We never really think about losing our smart phone because it is never supposed to happen to us. It seems as if we only have a 5% chance of losing a phone based on most statistics.
I was walking to the train the other day and had my phone on a belt case. As the train approached, I went for my phone and it was gone. At that point my mind experienced a type of parallax effect, where a level of disorientation overtook me.
I decided to retrace my steps back to my home. Part of me was looking at the ground and part of me was mulling over the options of how to best proceed if I could not find my phone. As I approached my home, I kept thinking, “oh, it must be on the steps.” When none of these magical thoughts converted into reality, I decided to act.
I logged into my iCloud account and went into Find my iPhone. It pinged my phone and saw the geolocator find it traveling on a highway away from my home. It prompted me to send a text to the phone which I asked for the person to call my home number for a reward. I then called AT&T to cancel the phone. While I felt great that I could track the phone, it also highlighted the helplessness that nothing could be done about it.
After a few hours, I decided to do a remote wipe of the phone, which worked perfectly. Not having a phone highlighted my dependence on the many applications that I use every day. This heightened my situational awareness as I tried to project on a future using existing information that I did not have.
I walked to a local AT&T store and purchased a replacement phone. After logging into iCloud, all of my contacts, calendars, mail settings and bookmarks appeared within one minute. Walking out of the store, I was able to immediately interact with my data and become productive. When I hooked up my phone to my laptop and synchronized with iTunes, all of my applications were clustered into groups, alarms and third party mail settings configured. Within eight hours my phone was back to the way it was with very little effort.
What this whole empirical experience demonstrated was the credibility of iCloud and that having an integrated digital platform developed by Apple actually exceeded expectations. It reduced my iPhone to a hardware platform that can be replaced (an expensive platform) and that my data and all my customized settings were saved in the cloud and made my new phone my old phone (except now I have a 4S with 4G data transfer).
Maybe we are actually progressing on cloud based storage and retrieval.