Thursday, September 6, 2007

The iPhone Is a Grand Hu$tle

Sometimes it pays to be on the cutting edge of new technological advances. Other times, it just costs.

Apple slashed the price of its top iPhone by $200 Wednesday to bolster holiday sales, but also angered loyal customers who paid top dollar in the gadget's first 10 weeks on the market. It also updated its iPod media players, introducing a model with a touch screen and other iPhone features.

The 8-gigabyte iPhone will be $399, $200 cheaper than the same model when it went on sale in June. The 4-gigabyte iPhone, which sold for $399, will be phased out. By comparison, the new touch-screen iPods will start at $299.
So, all the hipsters and tech geeks that just had to have this thing when it dropped are looking really silly (and pissed) right now. Yes, you had the (brief) opportunity to floss with a killer app for 2 months, but was it really worth the extra $200 and countless bugs you had to tolerate in the process? I doubt it.

Like BluRay videos, BlueTooth headsets, PlayStation 3's, Xbox 360s, Motorola Razr phones, and seemingly every other "must have" gadget that dropped in recent years, this whole iPhone phenomenon was nothing more than a Grand Hu$tle. People always are willing to pay a premium, even for an unstable product "just to show other people they ain't up on this". This Kanye-ish consumer attitude is something marketers and PR people feed with omnipresent news articles, ridonculous product placement, and other ubiquitous promotions that push the human psyche toward the "I need that... Now!" impulse that defies logic.

Simply put: any moron should know to not buy the first iteration of any technological advance. If you're just willing to wait awhile, you can usually get the same product for cheaper, and in a more reliable and stable iteration. Waiting also usually ensures you aren't buying the "next big thing" that soon proves to be obsolete. Anyone who remembers such "must have phenomenons" as Betamax VCR's, MSN WebTV, ColecoVision, OS/2, eBooks, and laser disc players understands this mantra.

Just. Wait.

Of course, sometimes waiting doesn't pay off either. I personally fought the urge to give in to the iPod phenomenon for darn near 6 years. I owned some smaller, cheaper MP3 players that didn't work well and eventually I realized I needed to just fork over the $249 for the Video iPod. Reluctantly, I gave in and became a cord-carrying member of the Apple Evil Empire™. In doing so, I finally understood why everyone is so fanatical about iPod in the first place. The iPod Video is the consummate "killer app": Easy to use, well designed, and customizable. I finally felt like a member of the "in-crowd".

I've been more than happy with my purchase, but lo and behold, Steve Jobs and Co. just found another way to make me second-guess that decision.
Also Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled updated iPods, including the version with a touch-sensitive screen, built-in wireless Internet access and a Safari Web browser. Unlike an iPhone, it can't make or receive phone calls. The iPod Touch allows users to download songs wirelessly, and, eventually, will let people sample and buy digital tunes from any Starbucks in the United States that offers Wi-Fi Internet access.

The iPod Touch is less than a third of an inch thick and can be used for storing photos, music, videos and other digital data. It features the same 3.5-inch, touch-screen display as the iPhone, on which light finger touches allow the user to scroll through menus, and two fingers are used to resize pictures.

An 8-gigabyte iPod Touch will cost $299. A 16-gigabyte version will cost $399.
Well ain't that a 'B'? So now, despite waiting 6 years and buying the latest and greatest King of All iPods (at the time), my 40GB iPod Video is now about as relevant as a Members Only jacket.

You just gotta love the sheer nerve of Steve Jobs, with his iconic black mock neck and smart guy glasses. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll just wait another 6 years till this iPod Touch drops to $99.

iPhone now $200 cheaper [Seattle Times]

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