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The Early Adopter's Gamble

(AP Photo/Apple)
Being the first kid on the block to have the newest gadget requires more than just a fat wallet and a little luck. You need faith. And guts.

Take last week's iPhone roller coaster.

A little over two months after people waited on line – sometimes for days – to be the first to buy Apple's iPhone, CEO Steve Jobs announced he was slashing the price from $600 to $400 – effectively putting a price tag on those 10 weeks of gloating.

True, the next day, Jobs offered an olive branch to those who paid that $200 "early adopter tax," by offering a $100 Apple store credit. And, according to Apple's own message boards, most of those who are in line to get it are satisfied.

So does this little exercise teach those early adopters a lesson?

Yes, and no. There will always be people who want to be first... even those who will happily pay for the privilege. And there are those who want to own early, but also want to save money. You can't always have it both ways, and this was the perfect example of that. If you want to buy technology early, you have to be ready for the price to adjust to the market once it's out. It's like stock trading. If you can't handle the idea of your investment being devalued, then wait.

Here's the bottom line when it comes to buying new technology: Buy what you want to buy, and spend what you want to spend.

If you think something's too expensive, then it's too expensive for you. Wait, and it will probably come down in price. If you want the novelty of being first, then pay up, and don't look back. Don't whine. What Apple did was pretty rare, especially for Apple. Don't expect companies to reimburse you, or repay your "early adopter tax."

And one more thing... don't' gauge last week's tech purchase by what just came out this week. Obsolescence occurs only if you gauge your previous purchase by the newest standards. If you have something and it works for you, then let it work for you.

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