Wednesday, October 2, 2013

iPhones, iPads and iPods--Necesssity or Luxery?

iPhones, iPads and iPods--Necessity or Luxery?

My perspective is that of a very active retired individual.  I realize it would probably be different if I were still actively working or in school. However, there are millions of people in a similar situation to mine.

I purchased an iPad about two months ago. I have taken three classes.  I have had an android smart phone about three years, and have been using computers regularly since around 1984.  I actually took a Fortran IV class around 1970 in the days of punch card compilers.  For those of you younger than about 50, Fortran was a programming language used mostly in the business world which specialized in mathematical calculations.  I am by no means a "Techy"; but have at least a passable knowledge of computers.

When I read in the newspapers earlier this week that Apple had replaced Coca Cola as the #1 brand name, I thought about my iPad and what a magnificent job Apple has done in marketing their products.  In many ways I think my wife and I are very typical purchasers of Apple products such as iPads and iPods.  To a great degree, I think we purchase them because it is a "status" symbol and/or to keep up with our peers.  Somehow it isn't the same saying that I have a new Microsoft Surface or Google Nexus, as it is saying "I have a new iPad"!  That gets people's attention.  I find the iPad a fun devise.  I really enjoy viewing my photos on it because of it's great resolution.  My wife has downloaded some books on it; but she already had a Nook that would do that.  However, do I really need it to do my genealogy, my banking, communicating or other functions.  So far I would say the answer is a resounding--NO!

When I go to the library to do research I prefer the larger screen and keyboard of the laptop to that of the iPad, even though I have the separate bluetooth iPad keyboard.  I am leaving on vacation tomorrow and will primarily use my laptop for e-mail, blogging and genealogy research.  I am taking the iPad, in the hopes I might find it will come in handy.  I will try and keep an open mind; but am not overly optimistic that I will come back with a changed viewpoint.  

My wife has been bugging me for a new smartphone, preferably an iPhone, even though see uses only the most basic features of her current phone.  Why does she need an iPhone--because Apple has done such a great job marketing their brand name!  Somehow we become smarter and more "with it" if we have an Apple product.  From what little I know, some of the Android phones are as good or, maybe, better than comparable iPhones. However, that doesn't resonate with many of the buying public; they want the name recognition of the Apple product, even if they have to pay more for it.  You can definitely see this in our teenage grandchildren.

As I mentioned in the beginning, if I were still working today; I would probably have a different perspective as to the usefulness of many of today's electronic gadgets; but, so far, I think most of them are much more in the "nice to have" category than the "need to have".  I do, however, give Apple great credit for producing very good products and having created a brand name recognition second to none.