Opulent Obsolescence: 8 Ridiculously Expensive Outdated Gadgets
By Seth Porges, Popular Mechanics, 30 August 2012.
By Seth Porges, Popular Mechanics, 30 August 2012.
The very rich: They have different gadgets than you or I. Somewhere someone is spending thousands of dollars on landline telephones, turntables, dumb phones, and other out-dated tech.
Basis Audio Inspiration Turntable
So you think this turntable's Volvo-like price tag is ridiculous? Well, the Inspiration is actually billed as a more accessible alternative to Basis Audio's $150,000 Work of Art turntable model.
According to the Basis Audio website, the designers behind the pricier model entered into a "musical withdrawal" after realizing that no other product would ever match the "magic of the Work of Art." Seriously. Eventually, they pulled themselves out of despondency and put out this model for the masses.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "A revelatory audio experience. Music lovers comment that listening becomes a musical event more than listening session. No other turntable/tonearm combination convinces the listener in this way."
Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 2
Today's smartphones can do a million different things. The Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 2 can do exactly two things: make phone calls and let the world know that you're rich. The phone features a weird two-column keypad. If you're used to the traditional phone keypad, you can kiss your muscle memory goodbye. But, hey, it's pretty!
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "BeoCom 2 challenges conventional assumptions about telephone design. Crafted from a single piece of aluminium, it sits naturally in the hand, while its gentle curve matches the shape of the human face."
You could surely drop hundreds or thousands on an antique typewriter with which to write cranky letters to the editor. But we actually dig this Etsy project, in which Philly-based inventor Jack Zylkin transformed antique typewriters into iPad-ready USB keyboards. The coolest feature: You can actually use the typewriter as a typewriter while also using it to digitally record your keystrokes on your computer or tablet. Cool! He even sells DIY conversion kits, in case you want to upgrade your own dusty typing tool.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "A ground-breaking advancement in the field of obsolescence!"
4. Black-and-White Camera
Leica M Monochrome
We have no doubt that this black-and-white camera is beautiful and produces beautiful pictures. It just takes a certain type of someone to plop down 8 g's on a camera that is utterly incapable of capturing colour. Still, this camera is probably fantastic at bringing out the pathos in us all.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "It is the first full-frame, 35 mm format digital camera to be designed exclusively and without any compromises for black-and-white photography. It delivers ‘true' black-and-white images in unrivalled sharpness and dynamic range."
5. CD Player
Burmester Audiosystem Reference Line CD Player 069
Audiophiles are known for dropping extra cash for the sorts of specs that are meaningless to most of us. We just don't tend to think of them doing it for CD players. Nevertheless, Burmester offers this "extraordinary sounding" CD player for more money than some people make in a year. The key to the sound, and the cost: a belt drive that holds the CD totally even, eliminating all vibration. Good to know someone is still worried about CDs skipping.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "The Reference Line CD player 069 combines brand-new technologies with the well-established belt-drive system, invented by Burmester. The result is an extraordinary sounding CD player, which demonstrates the peak of what can be realized on the highest possible level."
6. Corded Computer Mouse
The World's Most Expensive Computer Mouse
Sometimes an insane price tag is an end all in itself. Take this glittery gizmo, which Fabstuff gleefully bills as "The World's Most Expensive Computer Mouse." The basis of this cost: The mouse is "cast from 18 carat white gold and with 59 brilliant diamonds made from the finest ingredients." Our sweaty palms have no business near this thing.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "The white gold is rhodinized. The galvanic coating with rhodium, another metal from the platinum family, gives the white gold its characteristic colour. 58 brilliant diamonds with a diameter of 2mm and 1 brilliant diamond with a diameter of 4mm are separately set to form a lily - the Diamond Flower!"
Stealth Arcade Table
Sure, an Xbox 360 costs less than one-tenth as much as this arcade table, but we can't help but feel a sort of fondness for this space-age update to the old-school arcade table, which comes preloaded with 60 classic games. After all, you can't rest your pizza on an Xbox midmatch. And nobody ever said nostalgia is cheap.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "A German-designed sleek and sexy contemporary product to complement the most stylish space station interiors."
Vertu Signature Precious
If you thought an iPhone was expensive, we would like to introduce you to the bizarre world of luxury cell phones. For tens of thousands of dollars, companies such as Vertu will sell you gold-and-diamond-encrusted hand pieces that inexplicably come loaded with tech of yester-decade.
Case in point: the Vertu Signature Precious [Video]. This model may be awash in a "sea of sapphire," but it has no camera, no GPS, no Android, and no iOS. It would seem the one percent has no use for Angry Birds. Another problem: Even if we had the cash, we'd have a hard time spending it on something we're likely to spill a drink on or leave behind at a bar.
Highfalutin language used to justify price tag: "All the ringtones available on the new Signature are taken from a piece of music composed exclusively for Vertu by the Academy Award winning composer Dario Marianelli. The composition was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and all the flute solos were performed by Andrea Griminelli, one of the world's leading flautists."
[Source: Popular Mechanics. Edited. Some links added.]