Gadgets gone wild


    Buyers rushed to Apple stores on July 11 to wait in long lines for the third generation iPhone.

    Those long lines were not created by consumers’ overwhelming need for Apple’s newest baby. Instead, problems during activation of the phone contributed significantly to waiting time for those in line, according to CNN.

    Despite ongoing problems that stem back to the release of the original iPhone, Apple managed to build a brand that is perceived as something new and different and thus unexplainably desirable.

    At the beginning of its personal computer era, Apple’s computers were selling in considerably lower numbers than their PC competitors.

    MacBooks and iPods now seem to outnumber their rivals, and all these products still have that all-important yet ironic air of individuality. iPhones are everywhere and Apple is winning, as more people start rushing to stores with the famous fruit logo as they think, “If everybody has an iPod or iPhone, why don’t I?”

    Owning these gadgets can generate sweet feelings of belonging to a certain group, which certainly promotes sales. Feeling lonely or lost? Go to an Apple store, stand in line for a couple of hours, and feel like part of a true community centered on new technology.

    Some believe chicks dig the iPhone, while others try to impress the world by being cool and obviously checking e-mail on their glamorous iPhone.

    Then again, there are those who get the device’s full benefits, using it as a phone, music player and personal organizer.

    However, the iPhone does not provide the increase in productivity that most expect. It might increase the speed of communication, but not necessarily the quality.

    Don’t forget that the iPhone is still bound to iTunes and, as always, is tied to a contract with AT&T. Despite its relatively low initial price, if you take into account fees you will need to pay during a two-year period, the iPhone does not appear to be such a good deal anymore. It should come as no surprise that Apple competitors have already designed many alternatives.

    I still do not understand the buzz regarding the iPhone. It just does not deserve the attention it is getting. You can actually find all those features in other models — you just need to invest some time searching and making comparisons.

    People today just seem to be too lazy to look around. Even the youth feel more comfortable consuming than saving and producing.

    The iPhone is the symbol of my generation: Many advancements here and there, but no real steps forward. Prosperity comes from increases in productivity, which could be attained only by accumulation of capital. Success is hard work today and delayed consumption until tomorrow, not consumption today and hard work sometime in the future.

    The current generation of younger Americans live mainly on the savings of their parents. We buy shiny gadgets but have no core, which is the true cause of the downturn in the economy and the emptiness of our material culture.

Yegor Sorokin is a graduate student in mathematics. Please send comments to