Is the Burton iPod Jacket worth it?
I am a music lover. With over 4000 cds and over 1500 lps (pipedown you vinyl diehards) I was the perfect candidate to be an iPod lover. I commute everyday to work by train and my iPod serves 2 functions for me very nicely. First it gives me access to tons of music at my fingertips. Secondly, it drowns out the annoying banter of my fellow commuters. Who has that much to say at 6 in the morning?
I am a longtime iPod lover and recent iPod owner. I drooled over my friend’s iPods for months. I took every chance I got to go to the Apple Store and pick it up and feel the shiny metal in my palm. I saved for months and finally i had enough: $525 (enough for a $499 20GB iPod with 5% sales tax). Immediately it has become an extension of me. I use it almost all day. I do save myself teasing from my co-workers by taking a break from my iPod during lunch. But I keep it in my pocket so I can feel the warmth of the hard drive.
I have about a mile walk to get from my house to the train station every morning and during the winter months here in Boston it can get cold and snowy. To protect my iPod I put it into the inside breast pocket of my coat (close to my heart-right where it belongs). I then snake the remote cord up inside my jacket so the remote pad clips to my shirt collar. Then the earbuds are connected from there and they poke out from the top of my coat zipper. To control my iPod I must zip down my jacket about 5 inches, make my control move, then zip back up. Not a bad system considering the resources I currently have. But the important thing is I hear my music, I can control it, and it is protected. Oh yeah, and I am warm. Warmth is so low-priority compared to good music.
During his keynote address on Tuesday, January 7th 2003, Steve Jobs announced the creation of an iPod compatible jacket made by Burton, a premier snowboarding manufacturer. Named the Burton Amp, it would allow the user to control their iPod on a pad built into the sleeve. I sat at my computer thinking, this is exactly what I need: A warm jacket, perfect for my winters here in the northeast, and made for my iPod. What more could you ask for? I then heard that the jacket was selling for $500. My jaw dropped. My first instinct was it was well-worth the price. After all Mr. Jobs said there were very limited quantities. But after remembering I had just spent $500 on the iPod itself I started to really break this price down. I couldn’t even convince the finance department here at AppleMatters to let me buy the jacket to review it. So I decided to break down the costs to really see if it deserves the $500 pricetag. Here’s what I came up with.
The Utility Factor
You need a jacket or coat in the winter. I’ll say $200 for a good, water-proof jacket. That leaves us with $300 to go.
The Style Factor
Style is relative so I hesitate to assign a dollar amount to it. But Burton is a well-known company in snowboarding gear and they are not a generic brand from K-Mart. So I’ll give the style factor another $50. Ok, $250 to go.
The Technology Factor
What would be the cost for me to take a $200 jacket I just bought, cut a hole in the sleeve, and feed my remote through it. Sew a water-proof piece of clear plastic on top and I’m done right? Well according to Burton, “By collaborating with SOFTswitch, an innovative company that makes fabrics touch sensitive and interactive, we were able integrate a textile data strip directly into the fabric of the jacket sleeve.” This is the X factor. You just can’t beat new technology, let’s give it another $100 for technology i don’t understand. Seem fair? $150 to go.
I like to be the one with the latest and greatest but I am not sure I buy the whole Limited Quantities line. How do we know Apple doesn’t have 100 million units stashed somewhere? And if it was limited and did sell like gangbusters, don’t you think Apple would make a ton more. No extra points here. Still holding at $150 to go.
So that leaves us with $150 left. That means by my calculations, the jacket is only worth $350. I would pay that. Please understand, I have not tried one of these on. It could very well be the best thing since MP4. But right now, if I had $500 laying around, I would buy another 20GB iPod.