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A Different Kind of Early Adopter Tax | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

A Different Kind of Early Adopter Tax

A lot has been said about early adopters and specifically iPad early adopters. People that buy Apple things have come to expect that their first editions will go down in price and functionality months after they buy the first release. With the iPad it was also understood that some web sites wouldn’t work properly because Apple doesn’t allow flash. I didn’t care that much to be honest about the flash issue but when I can’t seem embedded videos from Vimeo or TED, or photo players from Flickr it’s a bit irritating because I can only embed videos from YouTube if I expect them to work on my own blog. Eventually those technical issues will be fixed. The fact that I can’t play music from an app and do anything else is stupid, but if I really want to listen to audio apps I can use my iPhone. There’s a gap between technology and what people are producing. I get it and am okay with it for the time being.

How ATT can sell me on one premise of their network for the iPad and change the rules a month after the fact is not cool. It’s dishonest. Most people in New York already hate ATT for their pathetic mobile coverage but it’s the price someone has to pay to own an iPhone. I bought my 3G iPad specifically because I had the option to opt in (or out) at any time with an unlimited data plan. Now ATT has changed their mind and will no longer keep that option available if I decide to stop paying $30 dollars I currently am paying with my plan. It’s completely ridiculous that a company can essentially lie to their customers with no recourse.

I also expected to be able to use my iPad outside. I’m realistic that I’m not going to be able to read anything on the screen with the sun right above me, but I expected to be able to read in the shade. Guess what, my iPad overheated in the shade at 28C last weekend. It stopped working. While I don’t expect all websites to work, and can assume that some apps will be overpriced, I expected the thing to work outside. I think we’re in a different type of tax for early adoption. Since there’s a monopoly the rules can change at any moment and don’t expect ATT to be transparent about it. There’s currently no system in place for approval of apps from Apple either at this point but since most of them sort of suck I really don’t care about it. Of course if someone tries to do something innovative, the app is automatically denied. If I was a developer I would be irate at this moment too.

The great balancer with the problem is that no one else has created a device nor system that can compete. No one is giving me a better alternative. That’s even more pathetic. People are followers in tech companies, they don’t know what it means to have a vision, and put that philosophy into action. Because of that I take my iPad everywhere I go and wouldn’t leave it alone for a moment. It’s kind of sad considering that ATT & Apple really don’t respect the people that are using the iPad. Sure people have said this before but the level of dishonesty is worth noting. It’s possible that we could have the inverse of Moore’s law. With every Apple + ATT release the service gets worse and more expensive than the previous release.

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