This morning, it happened again. As I walked out from the Apple Store – which I’d only visited to replace a faulty iPhone, honestly – I caught a glimpse of the iPad 2. And I knew with absolute certainty that I would have to have one.
Yes, even though it’s only ten months since I bought my iPad 1. Yes, even though the iPad 2 is only a little faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, with practically no additional functionality. Yes, even though I’ve no need for the built-in camera since my iPhone 4 has a much better one. And yes, even though I don’t use my current iPad all that much.
When the craving comes, I know that resistance is useless. I will simply have to give into it, and give into it soon. Then I’ll be sated for a year, until Apple releases another model. But as of 5pm tomorrow, the mere availability of a better iPad than mine will become an affront to me. Whenever I am waiting for a webpage to load, it’ll occur to me that I would have saved precious fractions of a second if I had only upgraded. And that will bother me.
Is this what it’s like for serial killers?
But, but – they now come with Smart Covers! Which attach with magnets! And if you lift them up, the iPad will switch itself on automatically. Automatically! I definitely need that. Previously, I had to press the “on” button!
As you may have gathered, the concept of “need” isn’t really one I’m able to apply to these situations. I’m reasonably good at resisting luxury and fashion, but not technology. My general rule is that if I can think of a concrete reason why something will make my life better, and can kind of afford it, then I’ll get it. The justification can be a pretty sketchy one, like when I upgraded a MacBook just to get more disk space for my music collection. But with the iPad 2, I simply can’t think of a reason why I should upgrade other than because I can. And to be frank, that scares me a little.
There are worse things to be addicted to than Apple, mind you. You can’t resell cigarettes or alcohol a year down the track and get back most of what you paid for them. I figure the difference between the new and old iPad will be around $300, and in the scheme of things, that’s not that much to pay for something that will give me a year of genuine, if embarrassing, enjoyment. At least until it’s upgraded and I immediately shun it.
Oh, come on – you could easily spend $300 on a big night out. Well, a big night out with Charlie Sheen, maybe.
Do you pity me? Sometimes I pity myself, to be honest. Except that pretty soon, I’ll have an iPad 2, and you probably won’t, and that will make me a fundamentally better person than you.
I was relieved to discover, however, that this illness affects some people even more dramatically than me. As I left the store, there was already a queue of four people, 30 hours before sales were due to start at 5pm tomorrow. Most absurdly of all, the guy at the head of the five people waiting already had one.
It was white and he had it on his lap, just so we all knew it was a new one. I later discovered that he was only doing it to beat his own record of 32 hours, and will chalk up a total of 50 hours in the queue.
Which made me feel delightfully sane, because I wouldn’t queue more than three or four hours. Five tops.
Now, I know that as I swipe my credit card in their fancy little machine, I’ll think about all the better things I could be doing with the money. I’ll think about all the unfortunate people in the world who can’t even afford an old-model iPod touch. I’ll feel like a sucker, a shallow consumerist, and a geek. But I’ll still go through with it.
Many wise people have pointed out that it would be sensible to wait until iPad 3. But here’s the thing – I will be. From the moment I get my hands on my iPad 2.