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Today’s Apple Stuff and Lack of Timely Obsolescence

I told myself recently that if I found myself starting to send out a series of tweets expressing my thoughts on some subject, I should just do a blog post instead, cause that is what it is for after all. And I recently compared my blog from today to my blog from several years ago, and I noticed that I used to actually make real blog posts all the time, and it is very rare today, and I miss that old blog. And I have time today. So here goes.

Yosemite: I’m going to be installing this later today probably. I sometimes wait a little while on updates, but I’m home, I have time, why not. I am a bit sad that my iMac (a Late 2009 27-inch) is too old for Continuity, which is one of the big new things. That feature DOES seem nice. But I’ll see how it goes without that.

New iPads: Looks nice. And I do want touch-ID. But I have a just under two year old iPad at the moment (uh, modulo replacements for breaking the screen), and I have yet to hit something that I want to do with it that it can’t do. It is working fine for me. I’m not yet at the point where I feel really anxious to upgrade.

New iMacs: My 2009 iMac definitely shows the fact that it is almost five years old. In the past I have operated on a four year replacement cycle. My iMac was “due” in 2013. It wasn’t in the cards for budget reasons. (I got a car at the end of 2012 instead.) I was really anxious and performance was bad. Since then the upgrade to Mavericks, plus moving a bunch of stuff off the primary drive to external drives has given the old thing a new lease on life. It is still quirky and sometimes frustratingly slow. There are some games Alex would like to play (I’m looking at you Trainz Simulator 2!) that just perform really badly on this old hardware. But, but, it basically does the things I actually use it for regularly. I do my podcast, I work with my photos, I work on my website stuff, I watch some streaming video, I do email, I look at twitter. Those things comprise 95%+ of what I actually use my desktop for these days. And those things still work. (Much of my “just reading stuff on the web” use has moved to the iPad.) Given this, as much as it would be awesome to upgrade, it will be hard to justify.

OK, and even though it was last month, not today, the new iPhones: Same here basically. The new iPhones are cool. We’ve updated every other generation for years. I still don’t have touch ID and I want it. But again, my current phone is basically working, and aside from being jealous on the Touch ID, there isn’t much on the new ones that makes me feel like I *must* upgrade.

There is clearly a theme here. Last time I updated my iMac and last time I updated my iPhone, similar lengths of time had passed, but I was distinctly feeling limited and frustrated by the old devices. I felt I *needed* to upgrade. At this point I don’t feel that yet. It would be *nice* to upgrade, of course. But I don’t have that feeling where I feel like I will be suffering if I don’t.

It seems like, at least for me, things are moving from an “upgrade every X years because by then your old equipment will be barely hanging on and you need to” to more like an “upgrade when it breaks” mode, with maybe a caveat in there for “or when you have some extra money and want to treat yourself”.

Is this just me and my own family’s situation and use case? Or is this widespread? Is the hardware getting to the point where it is good enough that for most people these things can last much longer than they used to? Will the phone replacement cycle start moving from two years to three? Or even more? A computer more than four years old used to feel crippled and unable to keep up with what was wanted of it. Is that less so now? Will it be reasonable to keep these old things running 5 or 6 years or more?

Of course, some of this depends on how you push your computers and what you do with them. If you were just doing simple word processing, you could still conceivably use a 1970’s or 1980’s era computer to do it. If you were satisfied to keep doing the things the way they were done back then that is. If you only ever do with a device exactly the things you did with it on the day you bought it, then you can use it that way as long as it physically doesn’t stop working. It is the new things that tax the old equipment.

Maybe I’m just not seeing the “killer app” yet that forces the upgrade from any of the older equipment. Or maybe I am seeing it, and I’m just an old curmudgeon that just doesn’t think any of it is as compelling as other folks do.

When I install Yosemite in a bit, and it turns out I’m constantly wanting the features it can’t run because my computer is too old, maybe I’ll start thinking about that. When there is a major OS release that the old device can’t support, maybe that is when the issue gets forced. Yosemite supports back to the Mid-2007 iMacs. iOS 8 supports back to the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2.

I admit, if a major new software release came out, and I just couldn’t upgrade at all, I think I’d feel like the time had come. I have some old devices lying around that aren’t up to date on the software, but none of them are primary use devices.

Anyway, budgets are tight these days. If I had tons of extra, maybe I’d upgrade regardless. But at the moment, the question is, “do I *need* to”. And as of today, for hardware anyway, the answer appears to be “No”.

Electoral College poll updates from 2014-10-15 (UTC)

  • 23:30:35 Yesterday’s batch of polls ( http://t.co/VV7PdzJDzJ ) made Clinton vs Christie the “best polled” candidate combo. http://t.co/uLzt8FLwoL
  • 23:32:44 A bug kept this from being identified yesterday. Fixed now. So Clinton vs Christie is once again my default view. http://t.co/uLzt8FLwoL
  • 23:35:46 After Clinton vs Christie, Clinton vs Paul, Bush, Huckabee and Cruz round out the top 5 “best polled” cand combos. http://t.co/uLzt8FLwoL
  • 23:45:24 I determine “best polled” by looking at weighted avg of the age of the oldest poll incl in each state’s poll avg. (Close states count more.)

@abulsme tweets from 2014-10-15 (UTC)