iphoneI’m among the Apple Faithful. Really, really faithful. I’ve used an Apple computer since about 1985 when the first Macintosh rolled off the line. I still have it on a shelf in the garage. It’s such an original Mac, it even has the engraved signatures of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the rest of the development team on the inside of the case. I can’t count how many Apple computers I’ve had since then — desktop models, servers, and a long parade of laptops. I’m actually Apple’s dream customer. I upgrade my software so frequently that I max out my processors before the hardware is barely out of warranty. Then I share the wealth. There are very few of my family members or my employees’ kids who haven’t been the recipients of one of my cast off Apple products.

It goes without saying that when Steve Jobs brought out the iPhone, I was the first person in line to get one. Remember those? The ones that were about the size of a house brick, but seemed so wonderfully streamlined and cool at the time? One thing I will say for the iPhone, it’s one of the few Apple products I haven’t been able to max out in record time. In fact, I’d probably still be using that old iBrick if someone hadn’t stolen it. So it was with great sadness that — beginning about six months ago — I watched my iPhone 4 start to lose it. It got slow and cranky and I could stare at the battery indicator and watch it go down a percentage point about every minute. I’ve never even managed to fill half the available memory with songs and apps. I felt like a failure even contemplating trading it in. But given that I live on freeways these days and I have no landline in Sonoma, a working phone is pretty much a requirement for me. Ask Andy, my friends, and any of my ranch hands. I set off from one place or another with a full charge and, within an hour, I’m incommunicado.  Oh, and my phone had decided it wouldn’t charge up in the car either. So if you didn’t catch me within an hour of me leaving a charging station, you just had to leave multiple annoyed messages.

Since we started living large chunks of our lives on freeways, our iPhone is our lifeline.

Since we started living large chunks of our lives on freeways, our iPhone is our lifeline.

These events brought me to the Apple Store at the local mall. And to the sad realization that the Apple world may have finally passed me by. (First of all, did I miss that turning point where you now have to line up to get into a place and give someone a huge amount of money for their products?)

Call me petty, but half the fun of buying Apple products, for me, has been wowing some kid in an Apple shirt with my huge tech cred. That era has come to an ignominious end.

Me: I’m here to buy an iPhone.

Young tech: Do you understand Apple products?

Me: [smugly] I’ve been using Apple products since the first Macintosh rolled off the assembly line.

Young tech: Yeah, they were pretty simple in those days. Do you understand new Apple products?

Me: I have an iMac laptop and a large Mac workstation — I must have had dozens through the years.

Young tech: Most people today do their computing on iPads or iPhones.

Me: [getting progressively deflated] Well, I bought my husband an iPad for Christmas.

Young tech: Can you use it?

Me: Well, I could if I wanted to…

Young tech: I better get someone over here to help you set up your new iPhone. Do you have everything backed up?

Me: Yup, all backed up to the laptop at home.

Young tech: How about the Cloud. You should have backed up to the Cloud.

Me: Uh, the Cloud? I never really used that. I thought it was just for storing your music.

Young tech: Yeah, I better get someone to help you set up your phone. Well have to do it the slow way since you aren’t backed up to the Cloud.

Me: [ooohh]

Young tech: [patting my hand]: It’s okay. It’ll actually be a good thing that we can transfer your phone the slow manual way. It’ll be easier for you to catch on.

So there it is. Kids today are in the Cloud while I’m still hooking machines up with wires and cables.

I'll have to start buying on-line. Where no one knows you're a dog. Or old.

I’ll have to start buying on-line. Where no one knows you’re a dog. Or old.