Hi, my name is Michael and I am a high school student in Oakland, California.
My opinion is that the lust for new technology is most definitely want-based, but we justify our want for these new items through advertising them to others as a need, or to yourself as a “deserve”. I say this from experience and practice, but perhaps others can relate to and understand this as well when I provide the following examples.
You are a young child wanting a new present for your birthday. You see a new video game, or a different non-essential-to-your-continuing-existence object, and you tell your parents that this is what you want for your birthday. Your parents, seeing the price tag, tell you to pick out your favorite book instead. You, confused why your parents would deny the only thing you asked for for your birthday, decide to form a case to your parents to convince them that, no, this video game is not just what you want, it is what you need. Perhaps if you are young enough, one of the basic human ways to advertise this would be to break down in tears at the refusal, but either way, you change your attitude from a simple “I want” to a more complex “I need” to increase your chances of getting this new item. People are often more inclined to listen if it is something you need rather than something you want.
You are a college student who has just taken your last final for the semester. You have a job, but not too much money, and you are constantly in worry of your checks bouncing or your credit dropping. However, you are feeling really great that finals have ended, and you walk pass the campus Apple Store. You see the new iPod, and your mind’s neon sign immediately flashes “I want that”. Your mind then reminds you that you are a poor college student, who has no need for this new iPod, but then your id tries to convince your mind “yes I do”. It would help you study, allow your down time to be more down, and most importantly, that you deserve this, you’ve worked hard all semester for this and it is time to treat yourself. You splurge, and are happy, and try not to think about the end of the month.
While we may not all be able to relate to these fictitious situations, hopefully you can all see that, perhaps indefinitely, the “need” is actually the “want” in sheep’s clothing. Promoting something as a need will often land you the item while admitting it is desire will not. Honestly, there is not much we can do to change this natural human greed, or is there?