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Applause, Please, for Early Adopters

WHY would anyone rush to buy a product knowing full well that it would be cheaper — and probably better — in a matter of months?

Hundreds of thousands of iPad buyers did just that last month. Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, crowed that in the first 28 days on the market, Apple sold one million iPads. He found it remarkable that buyers snatched up this new slate computer at twice the fervid pace of the first iPhone.

But what is truly remarkable about this surge in consumption is that early adopters — those who simply have to own a new gadget right away — cheerfully exhibited what might seem to be irrational behavior. These ardent consumers will stand in long lines, if that’s what it takes, to get an overpriced gadget ahead of everyone else they know.

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