Are you an early adopter?

The new Apple laptops sure are gorgeous.  I can’t justify a new laptop right now, but they’re sweet enough that I may finally make the jump over to the Mac world with my next computer. Of all the computers I’ve owned, I’ve never had a Mac, although my first computer was an Apple IIc.

In general, I don’t think of myself as an early adopter. I can (and do) ooh and ah over the iPhone, but my actual cell phone is about 4 years old, and running on pre-paid minutes from t-mobile — $100 buys you 1000 minutes, which lasts me for about a year.

But we did get a Wii the first day it went on sale. And we were early adopters of TiVo — although we got it because a friend
had bought it, and was then moving to Ireland, so he sold the machine
to us.

I think the distinction for me is whether a new gadget does something fundamentally new and different, or if it’s an improvement over something I already have.  If it’s the later, and what I have is working, I find it hard to justify forking over the money for the latest and greatest…

That said, our big family holiday gift this year was that we upgraded our tivo to
HD.  TiVo successfully hooked us by allowing people to transfer their lifetime plans to a new machine — but only for a limited period.  I feel manipulated, or something. 

So, are you an earlier adopter?  Or do you never pay attention to the hot new thing?  For everything, or only some things?  And if you’re selective, how do you decide?

10 Responses to “Are you an early adopter?”

  1. hypatia cade Says:

    I think I’m a middle of the road adopter. I adopt early at work and much slower when it’s my own money I’m shelling out. What I was really hoping for from Mac was a Tablet Mac. Not yet. I hope my laptop makes it another 6 months at which point I’ll decide…. Tablet PC? iMac? who knows….

  2. Jennifer Says:

    I think I’m mostly an early adopter (my parents bought an Apple II when they first came out, and we were the first people I know to have a computer in our main living area – that’s increasingly common), but I think these days its also about software – a blogger like you is an early adopter by definition, I think.
    Mind you, I just bought my very first ipod (the first mp3 player I’ve owned), which makes me a late adopter, as well.

  3. jen Says:

    I’m too much of an engineer to be an early adopter based on design alone. I, for example, saw the piece on the new Mac laptops and immediately thought, I bet its hard drive placement is such that it can’t be removed. And if that’s the case, that means one good solid drop of that machine and you might very well lose all your data in addition to your whole computer. Undoubtedly an expensive machine to maintain. But that’s the case with most extremely compact machines.
    The Pew Center has an interesting quiz you can take to determine your internet (and by extension, technology in general) usage profile at . I took it a while ago and came up as “lackluster veteran”, which really says it all.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    I don’t think being a blogger makes me an early adopter — I came to blogging in August 2004, which is probably a good two years too late to be considered an early adopter of the technology. And I have Word 97 running on my home computer, because nothing they’ve introduced in the last decade has justified the cost of the upgrade for me. (If my office goes over to the new version with non-backwards compatible formating, I’ll probably have to bite the bullet and do it.)
    On the other hand, we’re looking at LED lighting for the new kitchen, which would put us on the bleeding edge of that technology. And that’s actually making me very unhappy — I think it’s a good choice, but I’d really rather not be the guinea pig for our contractor’s first experience with it.

  5. Christine Says:

    I am an adopter for certain things, but not for gadgets. I did get a Prius somewhat early and the IPhone when it came out. However, I was in the market for a new phone and car. I am now in the market for a laptop and will probably be buying the new apple.

  6. landismom Says:

    I think I’m a middle-adopter. I’m much more likely to adopt something new if it’s free (ie–gmail) than if it costs several hundred dollars (ie–iPhone).
    I’ve resisted buying a new phone, though, because I reeeaaaallly want an iPhone. I just can’t justify the expense.

  7. Anjali Says:

    We don’t have a tivo, I don’t know what wii is, and I just got my first decent cell phone a few months ago.
    But my current laptop is dying, and as soon as I can afford one, the first thing I’m going to get is that new Mac laptop. And I’ve never owned a Mac before, either.

  8. gerette Says:

    I’m a late-ish adopter married to a VERY early adopter, though budget tends to trump all since we had our children. We’ve had Tivo for 4-5 years now–and have a second one upstairs–but we’re waiting to upgrade to the HD Tivo until we have more $$$. No iPhone yet, but we have about 5-6 iPods around this house from first generation through latest generation.
    In terms of the Mac, I’ve been a Mac user pretty much since I was using computers. In the late 80s, my brother was a CPA for Peat Marwick (now KPMG) and had as his “laptop” the second generation Macs. Now days I run my design business off of a 15″ PowerBook Pro. As slick as the new Mac is, even if I hadn’t just bought a new Mac a few months ago, I would still buy a PowerBook Pro–I’ve been using a 12″ screen for the past four years and I really need a bigger screen. However, if it were just a personal machine and not for business, it would be nice to get one that thin.
    And in terms of switching from PCs, my husband has already decided that after going PC about 6-7 years ago, he’s ready to come back to the Mac fold–though he’ll still run Windows on it. Oh well, better than nothing. ;)

  9. Jackie Says:

    I’m another commenter in a mixed marriage, I guess. My husband is on his second iPod and second Treo, and was the one who convinced me to switch to Mac, and is the reason we switched to digital cable and on Demand also.
    I don’t own an mp3 player, don’t know how to use iTunes, refuse to learn text messaging. But also, I’ve been blogging for almost exactly five years, currently maintain two blogs, and am a big Facebook user, which I’m teaching a class about this spring.
    I’m into tech stuff, I guess, but like landismom, nothing I have to spend money on.

  10. Laura Says:

    We did the same thing with Tivo HD this year because we’d bought our original with lifetime subscription in 2003. So that was early. I hopped on Google docs when it was Writely. I was using newsgroups really early. But I got on the blogging bandwagon in 2003. If I’d been doing it in 2001 (which I almost did), I’d be an early adopter there. Time and money are big factors for us. I almost got an iPhone this year, but our phones are newish. I have had a couple of moments recently where I wish I’d had one, so maybe we’ll scrape together the cash soon.
    According to that Pew quiz mentioned above, I think I fell into the second category of people. That is, I let the early adopters work out the kinks and then I jump in, ahead of the mainstream, but not by much.

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