The almost ubiquitous sound of the xylophone generated by iPhones will make an entire bus or train check their pockets to see if their phone is the one that is ringing. This is due to the fact that we all use the same ringtone.
This comes into sharp contrast with the a long gone, colorful age where the personalized ringtones were kings. This has more to say about us as people, than of technology itself.
In the late ‘90s and the middle of the 2000s, existed another ever present sound, namely Nokia’s ringtone. A sad fact that it was mocked on the show Trigger Happy TV, as it was an original score composed in 1902.
Luckily, more customizable versions have risen in those times. One only has to remember the Nokia Composer software made available for the Nokia 3210 and 3310. This little program could help you recreate songs in a bleep format by just using the keypad on the phone.
This was even a big business, as you could download these ringtones by text. According to the Billboard, the ringtone sales globally have yielded around 4.5 billion dollars.
It was because of the marketing of the Motorola Rokr phone that has made Steve Jobs appalled enough to inspire him to create the iPhone in 2007.
Despite the fact that the iPhone allowed you to download ringtones, songs and such musical elements easier, it has also caused the death of ringtones for about two solid reasons.
Firstly, the advances in the communication potential of the phone has led to a decrease in the average time we spend on the phone making calls. According to reports from 2004, an average user would spend 227 minutes making calls per month. As of last year, the minutes per month count has dropped to 182. We mostly use text and WhatsApp in these days.
Secondly, and perhaps the most important part, the iPhone gave us plenty of time wasting applications that have overpowered the entertaining potential of the mere Nokia Composer. We had games, music and an entire pool of applications we could waste time with.
As of 2014, Imperial College researchers have investigated the idea of making phones ‘’ours’’. According to them, acquiring and collecting contacts, videos, photographs and various bits of information are the things that make the phone to unique to one user.
According to one subject during a study, he asked the researches to look at two phones, namely his own iPhone 4S and another 4S. They would be identical at first glance but once turned on the differences would be quite visible.
The point in this is that we all carry with us the same rectangle shaped devices which make use of the same ringtone but once you start its display and search inside it, the differences will start surfacing.