone that was integrated into his chosen computer system. Due to chip shortage, his desired phone with a decent amount of memory varied in cost over $500. Purchasing now cost a lot more than being willing to wait 2-3 weeks. He, most intelligently, decided to wait and ordered it for end of year delivery.
It was a day otherwise where I didn’t accomplish much. Maybe 300 stitches into the final release of Tiny Modernist’s Fairy Tale series and two lengths of thread into Mandalorian. I am not bothering with pictures, you wouldn’t notice a difference. I decided that reading was a better use of my time…