It was going to happen at some point. It was just a matter of when.
The iPhone's price dropped to $399, down from $599 (for the 8-gigabyte model) on Wednesday. This means a lot of people got hoodwinked out of extra money they didn't need to pay over the summer. The contraption, which is touted as being able to play quality video and music as well as do e-mail and phone calls, was made available to the world on June 29.
As soon as it went on sale, it was immediately snapped up by people who actually bought into the notion that they are better off by paying the highest price possible for something that does very little.
The problem is that people think they need to be the first ones to have the latest technology, to feel special. They are so determined to be ahead of the curve, they'd sell me their first-born child if I told them that was the price for a hand-held device which would cook and clean house for them. To these people, who now have to accept that they got ripped off three months ago by Apple, which makes the iPhone, I can just laugh.
You see, the price of all technology inevitably drops after a few months. One reason why the drop occurs is because the technology industry is already working on the second generation before the first one is released. Also, they have to cut the price to get all the hagglers who refused to pay full price for the technology.
Those of you with America On-line should recognize this because, earlier this decade, the company was releasing at least one new version every year. I got AOL version 5.0 in early 2000, but version 6.0 came out six months later. By the time I ended my AOL membership in early 2003, the company was getting ready to release version 9.0.
Every time they updated AOL, it got harder and harder to use until my laptop finally said "No more, this is ridiculous. You can't install version 8.0. I won't let you."
The truth is, if you got the latest version of AOL, it was outdated within 12 months and you had to upgrade. But at least the upgrade was free. The newer iPhone, though, won't be so cheap. Within a year or two, Apple will probably release a new version with more hard drive space, and everyone who already has one will ditch their original phone for the new one.
What's next? An iPhone that can show TV programs in real time? People can be distracted at work by reruns of VH-1's, "The Flavor of Love." Bosses will be walking through offices, and all they'll hear is the faint yell of "Flavor Flav!"
It's a never-ending cycle that really gets us no where, but it keeps making lots of money for the technology providers. And for what? A phone that can play movies and music? Someone please tell me what good it will do me to have a phone that does those functions. Someone explain why I need an iPhone, because I still don't see the point. And don't use "because you need to be up on the latest technology" as a reason. I want a real explanation.
The iPhone is just another tool to help society tune out from the real world, and become less productive.
If you bought in to the notion that you need to pay $599 for such a device, then you deserve the indigestion you're probably feeling right now as you realize you threw at least $200 out the window. You'll probably feel even more indigestion when the price drops again, and it inevitably will.
That's the nature of technology. When the newer model comes out, the price of the older model will go through the floor. Look how cheap an original PlayStation is these days, compared to when it first came out. I still haven't bought in to the iPod craze, so I think I can wait for the iPhone's price to fall.
It's not like I need to be watching movies while I'm typing my columns anyway.