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July 4, 2007

iPhone demonstrates why Oscar Wilde was right


He wrote, "A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

I got to thinking about that last night (Tuesday, July 3) after I read Adam Bryant's July 1, 2007 New York Times "Ideas & Trends" essay entitled "iSee Into The Future, Therefore iAm" which explored, among other things, what it is that makes something special and therefore valuable.

I know — there's no excuse for the 48-hour delay in getting to the Sunday Times.

My bad.


The final three paragraphs of the essay, especially, caused me to rethink my diatribe of this past Monday (July 2) about Apple's iPhone pricing — specifically, the $100 differential for 4GB more of flash memory when such memory is available retail for $35 and wholesale for around $10.

Here are the three paragraphs.

    iSee Into The Future, Therefore iAm

    ... There are benefits to the hype surrounding products like the iPhone, said Edward Tenner, author of books about the role of technology in society, including “Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity,” and “Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences.”

    It helps build the kind of demand, he said, that is needed to pay for the enormous research and development costs of building a product like the iPhone.

    “With the stakes going higher and higher, the mechanics of hype are born,” Mr. Tenner said. “It’s the only way something like this can be marketed.”


The value of something is what someone is willing to pay for it.

If you've ever tried and failed to sell a house, reluctantly lowering the price step by step until finally someone concurs with your valuation, you will know this to be true.

Others, you'll just have to take my word for it.

So if Apple decides to charge $100 more for the 8GB iPhone than than 4GB, and 95% of those buying one choose the 8GB version (as has been the case for the first 700,000 [!] sold) then that $100 increment is fair — at least, to those who've had to earn the money to pay the difference.


And that's all I have to say about that.

July 4, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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