Tuesday, August 03, 2010

IPhone Consumerism

A small lineup of 20-30 people wait for their chance to buy an IPhone, at the Apple store in Market Mall, Calgary.

It's hard to know where to start.  The whole fan-person, lining up for gadgets topic is so broad and full of side issues we could be here for days.

As a technologist I love gadgets and electronics in general, however this perpetual culture of buy and re-buy as a means of keeping our economy going is something to think about.

Most Technology tends to roughly follow Moores law, where price, speed, and functionality tend to radically improve every 18 months or so.  In some cases manufacturers are getting into one year cycles.

This is both good and bad for the consumer. If you have the means and the interest you can line up every year or so and get a great deal of satisfaction out of the next version.  If you don't have the means, you quickly get left behind.  Your 4 year old flip phone is a key status marker out in the wild.

I remember asking a Rogers Sales Person about why they lock people into 3 year plans when the Phones are only desigined for a much shorter life span. (Both feature wise and in terms of break resistance.)   She stared at me for a good five seconds like I had just asked for sex, then recited the talking point about how great it is to upgrade in the second year.  You should see that "loyalty price" spreadsheet, it's huge.

If you get tired of waiting in that line-up there's a Cookie's By George right around the corner.  Two rich gooey chocolate chip cookies for $3.  There is no Moore's Law for cookies, they'll always be as good as they get.  But picture this, a three year contract requiring you to eat a certain number of cookies in order to get an overall reduced price.

Reprinted from The Last Cut is the Cheapest Please recommend this post

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