Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rotten To The Core

The elitist attitude of many Apple fanatics never fails to amuse me, but it is sometimes rather baffling. As any Apple fan (and most tech fans in general) already knows, Apple is releasing a new version of the popular iPhone, the iPhone 3G S. The new 3G S offers some improvements over the existing 3G just as the 3G offered some improvements over the original iPhone, but the mere fact of improvements isn't good enough for many users. They want it now and they want it cheap.
The iPhone 3G S comes in two models, a 16 GB model and a 32 GB model and their list prices (without subsidies or contract discounts) are $599 and $699 respectively. That's a pretty hefty price tag for any new phone but Apple products tend to be on the high end of the pricing structure so it isn't really surprising. Those customers signing up for a new two-year contract or who are eligible for an upgrade discount can get the new phones for $199 or $299 and, in an amazing sign of generosity on the part of carrier AT&T, existing iPhone users who are not eligible for an upgrade discount can still upgrade their phones for a discounted price of $399 or $499. Considering that no other existing phone users ever get discounts on the price of a phone unless they are eligible for a discounted upgrade, one would think that iPhone users would be jumping for joy that they are getting any discount at all. If that were the case, however, you would not be reading this post in the first place.
According to one disgruntled iPhone user, "This is ridiculous and a slap in the face to long time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone." It is ridiculous and a slap in the face that you are expected to honor contracts just like every other phone user in the wireless phone market? It is ridiculous and a slap in the face that you don't get to void your contract just because a new toy comes along that you feel you absolutely must have? We won't even go into the joke that the iPhone hasn't even been around long enough to truly have any "long time loyal" users.
The real problem here is that AT&T made the mistake of caving to pressure from Apple zealots once before, when the 3G came out. At that time, they chose to allow existing iPhone users to take advantage of upgrade discount pricing even if they were not actually eligible for the discount. It can easily be argued here that this was done to correct a customer service problem that Apple actually caused by releasing the original iPhone before it should have been released (the original iPhone lacked many features that were considered standard on phones of this type) and then exacerbated by releasing a corrected model so soon after the original release. Although it has been about a year since the 3G was released (a fairly standard period of time between Apple releases, as all Apple fans know), these people crying foul firmly believe that, just because they received preferential treatment once before, they are automatically entitled to the same preferential treatment now.
What really gets me, though, is that technology reporting sites - the very people who know the industry and have every reason to know better - are reporting this story as though 1. it were actually a story and 2. the Apple complainers actually have a legitimate complaint. No one seems to be mentioning, except strictly in passing, that AT&T once again is offering a discount to existing iPhone users, a discount they don't offer to the users of any other phone. Very few sites are mentioning that American wireless phone users get their phones at such steep discounts precisely because the two-year contract model is expected to make up the pricing difference and if Apple users are routinely getting the discount without having to go through the two-year contract then AT&T is actually losing money on them. These are things that the people writing these articles know and yet they are not reporting on them.
The short answer is, suck it up and quit whining. If you are an existing iPhone user then you have probably already received one discount to which you were not entitled. The proper answer to this situation is to say "thank you", not to cry because you aren't being handed yet another freebie.
To end on a note of fairness, there are many iPhone users (and Apple fans in general) who are saying the exact same thing I have said here. The elitist, entitlement mentality is far from universal among Apple customers. As with most things, it is a vocal minority who are making everyone else look bad. It just so happens, in this case, that the vocal minority are the young and hip crowd who believe themselves to be the movers and shakers of the modern world and so they are even more vocal than usual. Excess volume, however, still does not make you right.

1 comment:

  1. Ummm, I don't understand? Can you possibly mean that I can't simply walk into a store and demand what I want for free? Even if I really want it and already have one (well, a slightly older version)?
    Why on earth should I have to pay for anything? I mean, seriously, why should I have to work for anything? I live in America!!

    *washes out her mouth, er.. keyboard?*