5 Emotional Stages Of Your New iPhone (Or Other Gadget)

Attention, all you proud, new iPhone 4S owners, let me just say congrats on your new purchase.  Siri sounds like a great new feature, and I’m glad you have that, as well as bragging rights on just about any tech product out there.

I’ll also say this: Enjoy it will it lasts.

Because it won’t.

I know you don’t want to hear it, but it’s true.  Look around at your old iPhone.  Look at the flat screen TV over in the other room.  The iPad.  The laptop.  The desktop.

They were all your new ‘Ohmygod-lookatmenow’ gadget at one time or another.  They’re not anymore.  And one day, neither will your iPhone be!

I think there are five emotional stages that we all go through when it comes to the cool techie electronic things.

Right now, all you iPhone 4S users are in the midst of stage 1.  But check this page back in six months or a year and let me know where you are.

1. The ‘Love Boat’ phase

What this means: “Exciting and new” is the only way to describe this.  You’re going to pull that iPhone out of your pocket for any reason possible.  If someone so much as looks at it, you will be in their face showing off the cool features.

If it breaks: If you’re in stage 1, and your item breaks, you would consider throwing yourself from a bridge in depression.

2. It’s pretty cool!

What this means: You still love your iPhone, but you’ve now noticed that so many people have one that you no longer show it off as much.  You still love it but are now comfortable enough with it and have had it long enough that the ‘wow’ factor of all the new features no longer thrills you.

If it breaks:If you’re in stage 2 and your item breaks, you will get it replaced as quickly as possible, but you’ll no longer kill or maim anybody that stands in your way of getting it replaced.

3. It’s cool.  Really, it is.

What this means:: For most people, this is the longest phase that we spend any amount of time in.  We really like our gadget, but it’s not new anymore.  We try to hide the scratch or scrapes that have suddenly appeared.  By now, there are grumblings when we have to re-start it occasionally, and we will swear at it regularly when it does something stupid.  If someone asks us how we like it, we’ll tell them how much we do, but our voice might raise an octave involuntarily as we try to make ourselves believe we still ‘love’ it.

If it breaks: You’ll get it replaced.  Chances are you’d be great with the same model of what you have.  But, you will take a look ‘just to make sure’ that there isn’t something else you like better.

4. Peeking around the corner

What this means: When the iPhone 5 comes out, millions of people will instantly catapult into this phase.  They’ll still be OK with using the 4S, but at this point, they’re itching for an excuse to upgrade.  End of contract? OK, time to move on.

If it breaks: You’re most likely getting something newer, better, and faster.  If your only option is to get it replaced with the same model, you will be disappointed.

5. Not. Another. Single. Minute.

What this means: You can’t stand to spend another minute with this item and will pay any amount of money to get away from it.  Today.

If it breaks: You’ll be scraping the pieces off your shoe as most items that reach this phase will not die simply because they remain functional only to torture you.  At this point, you will refuse to believe, even if presented with video evidence, that you were ever in the ‘Love Boat’ phase about it.

Personally, I can tolerate a lot of time in the 4th phase.  I’ll use items that no longer give me any charge and that I know are way out of date compared to what’s available, but it will often take a catastrophic failure before I love to the final, replace-it-now phase.

Consider that I have:

  • A fourteen year old TV that serves as the primary television for family viewing
  • A 6-7 year old desktop computer that I still use regularly
  • A Blackberry
  • I  even avoided getting a new laptop at work for months even though I was way eligible for a new phone

So, it’s obvious that I can live with obsolete technology for longer than most.

How quickly do you move through the five emotional stages of technology?

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Steve Jobs Knew What Was Best For You

After graduating college, a buddy and I rented an apartment that became the de facto hangout spot for our group of friends.  I don’t even know who started using it, but the phrase “I know what’s best for you” became a popular catchphrase around the apartment, as it was used to convince others to do something that they might not be 100% on board with (nothing illicit, just stupid fun for guys in their early 20’s).

“What do you mean you don’t want to get tickets for that concert?  C’mon, I know what’s best for you.”

“We’re going out.  Get ready.  I don’t care if you’re tired, I know what’s best for you.”

You know, stupid stuff like that.

As everybody knows by know, Apple founder Steve Jobs died the other night.  He was a genius, but what I was always most impressed by was not his technical genius.  Don’t get me wrong, the ideas he pioneered were quite amazing.  But, what impressed me the most is that his ideas sold because he was able to convince millions of people that he knew what was best for them.

Apple store

In many cases, such as the Apple II or the iMac computer, he took a product that already existed, made improvements on it, and sold it at a higher price that what his competition was selling it for.  And people bought them up!

Every time Apple came out with something, the competition soon followed.  I always waited for the Apple hype to die, as people would surely realize that you could get the same features at a lower price.  I waited and I waited and I waited.  And, while many (like me) did buy the cheaper stuff, people still turned out in droves for the Apple products.  The higher priced Apple products?


Because Steve Jobs knew what was best for you. 

See, he didn’t just sell the technology.  His legacy, in my mind, is not the technology that he came up with, for the simple reason that the technology itself will be diminished in importance as time goes on.  What won’t be diminished and what he will ultimately be remembered is how he could sell the idea that the technology….no that HIS technology, was what you needed.

He knew what was best for you.

Apple surely has enough product in the pipeline to thrive for the near future.  They have enough engineering and creative geniuses that will surely be able to push them ahead for longer than that.  But, Apple still lost a lot because they lost the one guy that I’ve seen be able to stand up and say “I know what’s best for you” and have tens of millions of people believe it.

Here’s my dirty little secret: I don’t buy Apple products.  I don’t make a habit of going in Apple stores, and if I do, I don’t spend too much time in there.  It’s not because I don’t think the products are cool.  I do.  It’s not because I don’t want the products.  I do.  It’s that I know once I got the first Apple product in my hand, I’d be sucked in.

The ability to bring you in and keep you hooked is what Steve Jobs created.  Steve Jobs was able to do this simply because he knew what was best for you.


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Don’t Take Delight In Others Misery

I used to subscribe to the news feed for Business Insider.  I always felt that they had a good staff of writers from multiple sources that gave a good feed for the economy, business, and money related issues.  I referenced them here on Money Beagle more than a few times.

But, I recently unsubscribed and will no longer be reading, because of a pattern that I felt was too common and too disturbing:

Too many of their writers are taking glee in the recent rash of economic news, most notably the European debt crisis, the stock market downturn, and the potential for a second recession.

These are all very real problems, and I’m not suggesting for a second that they should be reporting false information or even suppressing information.  That would be disingenuous.

Where I have a problem is when their authors consistently include things along the lines of:
“Markets down 200. SELL SELL SELL.”
“Technical support broken, time to PANIC.”

The bottom line is that the vast majority of Americans are losing market in this stock market.  Many of us have done the right thing and have opened IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, or other accounts to save for the future.  Watching those balances go down day in and day out is bad enough, but it’s a kick in the face for writers to take glee in this.

The Internet has opened the door for many more voices to be heard.  In the case of Business Insider, that’s proving that it may not always be such a good thing.

So, for those of you who write in a public manner, I implore you, even if you’re right about something, please don’t rub it in.  There’s no call for taking delight in someone’s misery.

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What Bills Do You Auto-Pay?

We use auto-pay for a majority of our bills.   Here’s a run-down of bills we have on auto-pay:

  •  Mortgage – We can adjust this a few days before the payment comes out if we have any extra income to apply.  Easy!
  • Student Loans – This comes out on the 20th of every month.  If we have any extra payments, I send those through Internet Bill Pay (our bank sends them a check) as their system is not as easy to modify the payment.
  • Credit Cards – We don’t send paper checks.  We just go in every month and set the amount (our full balance) that we want to pay off.
  • Insurance – Our car payment comes out monthly.  The annual payments we still send in though I may change that as I almost forgot to send in our homeowners policy payment this year.  Yikes!
  • Cable – I love our cable company and have never had any issues here
  • Electric & Gas – Both of these come out automatically. We get the electronic statements three weeks or so before the payments come out, so we always have plenty of time to make sure everything is right.
  • Garbage – Our garbage pickup is paid quarterly and comes out automatically.
  • Church donations – Instead of throwing money (or a check) in the basket, we have a weekly donation taken out that we can manage anytime!
  • Cell phone – Our cell phone bill gets charged to our credit card.  This is because we used to get extra cash back for cell phone bills.  Even though the credit card doesn’t give an extra bonus, I’ve never bothered to change it, but no big deal since we pay it every month.  Same as with the gas & electric bill, we get the statement weeks before the payment is due, so I’m always able to resolve any issues before payment takes place.
  • Newspaper – This is charged to our credit card every six months.  I do want to change this as, for some reason, this one catches me by surprise every time.  Probably because they don’t bother sending out the statement until a week or two after the credit card actually gets charged.  Lousy customer service is another reason that newspapers are dying, FYI.  Still, this ends up paying for itself in the coupons we clip.

Payments we don’t auto-pay:

  • Car payment – Only because we don’t have one 🙂
  • Water bill – We set this up as an Internet Bill Pay item as our city hasn’t gotten on board with being able to pay this online easily.
  • Property taxes – I prefer to drop these off a few days before they’re due so that I can make sure our account gets credited in time.

What bills do you auto-pay?  Are there any that you refuse to use auto-pay for even if the capability is there, and if so, what are your reasons?

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