Please stop whining, iPhone early adopters

Everyone's sorry you paid $200 more for the phone than it costs now. But don't say you weren't warned.

Published September 6, 2007 1:39PM (EDT)

Early in the summer, as I prepared to wait all day in order to buy the iPhone, I wrote a peevish little post labeling folks who line up for gadgets "the worst sort of losers." My argument went thusly:

Apple may sell out of its stock this weekend, but there will be more iPhones soon, and they'll be better in nearly every way than the model that goes on sale Friday.... So why line up now?

I hate to say it -- well, actually, I kind of don't mind saying it -- but I was right: Wednesday we saw Apple improve the iPhone, and in the process, the company spanked all of us who waited in line on June 29. Apple didn't improve the iPhone by adding features, but instead by taking away $200 from its price tag, and by putting out a new device -- the iPod Touch -- that gives many people a lot of what they wanted back in June while not requiring them to sign up for something they might not have cared for (two years of AT&T service).

Lucky me, I returned my $600 iPhone two weeks after it came out. But among the people who stuck with it, some are hopping mad. Press reports from across the land suggest steam gushing out of the ears of iPhone early adopters. "I feel like I have been ripped off by Apple," one woman tells USA Today. "They should give all the early adopters a gift card of $200 to use in an Apple store."

Some may have a chance of redress. CEO Steve Jobs tells USA Today that customers who bought their iPhones this week should go back to the store for a cheaper version; the Apple Store offers price matching for discounts that occur within ten days after your purchase. As the Unofficial Apple Weblog points out, several credit card companies also offer such price protection. Meanwhile, some early buyers report getting rebates after complaining to AT&T.

Good luck getting what you can get, but if you get nothing back from Apple, early adopters, don't pretend to be surprised -- and stop whining, would you? Of course Apple is improving the iPhone. Did you think it wouldn't? As Jobs tells USA Today, "That's what happens with technology."

You knew you were paying a premium to be first; now you see how high that premium was (a third more than everybody else). Sure, you're surprised it's that much. We all are. But you knew buying the iPhone, like buying any new technology, was a gamble. The thing could have been a disaster; instead, it was great. Only thing was, you paid too much.

Yeah, you got hosed. But consider this a lesson: Next time, wait. Don't be the first buyer. Just don't. I know you love these things. I do too. But hold off at least six months until after the thing comes out. It's guaranteed not to get any worse, and there's a very good chance it'll get better, either in price or functionality.

That's always what happens. Prices comes down, features go up, and the guy who bought yesterday turns out to be a chump. Don't be the chump.

By Salon Staff

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