Last Year’s New Tech

Shawn Blanc discussing this year’s new technology:

All this to say, I think it’s a fascinating product lineup this year — there are some truly amazing and wonderful products available. But for the first time in recent memory, it’s not a completely obvious choice to just buy the latest version. Last year’s gadgets may not only be the better choice from a financial standpoint, but also as a personal preference as well.

I thought this was particularly interesting as I own two devices I pondered upgrading this year: an old iPhone 4 and a Kobo Aura e-reader.

For the iPhone, it was a fairly easy choice: I went with the 5S. The 6 and 6 Plus are great phones, but I’m not convinced that they’re the right size for me or that they’re worth the premium over last year’s models. Year over year improvements, while still quite significant, are beginning to diminish and I figured that it would be better to get the 5S this year and then see where things are at the end of my 2-year contract. This was also driven by the fact that I don’t expect Ale Pay adoption to pick up steam in Canada for another year or two anyways.

The iPhone 5S was the right phone for me this year, even if it’s last year’s model.

For my e-reader, I’ve always preferred Kobo’s offerings over Amazon’s here in Canada. While Amazon’s new offering looks good, it isn’t anywhere close to enough to switch me from my Kobo. The new Kobo H2O looks great, but water-proofing really has no application in my day-to-day life, so there’s little reason to upgrade there either.

I think this begins to mark a shift in portable consumer electronics. Year-over-year hardware improvements will always exist, but moving forward it will be the services — which may include hardware integration, such as Apple Pay — supplied alongside the devices that become more and more important and drive purchasing decisions.

Last Year’s New Tech