The Constant Decision of Whether to Upgrade or Not

Friends and family have come to expect me to have the latest technology, especially around computers and cameras. I’m the person who had the first digital camera in my part of the world and who soon after was pushing for the smallest one on the market. With my love of music, I got addicted to iPods early and of course, I had to have an iPad as soon as they hit the market (one of my earliest posts on iPads).

But each  time I’ve done this, the decision to upgrade was not an automatic one. So how do I decided whether to upgrade a tech gadget?

  1. Outgrown capacity — If the memory built into the system isn’t capable of doing some of what I really want to do, I upgrade when a step change is available. This was the reason I ditched my first “big” iPod pretty early. As a music fanatic, I had too large a catalog to put the whole thing on the 60 gig I had early on. So when the 160 was introduced, it was an absolute no brainer for me.
  2. Significant quality improvement — Quality can come in several forms. I think durability changes are usually necessary upgrades cause something will die on you, so I don’t count that. However, with resolution of photography, that quality change enabled me to take photos with the digital for a variety of uses where I remember having to have film & digital along because the resolution wouldn’t let me do enlargements. So as resolution made dramatic increases, I quickly upgraded.
  3. Features that I can’t live without are added — This one is tough to call but I think that when something is upgraded with new features, it can be hard to pass up. For me moving from a large laptop to a much more mobile netbook happened after some serious thought of how it would be used and whether it was really a need to have or nice to have feature of significantly smaller size.
  4. Ability to “cash out” with some value — The fact that I like being on the front end of technology can mean a bit of risk on how well it holds its value. But I’ve been lucky several times to be able to “redeploy” my first generation gear to someone in my family or a close friend. In these cases, we both feel like we’ve won. They get a used product they know was well cared for and a bit of help on setup and I get some cash toward the new product. The most recent redeployment was the netbook is working for all involved — I’m good with the laptop/iPad combo.)

As the iPad 2 was introduced, I watched the conference and though how incredible the video capability was. Having the camera for video conferencing and the ability to edit video was really interesting and I wanted it ASAP! Friends & relatives started asking if I would donate my iPad to them as I upgraded.

So why am I typing this on my measly old first generation iPad?

I haven’t been pushed to the breaking point. The video components are really cool and I could use them, but I don’t need them. Its not a feature I think I’d use extensively. The size, weight difference isn’t too big either. And they didn’t improve readability in the sun nor offer an increase in storage (as you may have guessed from my iPod upgrade, I could always take a bit more music, video or photos with me).

The equation could shift anytime without warning and I end up with an iPad 2, but I can say the same about the xoom, etc. Having my music on the iPad could become a nice to have if some other manufacturer put another set of features together with something else more useful for me and I’d be willing to make a move rather than just upgrade. For now, I’m happily addicted to my iPad and to having the extra cash in the bank.

What goes into making decisions about upgrades & replacements for the technology you use?

By Janice Person - Janice is avid about technology and agriculture.  Please check  out here blog at where she writes about her adventures in travel and agriculture or you can follow her on twitter at @jplovescotton

This post was written by

Janice Person – who has written posts on The Mobile Farmer.

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2 Responses to “The Constant Decision of Whether to Upgrade or Not”
  1. Peter Gredig says:

    Great blog post Janice! I agree that there are many motivations to upgrade, but discipline is required. Anyone in your family interested in my dusty laptop??

  2. Doubtful Peter…. I’m in the process of off-loading my dusty old laptop. Just got an uber cool one!

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