Gartner suggest that worldwide, one third of mobile phone sales are smart phones. In the UK and the US just over half of the sales are smartphones. I think New York must account for a huge part of that percentage in the US. It seems that most of the people you see on the street or on the subway are plugged into iPhones, and half of that amount are plugged into either Blackberries or Galaxies.
If they're not plugged into their phones, they're plugged into, and tapping away on iPads or Kindles. I did a very rough head count on the L train the other day. I reckon there were 80 people in the car, and 60 had headphones on. Around 20 were Beats by Dre. About 30 brave / stupid souls had their devices out in front of them. I grant you, you have to do that with a kindle or a iPad, but I digress. A further 8 were reading (shock, horror) books or magazines.
"So what Chris, it's the 21st century, get with it man" I see you tweet. Well, yes. Don't forget I am a total gadget boy geek, I own iThings, I have a Blackberry (yeah, don't laugh).
My point is that so called Apple Theft is responsible for 14% of crime in NYC. These guys wander around, plugged in, and with their phones out in front of them. Now it's a free world, and let's face it, you should be able to do what you want without fear of some arsehole nicking your gear in broad daylight, or in dark night time. But with those figures, wouldn't you keep your phone in your pocket?
And another thing.
I'd love to be able to use the iPad on the subway here (well, when it's not too packed, and you can get a seat). As a visitor, having MTA details available would be very useful, as would having a map of the Above World so you don't get in an harassed and in a hurry New Yorker's way. But then you hear that very soon, there'll be free wifi on the subway, and I know they have trialled this on the tube in London as well. I think it went better than they thought as it was originally just for the Olympics, but I understand that it is on and available until Christmas now. However, it seems we're going to lose one of those sacred moments, like being on a flight, where you can legitimately and understandably be off the grid. Not that being on the subway is any way a quiet thing, but at least you can not think about work or emails whilst you are serenaded by the leak from the Beats headphones of the douchebag next to you.
Then again, Jessica tells a story of how a record company executive tried to contact her offering a deal. Because she was on the underground she didn't get the message to her pager (ok, that's dating the story a bit) until she'd got back above ground and on the grid again. By the time she got the message and got back in touch, the deal had mysteriously disappeared. So if the technology had been in place back then she'd have had a deal. And I'd have been a kept man.
I guess I could sacrifice those moments of "peace" after all!
Christian Thomas is Production Director at Space Studios. He is aware of how plugged in he is.