It happened with the PC processor, and now it’s happening with smartphones, we’ve reached the peak. Well at least for now anyway.
On Wednesday 7th of September, Apple released it’s latest iPhone 7 models amidst great speculation, and it was everything that we the tech enthusiasts expected it to be. Nothing new (if we’re really honest with ourselves) and a few (expected) shock and horror changes to how we connect our headphones. But what this launch has really helped confirm for the umpteenth time this year, is that there aren’t any new hardware innovations to be had with our smart devices. Well, nothing beyond the cameras anyway.
For ages now, as with PCs back in the day, we have been routinely upgrading our devices to get the latest and greatest features. And they were exactly that, features. But nowadays these features of days gone by are now necessities that we expect and take for granted. All the major brands are now trying to put in QHD 1440p screens, get us VR ready etc. And while some of these new features are exciting and have interesting applications, they are hardly game-changing, at least not right now.
So where does that leave us? Especially the nerds like myself that always want the latest and greatest even if I derive no actual benefit from the device. Well, in my opinion, actually a pretty good spot, especially if you consider cost savings.
Firstly, not having to upgrade our devices so regularly will be amazing. We can save that extra cash and keep our devices until they literally fall apart. Previously my thinking was to always buy the fastest piece of tech so that in the long run it can be used with newer software going forward. That logic still holds true but it’s less relevant. Today’s mid-range phones, particularly those coming from China, are very close in spec to the high-end devices, and so there processing power should still be decent in 2 years from now.
Now add to that the fact that the OS developers, both Google and (to my understanding to a lesser degree) Apple, are making their OS’s lighter than ever before, and more battery efficient to boot. This means that as we roll on into the future, even our aging and therefore slowing devices, should…should, still remain at a usable speed. This is awesome!!
Smartphones are becoming more and more of a commodity in the mid to high-end tiers, meaning that even an affordable device can be expected to perform really well. This is fantastic for ‘Joe Consumer’, provided we are willing to try an ‘unknown’ brand (to the developed world anyway), and choose to not listen to the likes of big American security agencies like the NSA who tell us it’s a spying device for the Chinese government. Cause who are they kidding, they do the same damn thing! I digress. This all comes at the peril of the major brands such as Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, Motorola etc as they have spent the billions of dollars doing research, just so these cheaper OEMs can scoop up the tech for a dime and take what little razor thin profits remain. This is really unfair, but that’s also business.
The same thing happened in the TV industry not so long ago. Brands like Sony and Panasonic developed the best TV sets out there, but eventually the Korean brands caught up but taking the Japanese ideas, but then sold them far more aggressively and stole the market completely. The Japanese mentality of ‘we are the best and we won’t back down on pricing’ was also a factor, but that’s another story. The funny thing now is that the Koreans are having their lunch eaten by the Chinese. Funny that.
Anywho, I’m just rambling now, but my point is simply this: For the foreseeable future, we don’t really need to rush to upgrade anymore, and when we do, we can confidently go for a mid-tier device and know with confidence that we will have a great user experience.
But my wife still knows I’m going to buy the expensive device. Hypocritical much?