This is my iPhone 5. I carry it with me wherever I go. Its name is Lusitania – because it “sinks” with my computer (whose hard drive is appropriately named the Titanic). It is encased in a Mophie Juice Pack Air, which provides it with extended battery life, and I’ve given it a wallpaper of a photo I took myself. It contains within it my music, photos, videos, audiobooks, and apps, along with an AT&T SIM card. Apart from my fingerprints, those are the features which combined distinguish my Lusitania from the millions (upon millions) of other iPhones just like it.

So what does the Lusitania say about me? Well, not much apart from what’s said about most other iPhone 5 owners around the planet. I am capable of using the iPhone 5, I have the money to purchase Apple products, I choose to ignore similarly priced and comparable smart phones available to me, and I am in a place where there’s sufficient wireless coverage to support the iPhone. Those assumptions will be pretty much consistent wherever one goes – unless, of course, the people making the assumptions don’t know anything about smart phones or wireless coverage or status.

In places where smart phone use has become more commonplace, however, the implications of owning an iPhone 5 in particular become more nuanced. For instance, in America, the landline users call you young, the flip-phone owners (and a few hypocritical iPhone 4 owners) call you rich, the Android users call you sheep, and Blackberry users just don’t exist.

But to really understand the meaning which the Lusitania has for me, you need to look at the apps, the music, the data stored within the flash memory drive. You need to see what I use: the audiobooks I’ve downloaded, tasks I’ve written down, journal entries I’ve made, radio stations listened to, food I’ve had delivered. Like my DNA, the memory stored on my phone makes up only a tiny portion of the phone itself. Like my DNA, it is also coded in the same building blocks that everybody else’s is. And like my DNA, it is the tiny portion of the whole that makes me who I am, that lends the architecture to my life.