Gadget rush changes with seasons

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By: Hera Ashraf <[email protected]>

Senior Sean Ryan recently purchased an iPod Touch. “It was a gift from my parents anyways. I paid for some of it,” he said.

“I purchased the new iPod Touch because I was interested in the advancement of the new technology,” Ryan said. But students like Ryan said it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the new technology. This holiday season, students will start to catch up with the latest gadgets.

Companies, such as Apple, which sell the iPod Touch among other products, are coming up with more and more advanced technologies, and students, like Ryan, find they must constantly keep up.

These companies hope to get high sales during the holiday season, but that may mean alienating consumers who have already bought some of the older products. In June, Apple released the iPhone. Six months later, the price dropped 33 percent from $599 to $399. Customers who bought the product for $599 were outraged. To compensate, Apple CEO, Steve Jobs gave those early purchasers $100 store credit, but in his open letter to consumers, he indicated that quicker turnaround is the norm for technology.

“If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you’ll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon,” Jobs said.

Jobs said that he wanted the product to be available for everyone to buy for the holidays. “We’re in high-volume manufacturing, and we’re pretty good on the costs side. We’re also willing to be more aggressive. We think we have a real winner, and customers love the iPhone. The product’s been extremely well accepted; we want to put the pedal to the metal. A holiday season is approaching; we’d have to wait another year for another one,” Jobs said in an interview with USA Today.

Ryan said he thinks students will buy a newer technology device, such as the iPod, for the holidays even if they already have the older version. “I think a lot (students) will buy a new iPod for the holidays, even if they do have an older iPod because of the new features. They would be willing to buy it even if it was a little more expensive because it’s cooler and much more advanced,” he said.

Ryan said that he originally wanted and iPhone but couldn’t get that, so he bought his iPod Touch.

“It was pretty expensive. It was about $400 for the 16GB one and $300 for the 8GB one. But I was willing to pay the extra $100 to get the extra memory,” Ryan said.

Not only is it difficult for students to keep up with the technology due to the high prices, but competing companies have to keep up as well. In November 2006, Microsoft launched its new Zune, an 8GB MP3 player with video capabilities. Although it was thicker than the iPods, it had a much bigger screen.
This month, just in time for the holidays, Microsoft launch a newer version of the Zune that’s thinner and is available in 8GB and 80GB versions. There will also be Zunes that are almost as small as the first generation iPod Nano and are only 4GB and about $149.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said he thinks the new Zunes are going to be much easier to handle. “People are going to listen to a lot more music because it’s going to be easy to find neat new exciting music, it’s going to be easy to have your music with you, in the car, when you’re running,” he said to the New York Times. “It seems like there ought to be a way to translate that into an opportunity.”

Ryan said he thinks technology changes quickly and companies have to be quick to keep up with it.

“I think the world is changing technology quickly, and I think Apple changes their technology so quick because they want to be the number one producers. And I think that they choose to release the highest quality of technology and the most advanced systems so that they can be the number one producers,” Ryan said.

As the holidays approach and students get their latest technological contraption, whether an iPod or a new laptop, technology will come up with something new a few weeks later. After a point, students won’t be able to keep up with it because they just bought some new “tech toy” over the holidays.
“That’s what happens in technology,” Jobs said to his consumers after the price drop on the iPhone.

“Technology is just a growing industry,” Ryan said.