So the iPhone 5 came out the other day. A lot of people care about this. I’m not among them, but I do find it interesting on a few levels. People’s obsession with this device (and any other phone really) is definitely pushing us towards having a weird, socially awkward society of instant gratification. If you are thinking about bringing a kid into this new world, there is a very real possibility that they will be able to play a video game, while texting, while operating a GPS, while listening to music before they even know how to tie their shoes. Whether that’s good or bad depends on who you ask. I guess loafers are available, and velcro could make a comeback.
Every time there is a new iPhone, there is always a big stir, and a bunch of fanatics who absolutely have to have this device the day it comes out. The desire for this to happen is so strong that these people are willing to camp out overnight at the store to be one of the first to pick this up. These are grown ups, not usually kids…… Grown Ups!! People my age, and maybe a bit younger whose parents lined up for Cabbage Patch Dolls in the 80’s, or lined up for Tickle Me Elmo’s in the 90’s. They’ve been taught that having something a few weeks earlier than someone else may in fact increase their ‘cool factor’, and is worth lining up for. I disagree. 4-6 weeks from now, everyone who wants an iPhone 5 will have one, and you won’t be the cool guy at the water cooler anymore. That’s a lot of money to be that guy for a couple of weeks. I have a friend who ordered it online, and it was shipped, and arrived at her desk at work the day it was released to the public. She was at her desk playing with the new iPhone while thousands of people had been lining up outside Apple stores for hours. She was ‘water cooler cool’ without all the lining up.
The other thing about iPhones (or people really) that I don’t get is….. How can you get this excited about something that’s going to have a better version next year? The iPhone has pretty much put out a better version just about every year since it came out, which begs the question, if it’s so easy to improve and is only relevant for a year, then why would I want one? If a coffee maker came out, I bought it, and then a year later they redesigned it, I’d be pissed. Why couldn’t they have designed it better last year, so they didn’t have to come out with a new one this year? The reason is simple. The public is stupid enough to keep buying newer versions. Businesses now understand that (nobody better than Apple). As long as we are too stupid to hold companies accountable for releasing newer versions of the same shit every year, they’ll keep doing it, and making billions in the process. They’re following the same business model as College/University Textbook publishers have been doing for years. If there is an all-encompassing Marketing text-book that is amazing, you can use it for Marketing 101 year after year. If College/University students are smart (and they should be if they’re pursuing higher learning), then they will try to buy used text books for half the price. How do you avoid this if you’re the publisher?? Change a few paragraphs, and re-release it as the 2nd edition. Now a student can’t buy the 1st edition, even though there’s nothing wrong with it, because the class is using the 2nd edition. More profit for the publishers, and struggling students get to struggle just a little bit more. It’s how the world works. If that makes you angry, so should the annual ‘new iPhone’.
Now, a little bit about my philosophy regarding lining up for things….. Your time is important because you are important. You may not believe that, but you should. When considering whether or not to enter a lineup, I always do a cost vs. reward analysis in my head. Even if it’s fast food. A shopping mall food court might be the best example. If I have a craving for Burger King, but there’s a lineup, I have a lot to consider. How long is the lineup? What are my other food options? How strong is this BK craving? How important do I perceive my time to be? 10 minutes in line, strong craving, 5 minute lineup at crappier restaurants, lazy day off….yeah I’m getting BK. 20 minute lineup, busy day……I don’t need it, I’ll eat somewhere else.
Now I will take that formula and apply it to the iPhone 5.
iPhone 5 – 8 hour lineup starting in the middle of the night. I currently have a working cell phone, I currently have a job and a busy life outside of that, other iPhones are probably available with no lineup. iPhone 5 is probably available next month with no lineup. My life could improve marginally if I got stuck in a lineup, because the iPhone 5 could entertain me better (IRONY!!!!). Answer – NO, but answer could change with the variables. Would maybe wait 30 minutes for this if my current phone had crapped out.
Here are some other things I may or may not wait for, and maximum wait times.
– To talk to a banker in person – 20 mins (and only if I thought it was a 10 minute wait, but they were running behind)
– To buy concert tickets – 45 mins (I have never lined up for concert tickets, but for a once in a lifetime concert, maybe….)
– Doctor’s Office – 1 hour (or more, depending on how sick I am, but no more than an hour for a physical. That seems long, but I already invested time driving there, so I might be locked in)
– Restaurant – 15 mins (I’d have to really like the place, or be in a very remote area with no other restaurants around to even wait at all, but if the place had a bar where I could sit comfortably and have a drink, maybe 30 mins)
– I’m in a war-torn country and lining up is the only way to get food – I guess indefinitely but I’d be mad.
– To go on a ride at an amusement park – 30 mins (I’m terrified of heights, so I pull the ‘don’t like to wait’ card so I don’t have to tell people I’m afraid)
– I’m on deserted island, and the rescue boat had to make multiple trips…….OK this is getting dumb. I’ll end the blog here.