Power Marketplace’s public service journalism 💙 Give Now

Resisting the iPhone, at all costs

Marketplace Contributor Apr 27, 2012

Tess Vigeland: Rob’s reporting included a fascinating video from inside the Foxconn factory. It shows, among other things, how an iPad is assembled and tested. The iPad is the device that dominated Apple’s earnings headlines for the first quarter. But it turns out the iPhone is the real moneymaker.

Apple said this week that it sold 35 million of them in the first three months of the year. That news will be no surprise to commentator Tim Bedore.

Tim Bedore: My 14-year-old daughter Claire is absolutely rabid for an iPhone. For two years she has pestered me. First, out of sheer envy; her friends had iPhones, she wanted one too. I said “No. You don’t need one… and they’re expensive.”

After months of just wanting an iPhone not working, she tried a different tack. “Dad, if we both got iPhones, we’d reduce the cost per phone. It has GPS, the Internet. It’d be a big help for you on the road.” She was bribing me by saying if she gets an iPhone, I could get one, too. I said, “No, but thanks for thinking of me. The phone I have works just fine.” And for the hundredth time, I added, “iPhones are too expensive.”

Undaunted, Claire then petitioned three different aunts to join some family plan, which reduces the cost per phone even further. By that time, I was dead set against it just because she so wanted it — and especially because she was trying wear me down through badgering. “Stop asking for an iPhone,” I said, “Or I’m going to take away your iPad,” which I rationalized would help her with her homework.

You know what she did do with her iPad? Make a really slick multi-media presentation on the wonders of the iPhone. Claire showed it to me when I got back from a road trip and it was very impressive. She overcame her shyness about public speaking and delivered a professional, polished appeal on the virtues of the iPhone.

At the end, this clincher: “Dad, for $10 you could buy this accessory that swipes credit cards and sell more CDs after your shows to people who don’t have cash. If you sold just 40 more CDs per year, that would pay for the difference in what our current cell phone plan costs.”

She figured out how to make one iPhone pay for hers and mine. It seems almost un-American to not reward this stroke of entrepreneurial genius. Yet, I still haven’t pulled the trigger. Claire has her nose in too many screens as it is, and this is another peer-group-gotta-have-it-consumers-gone-wild thing I don’t want to give into.

But on that road trip, I did have to call home from the car, so my wife could get on the Internet and direct me to the venue I was not finding on my own. As Claire pointed out in her Madison Avenue presentation, I could have done that for myself with the iPhone I should get for her — and for me.

Vigeland: Tim Bedore does stand-up comedy in Minneapolis.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.