Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time to Buy

 My birthday is October 2nd. The Apple iPhone just had a birthday, too. When is it time to buy a new technology? The answer is really quite simple, and you will find it here, in today’s blog.

As I played with the iPhone 5 I wondered what the late Steve Jobs would have thought about the latest twist on Apple's best-selling device. The iPhone 5 has more than a few improvements, including a larger screen.

My opinion: Jobs would have been delighted with the iPhone 5. It has a blend of beauty, utility and versatility.

Apple will compel hordes of people to line up outside its stores before its Sept. 21 release in the U.S., Japan, Britain, Germany, France and four other countries. The dash to buy the iPhone 5 will be repeated again on Sept. 28 when it goes on sale in 22 other countries. All the models of the iPhone 5 will sell for the same prices as its predecessor, starting at $199 with a two-year data and calling plan. I was only given a few minutes with the iPhone 5 at Wednesday's launch event.

For many people, the iPhone is going to be a case of “love at first byte”. It's incredibly light and seems to be easier to hold. That means it might not be dropped as frequently as previous iPhones, reducing the chances of the display screen getting damaged.

One woman couldn't stop raving about how ideal the new design was for people with smaller hands. "All the other iPhones were made with men in mind (big hands) because they could easily slip from your grasp," she said. "Now we finally have an iPhone for women." Yeah, I have big hands. I guess I always had big hands and feet from birth (born on October 2nd, 1960). Wow, I have a birthday coming up soon.

The new iPhone also is easy on the eyes, thanks to a larger screen and its "Retina Display," the high-definition technology that Apple introduced in previous models. Video and photos looked amazing on the iPhone 5's bigger and better screen.

The iPhone 5's screen is a half-inch larger than previous generations, and Apple makes sure to take advantage of it. The extra space means you can now see five rows of apps on the home screen instead of the previous limit of four rows. Open the calendar and you can see five days of events on the screen in horizontal mode, instead of just three.

The larger screen comes to life with a tool called "Panorama" that automatically stitches together a series of pictures into a majestic vista. Panorama can be turned on simply by going into the iPhone 5's camera mode and then selecting it on an option menu. Once it's activated, an arrow guides you as you slowly pan the camera around whatever scenery you desire (if you move too fast, Panorama tells you to slow down and also advises you if you are moving the camera too high or low). Note to self: make sure there is a camera around on my birthday, on October 2nd.

OK, here is the rule for technology purchases: if the new technology improves your life by a factor of two, you can safely make the purchase (by a price factor of two). When it does not, you can wait for the price to come down, or wait for the competition to heat up.

60 sec/1 min x 60 min/1 hr x 24 hr/ 1 day x 365 days/ 1 year = 31536000 sec/year

Airlines had propeller powered planes years ago, so a trip from LA to NYC would take two to three times as long. Time was more valuable than the cost to replace all of the planes with the new jet engine technology. Typewriters worked just fine, until the more expensive word processors did the job in half the time. Digital cameras produced high quality finished photos in seconds, far better than waiting for your pictures to come back from the local drug store.

Time is more important than money; time is life. If the technology will find you more time, increase your work production, or allow you to manage your life (time) better, it is a good deal. If there is no “time” factor with the transaction, you probably don’t need it - no matter how shiny the new gizmo or gadget might be. There are of course other factors, but time is the big key to the technology purchase puzzle. Time vs. Shiny. Always go with time.

I am not one of those people who will stand in line to buy anything, even a new iPhone. Especially when my birthday is October 2nd. Yeah, I don’t think I will be “buying” the new iPhone this time around.

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