The devices have only been around for a decade, but already they have so fundamentally infiltrated our day-to-day that for many of us, life can be broken down into two distinct eras: before and after the advent of the smartphone.
That's a reasonable takeaway from a recent Gallup poll of nearly 16,000 U.S. smartphone users which found that nearly half of respondents (46 percent) agreed with the statement, "I can't imagine my life without a smartphone."
On its surface, that’s a dramatic (and vague) statement, but answers to some of Gallup's following questions paint a good picture of the sneaky, vital and constant ways smartphones have come to shape the way we live.
Smartphone users tend to keep our phones nearby at all times; in a previous Gallup poll, 81 percent of smartphone users keep their phones nearby for the entire day, and 72 percent report checking the device hourly. Which honestly, seems like monumental restraint (writing this, I checked my phone for a text alert, to use the calculator, and just….because).
Our smartphone attachment doesn't end when the day does, either: Sixty-three percent of smartphone owners also bring their devices to bed with them.
Despite this dependence, the vast majority of respondents (70 percent) report that smartphones have improved their lives.
Taken together, that nearly half of respondents can't envision a life without their smartphones isn't too surprising. The devices have become our constant companions; we rely on them to wake us up in the morning, get us where we need to go, answer email and a thousand other things.
"The smartphone is transformative for those who use it, not only by making their lives better, but by becoming something of a fifth limb," Gallup writes.