Tech savvy or financially sound?

The craze for today’s latest technology

Leah Ching

It’s difficult to deny that we live in an age dominated by technological advances and technologically crazed people. From smart pens and smart watches to computers, gaming consoles and tablets – today’s consumer is willing to spend thousands of dollars to acquire the latest trending gadgets. In true consumerist fashion, an estimated 1200 people lined up for the media covered release of the iPhone 6 at Toronto’s Eaton Center Mall. The dedication of these technology fans is taken even further, with higher numbers of people in line in New York and some paying as much as $250 to get a better spot.

This may seem ridiculous to some of us with mounting student loans and part-time jobs, but it’s not uncommon for people to pay a hefty price to acquire a new iPhone. The lowest model is currently retailing at a $750 in Canada, a moderate price in comparison to higher end models. Cell Shop Expert Darren Vaithilingam at Future Shop says, “It’s just ingrained in our culture to want the latest cell phones and technology: it’s part of our generation. Every generation growing up had things they sought after.” Many would agree that this is undoubtedly true. Part of the lure of new technology is its capacity to make one’s life easier and help to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Every new Apple product seems to feature improvements from the last: fingerprint scanners, better quality cameras and smarter intelligence assistants that allow us to talk directly to our phones.

But is all this spending really a good idea? Second year social-work student Tessa DeBruyne uses the famous idiom to describe our justification for shelling out so much cash: “It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses and the fear of missing out.”

The famous German economist and philosopher Karl Marx warned that capitalism’s high value on unnecessary luxury products would lead to “inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary appetites.” It’s hard to deny Marx’s logic considering the surge in demands for the iPhone 6 upon its release. One consumer dashed out a hefty $1900 on eBay to be one of the first to have the new phone. However, some skeptics might argue that these early purchasers really only earn bragging rights and a few weeks’ extra time with their new toy by standing in lines for hours and paying large sums of money online to acquire these new technologies.

Other than the glaring financial costs, buying tech early may have other disadvantages. Consider the widespread complaints highlighted in the media about the unintended ‘bending’ of the iPhone 6 Plus. This is highlighted alongside software glitches in the newly released Apple operating system iOS 8. Students looking to buy might save themselves a bit of stress by waiting for companies to sort out the defects in their new products.

A good method of evaluation is to consider if having the latest tech a real need, or one invented through clever advertising campaigns. In contemporary society, we can only enjoy the best luxuries for the biggest prices but we are still driven constantly to buy more and have the latest. Is the iPhone 6 that much better than it’s predecessor? Delve into the research and decide for yourself.




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