Baby's Got Mac

September 10, 2007: 10:49 AM ET

iphone_home.gifI suppose it would be germane for me to point out, after all the Applemaniacs got so upset on Friday, that I am devoted to the Apple (AAPL) universe and reside, not on the DOS-based dark side but with the MacForce.

At this moment I own: a 17-inch Mac Book Pro, a 12-inch PowerBook G4, a big old 24-inch iMac, fully loaded, and a little Mac mini with a big remote hard drive and a 21-inch screen. I will never go back to PCs, not after my experience of losing two machines in one quarter to the vicious nerds who troll Windows-land with malware.

I make fun of Mr. Jobs for only two reasons, 1) because he deserves to be made fun of for overpricing his cute little toy and giving so many regular people the droolies, and 2) in my opinion, he should have given back $200, not $100 to reward his early adopters.

He's not the only one to have thrown the entire intellectual framework for early adoption into question. There's this club in downtown Manhattan not far from where I work. I'm not going to give its name because sometimes I like to eat there and they treat me well. One time, when they were trolling for members, I actually got a free dinner. So I'm not going to be mean to them.

But when they got started, they sent out an invitation package that looked like a cross between a college application and an invitation to a Grimaldi wedding. A membership could be had -- for early applicants only! -- for as little as $100,000!

Wow, I thought. That's a lot of money. The place wasn't even built yet. To be one of the first to be a member, though, that would be something. For some reason, possibly the cost of two college educations, I didn't pony up the dough. A few years passed. The place opened. It was popular, you know, but not an absolute must-have for the fatuous fabulositors. I started hearing that the club would comp anybody in the public eye who wanted to join. One writer I know occupied a permanent table there all of a sudden, and word was he was totally in for gratis just because of the panache he brought to the establishment. Then I heard one could join the club for, like, thirty grand. It didn't make me want to join. Not yet. But who knows? When membership falls to $2,500 maybe I'll spring for it. They have a nice bar and an attractive wait staff. One time I think I saw Ron Perelman there, even. So there's that.

My point is, what do you think the six or seven idiots who coughed up six figures for that evanescent bubble of exclusivity feel right now? I'll tell you. They feel bad.

This past summer there was a concert in the Hamptons on Long Island, a phalanx of getaway communities that cater to people who can barely keep from floating away due to the gas buildup in their egos. And one day a promoter there came up with the idea of a very exclusive concert and dinner series featuring Billy Joel, James Taylor, Prince, like that. Tickets for the lucky few who would get to attend were slated at $15,000.  I believe dinner might have been included.

Incredibly, far fewer than that limited run of 1,000 individuals showed up to extrude that sum of money, so by the time the Billy Joel event actually happened, a whole slew of people were rumored to be comped to the event, including the daughter of a mogul I know and several others. Good for them! A comp of that calibre is a joy forever.

Still, if I were one of those who bought into the whole extortion-for-status transaction, I'd feel gypped. 

So that and that only was my point. A hundred bucks does little to repair the wounded pride of all those who stood on line and paid the full freight in exchange for the boost in self-image early possession implied. In fact, even $200 seems sort of limp at this juncture. Why not $250? Or $300 and a next-gen iPod? Hey! Come to think of it, how about an extra $50 to everybody who declares their intention to purchase an iPhone in calendar 2008? Or a couple of free downloads, even!

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