Blasphemy

I tweeted yesterday that I’m considering not upgrading to the new iPhone when it’s supposedly released next month. For someone as nerdy and into gee-whiz gadgetry as I am, this sounds crazy. Of course I’m going to upgrade to the new model. In actuality, though, my logic for not doing so makes a lot of sense to me.

There are four reasons I probably won’t upgrade this year:

  1. The new features in iOS 6 are all compatible with the 4S.
  2. I’m not eligible for a “full” upgrade with AT&T until May 2013, whatever “full” means.1
  3. Not buying the phone means one less expense, which ultimately more money in my pocket for other, more important things.
  4. Frankly, I’m happy with my 4S; it’s been great for me this past year.

Yet for all that reasoning, the biggest reason I probably will just stick with my 4S is that it feels wrong – no, weird – to upgrade your cell phone every single year. It’s perfectly logical to expect that the iPhone I spent $399 on last October2 will still be more than serviceable for two years. (Hence why cell phone contracts are always generally two years in length.) The “normal”, non-geek crowd usually adheres to this expectation; it’s only us crazy techie folk that update every year because we have this insatiable desire to have the absolute latest and greatest hardware. We upgrade because we live and breathe this tech stuff, and need stuff to write about on blogs like this one and elsewhere. And it is great, no doubt, but it’s definitely not the norm. The nerds are, as usual, the exception.

Given my love of Apple products and technology in general, one would assume my toying with the idea of not upgrading would be out of character. But it really isn’t when you consider:

  • I kept my original iPhone three years, skipping the 3G and the (still around) 3GS models before finally upgrading to the iPhone 4 in 2010.
  • I kept my original iPad I bought when it was released in April 2010 until this past March, when I upgraded to the Retina Display model.
  • My main machine at home is a Late 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook, which I bought soon after Apple introduced unibody engineering. It runs Mountain Lion just fine, though a new Mac will likely be needed next year, as I’m sure 10.9 won’t support Core 2 Duo chips. (Of note, my MacBook is so dated that it shipped with 10.5 Leopard.)

So, yeah, the possibility of me of skipping this year’s iPhone isn’t all that surprising.

For all the rationale being spewed here for not upgrading, the truth is I did include a caveat in my tweet yesterday. What I said was that I wouldn’t upgrade unless the new iPhone had some mind-blowing, epically awesome feature(s). In fact, I was prepared to skip the 4S last year until Scott Forstall demoed Siri; after seeing that, I had to have the new phone. That being said, I probably shouldn’t count my proverbial chickens before they hatch, and so boldly proclaim that I’m not upgrading this time, larger screen and LTE be damned. I could just write it off as my birthday present to myself this year, but that’d be taking the easy way out, and everything I’ve written in this piece would all be just a bunch of philosophical, soapbox-y bullshit.

We’ll see if I stay true to my word on September 12.


  1. Although, AT&T did say I’m eligible for a “discounted” upgrade, whatever that means.  ↩

  2. I opted for the high-end model with 64GB of storage.  ↩