I upgraded from an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 5s back in September, excited about the world of possibilities a 64-bit chip would open up. As it turns out, aside from unlocking my iPhone with a thumbprint, I’ve barley noticed the difference between the 5s and the iPhone 5 it replaced.
As I sit tapping this piece on my fourth-generation iPad, some of you are reading reviews of the iPad Air from various outlets. I’ve read a few myself. In some, the reviewers rave about the potential the 64-bit A7 chip possesses. Others are in love with the thinner profile and lighter weight. But no one has really come up with a compelling, here-and-now reason for owners of the previous generation to upgrade. I find that telling.
Some of us get sucked into the once-per-year upgrade cycle for smartphones and tablets that simply doesn’t exist for other products. We certainly don’t upgrade our laptops or desktops to the latest and greatest model every year. We don’t need to. Those systems can run for several years without a hitch, and they should for the money we spend on them. Yet we feel that we need to keep up, even though our older devices are far from obsolete.
Look no further than the iPad 2, released back in Spring 2011. Apple is still selling it at the $399 price point, and if you want a 9.7-inch iPad that can run iOS apps at a discount, the iPad 2 is a very serviceable tablet. The fact that this tablet is on sale means that, contrary to what some may believe, older generations of the iPad don’t spontaneously combust on the launch date of the newest model. Yet when we hear “faster,” “better,” etc., we’re ready to plunk down that cash despite the fact that our current models don’t feel slow or sub-par at all.
I think it’s easy to forget that our smartphones and tablets are computers, just like our laptops. When I see someone with a three year-old MacBook Pro, I don’t think anything of it. But when I see an iPhone 4 or an iPad 2, I wonder how the user has gotten by with that old dinosaur. It’s a technology double-standard.
I’ll be sitting out the latest round of iPads. Not that I don’t think they’re fantastic — I do — but I simply don’t have a compelling reason to ditch my fourth-generation model for a new exterior and hardware improvements that I’m not sure will show enough benefits before the NEXT year’s model is out. By then, maybe I’ll be ready to buy.