Every diehard Sex and the City fan knows that Carrie Bradshaw’s most tenuous relationship is the one she has with technology.
It took five seasons before Carrie went wireless on the prolific HBO series, and it was only because a very pregnant Miranda bought her an emergency cell phone. This is a woman who famously preferred to use New York City pay phones, willingly holding a greasy handset next to her rouged cheek. She notoriously screened her calls, never answering on the first, second, or third ring. And when Samantha handed Carrie her first generation iPhone in the 2008 movie, the sex columnist took one look at it, utterly perplexed, and scoffed, “Alright. I don’t know how to work this,” before shoving it back into her friend’s hands.
Meanwhile, her own phone, a pink Samsung flip, was being held together by grey gaffers tape. According to the film’s DVD commentary from star and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker, it was meant to imply that Carrie was still using the same, Swarovski-encrusted phone from the series… more than five years later.
This is a woman who famously preferred to use New York City pay phones, willingly holding a greasy handset next to her rouged cheek.
Carrie Bradshaw is many things: a published author; an early fashion influencer; a newly minted podcaster; and a semi-OK friend. But tech-savvy she is not. So it makes perfect sense that Carrie, now in her mid-50s, would still be clinging to outdated tech. It’s the devil she knows.
In the first episode of And Just Like That, HBO Max’s continuation of Sex and the City, Carrie is seen using a BlackBerry Key2, which hit the market in 2018. As some viewers pointed out, how could Carrie Bradshaw, an early adopter of late ’90s Apple aesthetics, own an Android?
However, I couldn’t help but wonder: How could she not?
Carrie has never been a fan of cool, new tech. She’s tech agnostic. To her, tech isn’t an accessory — that’s what shoes are for — but rather a necessary evil. In the 2001 episode of the original series, “My Motherboard, Myself,” Carrie’s ’98 Apple PowerBook G3 laptop crashes. She brings her defunct hardware to Tekserve (RIP, thank you for saving my 2011 MacBook Pro), hoping for a miracle. “When was the last time you backed up your work?” the tech specialist asks. She looks confused and then responds, “I don’t do that.” (She doesn’t back up! This is not a woman who knows how to access the Cloud.)
Later in the episode, she ruthlessly rejects Aiden’s gift: a shiny new, blue iBook G3. It has a handle, like a purse. Carrie is not amused. She doesn’t want this laptop; she wants her laptop, the one with the fried hard drive. “I don’t even know how to use that,” she bites back. “I have my own system, and it works just fine.”
The thing is Carrie holds onto her devices for dear life, until they disintegrate in her hands or she throws them into the ocean. In And Just Like That, Carrie is seen typing away on her 2013 MacBook Pro (girl, I hope you’re backed up because you’re playing with fire). There are visual scuff marks on the machine’s dented aluminum shell.
In a 2017 interview with Vogue, Parker, a longtime BlackBerry devotee, was asked how her character would fare with modern tech. “My guess is [Carrie] would have held onto her BlackBerry as long as she could before the phone company encouraged an ‘upgrade,'” she said. But then she made a peculiar observation, adding, “She would purchase an iPhone and use its most limited features: email, text, call. Most reliable on its call feature.”
SJP was close. Carrie actually does own an iPhone in And Just Like That. (Yes, she owns a BlackBerry and an iPhone.) She’s seen whipping out her iPhone 8 — originally released in 2017 and currently decorated with an “I Voted” sticker and strips of pink tape — at the brunch table in the opening scene of the first episode. But she’s not texting, calling, or emailing; she’s Instagramming a passerby’s fierce, fashion-forward look. After taking a video for the ‘gram, she slips both of her phones back into her designer purse.
The question now becomes: What does Carrie need with two phones? Well, to me, it’s relatively simple.
Carrie Bradshaw uses her BlackBerry Key2 as her primary device. She probably likes the tactility of the keyboard. It’s a familiar sensation for a writer, the feeling of your fingers hitting the keys. And Carrie isn’t trying to adapt to a touchscreen so much as have a device that adapts to her needs. She’s seen texting on her BlackBerry, and on her home screen you can see this is her main hub of communication — her contacts, her emails, her texts, and her call logs.
Credit: James Devaney/GC Images
As for her iPhone 8, this is most likely the device she uses to update her social media account(s). With the weekly newspaper column now a relic of the past, Carrie is growing an online community through platforms like Instagram, where she updates her feed with the people and fashion that inspire her. And let’s be real: She still doesn’t know how to use an iPhone. She just knows how to use it for this one thing. That’s all she could be bothered to learn. My theory is that she upgraded to the iPhone 8 in 2017 but absolutely hated it. So she bought her BlackBerry in 2018 (she needed the keyboard), and just like that she became the reluctant owner of two phones.
Each device serves different purposes, which, in retrospect, makes sense for her character. It’s not about being counterculture; it’s about convenience. She doesn’t want to sit there, thumbing through pages of apps to find the one she needs. This keeps things easy.
Credit: HBO Max
Truthfully, the entire discourse around why Carrie should or shouldn’t have the latest iPhone is null and void because Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t care about technology. She doesn’t want the newest model of any device. Pro means nothing to her. An upgrade is truly the last resort. To Carrie, a device doesn’t make somebody cool or fashionable, and she’s never been one to cultivate an aesthetic around a singular accessory, tech or otherwise. Carrie’s appeal as a fashionista is that she wears whatever she wants and somehow, someway makes it work for her.
You can wear anything as long as you do it with confidence. The same can be said for your phone. Android, iPhone, flip phone (they’re back, you know) — it doesn’t matter. Tech trends are ephemeral; style is forever.