Apple Jumps on the ‘Fast Obsolescence’ Train!

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Apple Jumps on the 'Fast Obsolescence' Train! Listen to this article

Apple Jumps on the 'Fast Obsolescence' Train!

Not long ago, I took Android makers HTC and Motorola to task for how they handle their customers – they quickly roll out and refresh new products and seldom keep the prior models up to date with OS updates.

In that post, I cited Apple (and more recently Samsung) as utilizing a more predictable annual refresh cycle that gave customers some comfort that they were getting a product that should be highly competitive for a year until the next version comes out (and honestly, it is only recently that the first generation iPad is showing its age around my house).

Well, that ended yesterday, as the ‘new iPad’ was obsoleted by the ‘new’ new iPad – ‘Just as stunning, twice as fast’.

Is it worth getting? Well, if you don’t have one yet – YES! The current iPad is excellent, and this update adds the faster A6 processor and a better FaceTime camera (and the Lightning connector).

But if you DO already have one, there is little reason to update. You get the changes noted and nothing else. Assuming you could sell your 3rd gen iPad for 50% value, that leaves the other 50% – and then you will need Lightning port adapters.

But more importantly: does introducing another new iPad 7 months after the last one and breaking the annual cycle screw existing customers? No.

If you go to any Apple forum, you will see thread after thread (after thread) complaining about …well, everything. But in particular the feeling of ‘betrayal’ at the 7 months the iPad was ‘top dog’ before the 4th gen came along.

I have some advice – get over it! Some Apple stores are allowing returns up to 30 days on recent iPad purchases to allow users to trade in, but everyone else is just suffering the typical feeling of ‘I bought something and now there is a better one’. First world problems.

Think about it – did you really expect Apple to go into the holidays with an iPad with a 30-pin connector? And did you expect them to update only the connector? The ‘bump’ Apple gave puts the iPad way out in front of the competition, where it will remain through the holidays – so it streamlines the product offerings while again leapfrogging the competition.

So here is the question – how do I compare this to what I wrote about before? Well, the first thing is that I am not opposed to a relatively rapid product update cycle. I think Apple was too slow with updates on some of the Powerbook and early Macbook Pro models several years ago, allowing models to become stale before updates. I certainly understand the frustration of those who waited a few months after the iPad came out this year to buy one, and now feel they should have waited a few months more … that is simply the way of technology advancements, we either ‘chase technology’ (but can never catch it), or we buy what we need and accept being left behind at times.

The difference for me is that I can still get cases and accessories and so on for my iPad; and when iOS 7 comes out next year, I have no doubt that my iPad 3 will get the full release with all functionality compatible with the hardware. Come iOS 8 I will likely see more limited coverage, and so on. In other words, I feel supported and appreciated as a customer. With my Android phones, once a new version comes out, no one will stock accessories, nothing new will come out, and it is not very likely that new OS updates will arrive – even if the purpose is security protection or serious bug fixes. In other words, with the iPad I feel my value continues after purchase, whereas with Android I do not (except to Verizon).

My 3rd gen iPad continues to provide me with tremendous capability, and that won’t change. I have no intention of getting the 4th gen, nor do I feel any anger towards Apple – I understand the frustration for some, but I do not share it.

But since I bought the fully tricked out 4G/LTE version, you can be certain I will be watching closely to see if this is a new annual cycle or the start of more rapid updates. Thus far the updates have made sense, with the latest release offering the most incremental shift. I will be looking for a more substantive change for my next upgrade …or the passage of enough time.

What do you think? Did Apple just screw iPad 3 owners? Are they adapting to more rapid product cycles? Let us know!

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!