In an article in today’s New York Times, titled, “Applause, Please, for Early Adopters,” journalist Damon Darlin makes some misplaced assertions about iPad purchasers, and some mistaken comparisons. He discusses those who have bought the iPad, and offers a comparison with the iPhone:
A tough lesson about buying early could have been learned by the iPhone’s first buyers back in 2007. Those early adopters paid $600 for a phone. Two months later, Apple dropped the price to $400. Then, in June 2009, it introduced a better version, with twice the storage, for $200, one-third the original’s price.
What he seems to ignore, however, is that the iPhone is subsidized by phone companies in a complex financial agreement where Apple gets money from AT&T in exchange for the customers’ lock-in to that company’s phone contracts. The comparison of apples and oranges does not shed any light on potential future prices of iPads.
Granted, many people buy tech devices because of a desire to be up-to-date and ahead of the curve, but comparing prices for the iPad with those of a cellphone is disingenuous. It would be fairer to compare its price with that of, say, a laptop. The latter’s price will drop, over time, as new models are released, and new features are added, but the change will not be drastic.
I wonder if the author buys hardcover books – after all, they are just for “early adopters” who can’t wait for the paperbacks. Or new albums, at full price, before they turn into “budget-priced” discs. Yes, people pay a premium for newness; there’s nothing new about that. Unfortunately, one journalist used a very bad example to point out this well-known fact.