Am I a Pathetic Late Adopter, or Just a Curmudgeon?

Lynne Kiesling

I pride myself on being a version 2.0 adopter, an early-but-not-bleeding edge adopter. I’m also a happy Mac user. Why, therefore, have I (of all people!) not bought an iPhone?

Grant McCracken’s recent musings on his newly-acquired iPhone are what prompt my question:

The question is “what took me so long?” My wife has owned an iPhone for months and she loves it. Friends rave about it. But I would not budge. The problem, I think, is that for me Apple products have an air of specialness about them. I don’t resent this air. I just feel that it doesn’t belong to me. I prefer to think of myself as a “plain style” kind of guy. (This may be a way of saying “I’m special” because, “behold, I am not special.” It wouldn’t be the first time a social vocabulary has coded “x” as “not x.” Protestants, they’re just plain sneaky.)

I don’t have that excuse; the Apple design aesthetic sits so squarely inside of my preferences that it’s spooky.

Why don’t I have an iPhone? Because I hold incumbent monopoly grudges for a long time, and I refuse to give AT&T my business. I’m not so attached to mobile telephony that I can overcome the disutility I associate with doing business with the former 800-pound gorilla, and when I’ve done business with them in the past for wireless, I’ve been less than thrilled with the service (and they are my local wires provider at home, so you can just imagine how thrilled I am about that …).

I tell you this not to reveal how mean-spirited I can be and how long I can hold grudges, but to raise a question about new technology adoption when the new technology is bundled in with other parts of the value chain. Even if you’ve got the lates, greatest, must-have app or device, if you bundle it exclusively with something that at least some part of your target market dislikes, you are going to suppress adoption.

I am holding out for either the unlocking of the iPhone, iPhones being offered by other providers (not that they’re all that great), and/or the adaptation of Apple’s design features in other phones from other manufacturers. If that makes me a late adopter here, so be it.


4 thoughts on “Am I a Pathetic Late Adopter, or Just a Curmudgeon?

  1. you should try to convince yourself that they’re just the new Cingular, instead of the old AT&T.

  2. As a legacy MCI guy I understand your disdain for ATT, but I soooo love my iPhone. My problem is with the network. Too many dropped calls in Chicago and too many dropped calls in DC and Baltimore. Lynne, with your travel schedule, I’d wait.

    I know that isn’t as emotionally satisfying as a grudge, but hey it is savvy.

  3. As a legacy MCI guy I understand your disdain for ATT, but I soooo love my iPhone. My problem is with the network. Too many dropped calls in Chicago and too many dropped calls in DC and Baltimore. Lynne, with your travel schedule, I’d wait.

    I know that isn’t as emotionally satisfying as a grudge, but hey it is savvy.

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