Every night you go to bed with your new iPad held tightly in your arms and thank your lucky stars, knowing deep down that you won’t need to upgrade again for some time. You can stay on top of the world for awhile as long as you just take care of your baby. Surprise! Your dreams are again shattered by another horde of Apple products better than yours that will leave you crying for the madness to end.
If it hasn’t been ridiculously difficult enough already to keep up with Apple’s all changing, update-everything world, it just became plenty more difficult before the holiday season as the company beats you over the head once more.
Just one year after Apple’s head honcho Steve Jobs passed away, the company has rolled out a whole new line of somewhat unexpected gear. Having grown dramatically in its market value since the passing of Jobs (past the $600 billion mark), this raises the ethical question as to whether the company cares more about quality and consumers or money and monopoly.
A seemingly quiet October event for Apple turned into an early holiday bonanza with the announcement of a new 4th generation iPad among three other gadgets, including a mini iPad, just seven months after releasing what was said to be (by Apple’s design team) the best thing Apple’s ever created. The frustration for folks who cracked open their hard-earned piggy banks for the third generation iPad is not just the idea of a new one with limited improvements appearing so quickly on the shelves, but the idea that they should erase, pack up and trade in their recently unwrapped tablets if they wish to remain up to speed with the latest updates.
Apple may think it is changing lives with its superhero-like tablets, but in actuality it’s creating a false commodity that only makes a perfectly beautiful six-month old product look old and outdated, essentially beating a dead tech horse.
The new iPad doesn’t even feature a big overhaul, or even a new design. Just like the March 2012 model, it features a faster chip and better graphics. The big sell that Apple is raving about is their new Lightning charging cord, a cord that not only doesn’t fit to other Apple devices, but performs the same function as the old one. Yes, it’s smaller and reversible, but I could stick my thumb up my butt and call it “Lightning finger” and you still wouldn’t want to sniff it just because I gave it a fun name, would you?
Then there’s the announcement of the iPad mini, which is more affordable than a full-size iPad, yet resembles an overgrown iPhone without the function of an actual phone that still doesn’t fit in your pocket, using a display that is two steps back towards the quality of the iPad 2. Sweet.
The (nearly) trillion-dollar tech juggernaut has recently been testing the loyalty of its casual, mid-range users by adding products like the three generations of iPads and iPhones in the last two years alone, but now it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stay updated as the company continues to upgrade its hardware with parts not universal to its previous model, forcing consumers to buck up and upgrade completely or get left in the dust once again.
Who’s to say that everyone who buys a new iPhone and iPad this holiday season won’t get outrun by another product three months from now? It’s a greedy power struggle that has become more about corporate profit than helping the user stay relevant and happy. In the ’90s, people would buy new computers because their old ones quit working. The old box wouldn’t start up and dad would say, “Looks like it’s time for a new computer.”
Now we stand by with false impressions that emptying our wallets for new devices will be worth it, leaving us standing strong for a moment, only to have the proverbial carpet ripped out from under us less than a year later. That iPad 2 you spent $600 on last year, it’s “crap” now. Two decades ago, that would have gotten you a computer that would last six years and hum like a dream. Now it seems as though your satisfaction has taken a backseat to Apple company worth, and consumers grow tired of trying to keep up.
As long as people continue to buy into the idea that having the very best is the only way to live, companies like Apple, who are worth more than Greece, will continue to crank out products that look just like yours with a couple improvements to make you feel insecure with what you have.
Until folks understand that what they have is more than enough, that we are becoming too focused on instantaneous results and flawlessness in our lives, we will continue on as the most jaded group of individuals the world has known.
If you prefer the pain of constantly upgrading, signing your bank account away in the name of faster downloads to a company’s conspiring tech race to the top, feel free. The rest of us will lie in bed with our less-than-a-year-old hunk of junk, sleeping gracefully as our think-wheels spin, knowing everything will still be all right.
And you thought today was going to be another day where you had the best that money could buy.