By Steven Tweedie, Daily TV/New Media Editor
Published March 13, 2013
When it comes to gadgets, I’m an early adopter. The thrill of experiencing a new technology before it becomes widespread makes me feel like a pioneer of sorts, someone riding the wave of the future. It’s fun when you can give first-hand impressions to friends contemplating a purchase, and the added attention gives me an excuse to start discussing tech with people. But most people would sagely advise you to play it safe, to just wait when it comes to the ever-progressing, planned-obsolescence-embracing tech industry. It’s not bad advice either, as early adoption isn’t without its problems (or premiums). But with a little bit of strategy, and perhaps an adjustment of expectations, there’s a way to satiate the desire for the “newest thing” while still allowing you to upgrade in the future.
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Be prepared to research. For someone hopelessly addicted to technology like myself, I want to ensure that I can upgrade. Nothing is more frustrating than purchasing a new device to, only weeks later, watch the Internet blow up with news of the next generation. Sure, you had a little slice of the future for a few months, but now the future has moved on, leaving you to watch its advancements in envy. I try to avoid this scenario, and research is the answer. More on that later.
Let’s talk specifics. I had an iPad from day one. There was something futuristic about the tablet that struck some techy nerve, and I was in love. I raved about it to my friends, insisting they try perusing the net with the device, and my favorite way to describe it was “a slice of Internet.” I read the articles stating that the iPad was no laptop replacement for students and echoed Barney’s signature “challenge accepted.” Freshman year, my iPad was my only computer, and life was good. And then the iPad 2 was announced.
Never be surprised by a product announcement. Those product reveals are meant to snag the attention of the inattentive, to let those not in-tune to the tech market know what’s going on. But, if you want to do early adoption right, you should see these announcements coming a mile away. Here’s the key, the takeaway bit of advice of this entire article: You should be deviceless when the official announcement rolls around. Who has your device? The inattentive person who bought it from you, two weeks before, and who is now kicking himself.
This is how I approached the iPad 2. Ear to the ground, or eyes to the internet, I knew the day Apple sent out press invitations to an undisclosed event, and had already sold my original iPad. The nice thing about Apple is the high resale value — I ended up receiving 80 to 85 percent of what I had initially paid. The funds were in my account while I watched the official iPad 2 keynote presentation, and I had pre-ordered the device from the comfort of my dorm, while I watched eBay’s prices on original iPads plummet.
So with the money from my well-timed auction, plus about $100 extra, I had an iPad 2. Essentially, I paid about $100 for the privilege of owning the newest iPad, and I’m willing to do that. The same thing occurred when the third iPad was announced. I had already sold my iPad 2, managing to avoid the dive in asking price on eBay that always follows a new-generation announcement. Sure, you’re paying a premium for maintaining current-gen status, but for people that love exploring the newest features, it’s not a bad way to go.
This cyclic way of owning the newest gadgets isn’t for everyone. It requires you to stay on top of the rumor mill, and isn’t without risk. You have to be in a position to go without your device for a couple of weeks, and for some people, this just isn’t an option. Instant gratification can become an issue, and some people just want the ease of a one-time purchase. In those cases, it can be best to wait it out. But for those wanting to chase the future, at least there’s a strategy to avoid being penniless and outdated, and it only requires a bit of time and research.