This seems to happen to me every two years, I become bored with all my technology and wait on Apple to wow me with something new. The unconverted peers around me just scoff at the idea of just throwing money away on another expensive Apple product that isn’t worth it to them. Then again, most of them admit they secretly love their iPod, even though they hate Apple. Coming back to my need for a technology fix, I have even walked down the NetBook displays at the local BestBuy and touched one or two NetBooks, thinking to myself, “Why Not?” only to come away with a sense of utter disappointment at how bare boned these NetBooks really are. The majority of them, remind me of the cheap knockoff toys I bought when I was a kid, when I really could not afford the actual Voltron. Pretty much, NetBooks kind of suck. The iPod Touch and current iPhone GS have more appeal than any $400 NetBook.
Aside from Apple, I was in Houston Texas a week ago and stopped by the Sony Store in The Galleria Mall. Other than Apple, Sony is equally appealing when it comes to technology, after all I have only bought like thirty or so Walkmans in my lifetime. It seems Sony is the only PC vendor who makes interesting consumer laptops, but even the coolness of a Sony design was not enough to satisfy me. I guess that is one thing that Microsoft totally dismisses about consumers in their commercials. Sometimes people just want to buy something cool, and all reason goes out the window. I remember years ago, consumers had to buy a Pentium computer for no reason other than it came with that shiny new Windows95 that let you do things like multi-task. Microsoft should remember that for many consumers Minesweeper and Solitaire were the most used applications on Windows. What impressed me more than computers at the Sony Store, were their televisions. The higher end models are internet enabled and allow you to browse the web and access media servers. I assume this is similar to the Playstation 3, so most likely Flash video performance will be disappointing, but still I think this is interesting. Regular television is dying, and consumers really want to see YouTube and other Internet content on their television, especially now that HD Television is standard. Although I did not walk out of the Sony Store that day with a new television, I am considering a new television for this holiday season. Price wise, it was impressive that Sony’s lower end LCD televisions are more affordable than ever. A basic 32 inch with 720 resolution is now $500 and a 42 inch is not that much more. These sets use to cost about $3000 a few years ago.
Due to the economic recession, most companies are in save mode. The best example I can note is the video game industry in which most game developers have scrapped new product releases and instead are pushing out repeat sequels of past successful games. Their hope is that they can save on expenses and survive the economic situation. However we are in now the third or fourth quarter of this recession, and the effect of cost cutting has come and gone and now all you have left is whatever current income you have. This makes it difficult for most companies because the products they have out there are totally unappealing and no matter how you dress them up, consumers know this and won’t put good money towards products that are based on past technology. The coolness factor matters now, more than ever! Without a shiny product, consumers who want to buy will think twice. Impulse buying will be hard to come by this holiday season and this means more bad news for companies.
Given all this, I am still waiting on Apple to deliver. Sure, I will go ahead and get my Snow Leopard Upgrade and think about replacing my iPhone come 2010, but I still need something with a wow factor to burn my money on and I am sure Apple will eventually deliver, but the wait always feels like an eternity.