The Wealthy Barber aka Dave Chilton writes about the dangers to your pocketbook of keeping up with the Joneses. Choose your friends wisely, he advises, ensure they are in your income bracket so that you don’t pine for what they can afford and you don’t have.
But in today’s Apple-verse, this is just about impossible.
It doesn’t matter if you have the poorest friends, for it seems like everyone has at least one iDevice. Steve Jobs has created such a culture of iWant and cunningly built obsolescence into Apple products that as soon as he and Apple announce a new iDevice, present it as the coolest thing ever, you, along with the rest of the world, start counting the days to release. He was like a modern-day mass-market Pavlov, but instead of holding out treats for dogs, he dangled gadgets for people. And there was no app to counter his conditioning of us. I suspect even an empty bank account was no impediment for many to get the latest, coolest iDevice. After all, how can you keep up with the hip and modern with an iPhone two generations old or the original iPad?
It is rather amazing that quite a few of us did not jump at Jobs’s call. And the question is will more become resistant to Apple’s call with Jobs no longer presenting? Will we jump at the next iDevice, as we have for every one before, or will our fickle attention now move on to the next trendy gadget to come along? Apple has been down this road before, of being the thing to have and then fading away into niche territory.
The iPod began Apple’s rise out of that territory; the iPhone and iPad cemented it as the maker of must-have products. But Jobs’s charismatic presentations was a big reason for that rise. With his death, it may seem like Apple’s dominance is over. But the iWant culture of Apple products masks a more mundane truth: iDevices have changed the lives of many vulnerable and disabled for the better in a way no other company has done so. They have become such an essential part of many lives that as Apple improves and creates new products, people will probably continue to pay attention and to buy...unless and until other manufacturers beat Apple on its own turf. Then, sans Jobs’s charismatic, must-attend presentations to keep inducing iWant in the masses, people will switch.