Early adoption is a double edged sword. While you may have the coolest new thing out there, you also have what can be the worst version of it at the highest price. Back in 2007, early adopters of the iPhone paid a premium for the new device that didn’t have 3G internet speeds, sported a design not repeated in any future iterations, and experienced a sharp price drop almost immediately after launch. In a sense, these early adopters suffered a bit for their passions. Below are a few points to consider before buying the first generation gadget or software.
You’re Paying a Premium to Beta Test
When Windows Vista came out, I was there on day one with cash in hand to purchase a laptop sporting the new OS. Little did I know that Microsoft would change the recommended system requirements shortly after the product launched after an overwhelming amount of customers complained that it just didn’t run well on systems with only 1-2GB of RAM. The system I purchased wasn’t adequate and was quickly replaced with a model that had more RAM at the same price.
While Vista was considered “out of beta”, early adopters were technically still finding major flaws in the operating system well in to their experience. It wasn’t until the first service pack came out that Vista appeared to be behaving itself.
On the other side of this, I not only beta tested Windows 7 for a year before it came out, I threw one of their coveted house parties and received an advanced copy well before the official product launch and absolutely loved it. In this sense, not having to pay for the operating system made me a more fortunate early adopter.
The Price Typically Drops Quickly After the First Generation
When the iPhone was released in to the wild, people signed up in droves to get their hands on it on day one. They put down $600 not realizing that the price would be reduced by $200 only a couple months after the launch date. Early adopters were offered a $100 gift certificate as an apology from Apple for the price hike on release. This is a more extreme circumstance where the early adopters was obviously and dramatically impacted by a decrease in price.
Another example are the early adopters of Apple TV. At nearly $300, this first generation device was quite expensive considering that it was a glorified movie rental store. The second generation of Apple TV is priced at $99 and has a much more appealing feature set.
First Generation Devices are Typically Buggy with Limited Features
Google released their Android OS to much curiosity and interest among the tech community. This was brought on by the wave of iPhone imitators quickly rushed out the door by major distributors attempting to capitalize on this new exciting trend. Unfortunately, the Android OS was very premature and lacked basic functionality that users were looking forward to. While it took the iOS some time to add copy and paste to its bag of tricks, Android didn’t have this feature either until later on in its development.
The first generation iPhone didn’t even have 3G data speeds which was quickly dismissed as an unnecessary luxury by Steve Jobs at the time, but was quickly replaced once customers complained in numbers. Fact is, Apple and other tech companies intentionally leave features out in order to make you want the next generation even more.
The iPad has a board that is designed to support cameras, but there isn’t one to be found on the device. When you think about it, this is a feature that might convince a lot of people to purchase a second one come launch day for generation 2.