Minimalism vs New Technology

I was fortunate to receive an iPad this Christmas! Then, a couple of weeks ago, I replaced my cellphone with an iPhone.

I absolutely love both items. But my new ownership is causing me to reflect on consumerism.

By owning such items, am I giving in to consumerism and commercial advertising messages?

It’s not a clutter issue, because I gave away two electronic items, and since I replaced a phone, I actually have less items now. But am I guilty of succumbing to the latest fad?

It’s true I probably wouldn’t have bought both items on my own. If I were traveling the world with a single suitcase, I think I could make do with just a laptop computer and my iPhone. But I still have a desktop computer. The iPad lets me get online much faster than my old computer, and with greater portability. I had planned to purchase a laptop but can postpone that purchase now for several months at least. The iPad will replace my Kindle when it wears out, since the iPad lets me read my Kindle books via an application. I can do online banking, watch movies and exercise videos, even do word processing (like this blog post!)

My iPhone has similar functionality, only smaller and therefore even more portable. I can check email, read a book while waiting in line, look up driving directions, etc. So far I am finding that this technology makes my life easier and more organized. So it has streamlined my life rather than complicating it further.

So what do you think? Can new gadgets have a place in a minimalist lifestyle? Or am I just rationalizing the acquisition of a shiny new toy?

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8 Responses to Minimalism vs New Technology

  1. ahmward says:

    Yes, they definitely have a place because of your occupation and where you live. You are not a minimalist living away from society in a rural place. You are a minimalist trying to streamline your possessions to fit with your urban lifestyle. This latest fad is one that will last a long time. I cannot think back to when I did not have a smart phone. I use it for so many things to make my life more efficient. My husband is probably one of the few who does not like his iPad (I don’t have one) because it is so much easier for him to type on a desktop. He was given the iPad because it could contain all of the materials needed for the board meetings he attended. No more carrying reams of paper or a board not all having the same documents.
    Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy.

    • Thank you , that does put my mind at ease. I found out I can download notes for a monthly meeting I attend, instead of receiving a packet in the mail. That will save on postage and paper!
      There is a keyboard accessory available for iPad – your husband might give that a try. My brother has that and really likes it.

  2. I think that yes there is a place for these and actually they make you more efficient. There are issues with sometimes connectivity on the run but if you hit a hot spot, you can do a lot with your iPad and also your iPhone. (My iPhone hated me so I migrated to Android and I have to take it in because doing something funky). I know what you mean by working off an old computer but often you can just make the older desktop faster by taking it into someplace like Staples and putting more RAM and a larger hard drive. Thus you are giving your older electronics machine more life, being less wasteful and it helps your online performance. What’s really interesting is that you can take your machine to Staples and they will check it out for FREE- something I need to do now that I have most everything backed up to an external hard drive. In fact.. install a larger but not overly large internal hard drive and buy a 500 gb external for all your files and it can go anywhere you go and thus make your portability easier. I have both portable ones and ones that are really large and not so portable.
    You can make that older computer last a lot longer. Mine has outlived it’s expiration date and I am keeping it backed up all the time and pretty clean to make sure that I don’t have to buy a new machine!

  3. Sarah says:

    So wait, let me get this straight…you have an iphone, an ipad, a kindle, a desktop computer, and you’re going to get a laptop in a few months? Sounds to me like you’re definitely under the spell of shiny new toys. I don’t say this to be nasty at all, I am definitely “under the influence” at times myself, I just don’t think you should try to rationalize it. Technology can absolutely streamline your life, but there is a LOT of functionality overlap here. How many different ways do you need available to you to read books, make phone calls, listen to music, or word process?

    • Hi Sarah!
      I appreciate your perspective. No, I don’t think you’re being nasty at all. I do feel that i have too many gadgets that perform the same functions.
      I tend to get overwhelmed when I have too many of one thing and I’m feeling that now. The iphone is the most functional of all the items so that’s definitely a keeper…it functiosn as a calendar, clock phone, kindle, and ipod.
      The desktop computer will be gone if I get a laptop. I wouldn’t keep both.
      At this point I’m feeling like I would pick a Macbook pro over an ipad since the macbook has more functionality.

      I got rid of two ipod shuffles already, I’ll be getting rid of the desktop computer, and I won’t be replacing the kindle, iPad or ipod nano when they wear out. But in the meantime, I feel like I have a LOT of gadgets!! I think you’re right about shiny new toy syndrome. i’ll need to watch that impulse more carefully in the future.

      Thanks for your input! Glad to have you here on the site.

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