There’s a popular belief among tech enthusiasts that you must own the latest thing. If there’s a new tablet, you must upgrade; a new laptop, upgrade; camera, upgrade. It’s not a mindset exclusive to technology. People like buying new stuff, whether it be a car or vacuum or clothes or whatever, rather than keeping what they have.
Chalk it up to the fear of missing out.
When it comes to smartphones, it’s not unusual for someone to upgrade as often as every 12 months (give or take). It’s why upgrade programs exist. Once a new device is released, the cycle begins; we believe our old phones are suddenly slow, useless, ugly, etc., so we run out to buy what’s new.
But here’s something you already knew: Your 12-month-old phone is still fine—more than fine, actually. I’ve used the majority of major flagships released in 2018 and they’re only marginally better than what was released last year. Smartphones have become so good that new releases hardly feel new at all.
It’s why I’ve decided not to upgrade to the iPhone XS. That’s not to say I think Apple’s new flagship is a bad device—quite the opposite, in fact. To be fair, I own the iPhone X, which is virtually identical to the iPhone XS, and that plays a big role in my decision.
I guess this is just a roundabout way of recognizing just how fantastic the iPhone X was and still is, even a year later, and not necessarily an indictment against the iPhone XS. For that matter, many of the devices released this year are fantastic. But none are so good that you need to upgrade from something you bought in 2017.
In the case of the iPhone X and iPhone XS, Apple’s flagship from last year doesn’t feel old to me. The execution of Face ID continues to astound and I wouldn’t trade swipe gestures for a home button. And despite featuring last year’s A11 Bionic chip, the device is still plenty fast.
If you upgrade once a year, fine. You spend your money how you want. But it’s absolutely not necessary.