Is the Burton iPod Jacket worth it?

by Gregory Ng Jan 09, 2003

imageI 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.

Exclusivity Factor
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.

Note to Apple: If you want to send me one of these hot items, my email address is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I am a size XL.

Comments

  • I wouldn’t buy it but my brother who snowboards would. Besides, haven’t we as Apple users grown more accustomed to spending more than everyone else anyways? Why would we expect anything less in Apple apparel? This is a snowboarding jacket, not a winter leisure coat. From what I understand, this jacket with the new softswitch fabric technology is a reasonable price.

    contrloptionme had this to say on Jan 09, 2003 Posts: 6
  • i don’t know. 500 bucks for a jacket for a 500 dollar ipod seems pretty ridiculous to me…add in some decent headphones (the ones that come with the ipod are horrible) and your walking around with over 1000 bucks of equipment just to listen to music?! Should get surround sound with dvd for that kind of cash.

    bobby had this to say on Jan 09, 2003 Posts: 15
  • A reader directed me to this site, [url=http://www.analogsnowboarding.com]http://www.analogsnowboarding.com[/url] Analog Snowboarding is owned by Burton and they have a jacket called the AG MD Clone Jacket which holds the Sony MiniDisc player and uses the same SoftSwitch technology. They only made 100 of these and it costs $1000. Does SoftSwitch not have the resources to produce these in large quantities or are they just testing the market. I guess with a $500 pricetag with the Burton Amp, it means they made 200 of them?

    Thanks MB for the scoop.

    Gregory Ng had this to say on Jan 10, 2003 Posts: 54
  • What Greg hasn’t included is the cost of a Goretex jacket.

    He has allocated $200 for your jacket, you aren’t going to get Goretex for that money. You may not want or need Goretex, but that’s what the Burton jacket is made of.

    If you are going to spend all day outside in different kinds of weather (skiing or hiking for example), you *will* want Goretex

    Another thing about Goretex, it wears like iron, so my 6 year old Goretex jacket looks almost like new. I’ve been thru several other jackets in that time.

    Goretex runs $16 a yard, compared with $4-$8 a yard for plain old nylon. Check Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics; [url=http://www.owfinc.com]http://www.owfinc.com[/url] It’s a lot more expensive for the manufacturers to use

    example:
    Mountain Hardwear Ethereal FTX Parka - Men’s
    $440.00 Item656734 at rei.com.

    look around, yes you can buy them cheaper, but $400-$450 isn’t out of line for a Goretex jacket

    after which $50 goes towards the “ipodyness” of the whole jacket. sign me up.

    spenny
    (I don’t work for Goretex or any outdoor store, I just like spending time outside)

    Spencer Norcross had this to say on Jan 10, 2003 Posts: 1
  • The other thing that wasn’t noted is what the warranty coverage on this jacket is.  For example, when I pay US$400+ for a Northface Ice Climbing Jacket I expect it to be replaced if it fails - and as a matter of fact it has been - TWICE in 5 years, no questions asked.

    What type of warranty does this jacket have for the new fangled tech?

    razorjack had this to say on Jan 12, 2003 Posts: 3
  • I got my I-Pod jacket for about $370 from http://www.pitcrewskateboards.com/ and it came with a year warranty.  lucky for me it stopped working a month before the warranty was up.  The thing is that I still have not got my jacket back after more than 2 weeks and im going snowboarding in a day.  Also when I called burton about my jacket when it first stopped working,  I couldnt find my paper work and so I told them that it was older than a year ; they said dont send it in cuz they would not fix it.  then i found my paper work and it turns out that i realy had 3 weeks to send it in under the warranty.  But the I-Pod jacket is the best jacket i have ever had, and is not to hot or cold.  The soft switch is two small for when you have gloves on or mits on. Its like trying to type with gloves on - fu*ked up!  Well thats it for now.

    dougiefresh108 had this to say on Jan 16, 2005 Posts: 2
  • I got my I-Pod jacket for about $370 from http://www.pitcrewskateboards.com/ and it came with a year warranty.  lucky for me it stopped working a month before the warranty was up.  The thing is that I still have not got my jacket back after more than 2 weeks and im going snowboarding in a day.  Also when I called burton about my jacket when it first stopped working,  I couldnt find my paper work and so I told them that it was older than a year ; they said dont send it in cuz they would not fix it.  then i found my paper work and it turns out that i realy had 3 weeks to send it in under the warranty.  But the I-Pod jacket is the best jacket i have ever had, and is not to hot or cold.  The soft switch is two small for when you have gloves on or mits on. Its like trying to type with gloves on - fu*ked up!  Well thats it for now.

    dougiefresh108 had this to say on Jan 16, 2005 Posts: 2
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment