I’ll never forget when the PS3 first came out; people were outside of gaming and toy stores for days waiting in far-reaching lines that snaked along the sides of buildings. Parking lots became warzones as people fought, were robbed at gunpoint, and even trampled to death. And this was all so people could be the first to get their hands on the next generation gaming system. New technology has a way of making people crazy; it inspires insane behavior and turns people’s “wants” into “needs”. Perfect examples of the latest pandemonium are Apple’s latest slew of products.
The IPhone 4S was the first in the new wave of recent Apple innovations to have consumers camping outside of stores. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible phone, and I’m not a “hater” because I’m an Android user, but the upgraded features didn’t seem significant enough for people who just recently purchased the IPhone 4 to fork out another $500 dollars for a marginal upgrade. The celebrity campaign for Siri aside, there didn’t seem to be too much of a difference from its predecessor. Yet, I’ve heard people say that they actually “needed” Siri, listened to coworkers justify their purchase based on the fact that a talking feature would change their lives. They seemed to forget the fact that before new release, they were scheduling appointments and looking up directions without hassle. I haven’t personally seen Siri in action, but I have heard that it is pretty remarkable; but even so, no one actually “needs” it right?
I appreciate advancements in technology like the next man; choosing the Ipad 2 over the first generation version was a no brainer for me, but there was a vast improvement in speed, display and power over the original. The Ipad 2 with retina display looks beautiful, but I’ve witnessed individuals damn near ready to throw their previous version away to get their hands on the new one. There is an inherent inferiority complex associated with older technology. Older cell phones are ridiculed, outdated laptops are laughed at, and non-HD subscribers are shunned. Advertisers play off the apparent embarrassment of not being up to speed on the latest technology, and most of us eventually give in and buy something that we may not necessarily need. It’s basically the next level of peer pressure. A friend of mine was complaining to me about his mom not too long ago. She was using an old flip phone and wanted to upgrade to something a little more hip. She pays the extra monthly amount for the phone now, but doesn’t use any of the features. We’re constantly sold on a few extra pixels in a camera; or a speed difference in laptops so miniscule that the average user will never tell the difference. And yet, we still spend the extra money anyway.
An old coworker of mine used to always clown me about my expensive cell phone bill. She would shake her head and question how I could spend so much money on a phone. I would explain that there was no way around it, and that’s just how much phones costs, but her bill was $39.99, and mine was over $100 at the time. I told her I “needed” all of the features I paid for. She just laughed and asked me to look up the number to the nearest pizza place on my cell phone. While I scrambled to prove its worth, she casually removed a menu from her drawer, and dialed the number from her work phone.