Ah, the months of June and July when the heady heat of summer breezes in and Apple unleashes yet another iPhone unto the world. When that year-end bonus is still so maddeningly far-away, yet a brand-new iPhone calls to us, beckons us even - oh, consumer frenzy, whatever will we do with you?
Now that we know the iPhone 4 is reaching our little red dot on July 30th, it's time to answer the question on everyone's lips: is it time to ditch your old iPhone and upgrade to Retina display-ed, FaceTiming version 4 - Antennagate be damned?
That's really a question with many things to consider, like if the price is right, how far you're into your telco contract and if you need the new features or not. But fear not, like many things in life, a little history and tech perspective will shed answers for you.
The first iPhone was introduced in 2007, and can be considered 'discontinued' (technical term for 'dinosaur') now that you can't upgrade to the latest iOS (version 4) and beyond. We therefore infer, dear reader, that each generation of iPhone has a shelf life of 3 years, give or take. An easy answer for first generation iPhone users:- upgrade!
(Note: You might want to keep that original iPhone when 2020 rolls around and it becomes retro cool again.)
Apple gave birth to the iPhone 3G in 2008, and it's now two years old. We guess it'll have a usable life of a year more, which by then it'll probably be left out by iOS 5. In fact, upgrading the iPhone 3G to iOS 4 already excludes some of the key features iPhone 3GS users enjoy like multi-tasking. To further exagerate the issue, iOS 4 also seems to make the 3G noticeably slower - no surprise really as the iPhone 3G didn't give much of a performance boost over the original iPhone.
If the price is right and you're finding your iPhone 3G a little creaky when loading apps, we say satisfy your gadget lust.
The more powerful iPhone 3GS came out in 2009, giving it a couple of years more in its shelf-life if the original iPhone is any indication. It's still a capable workhorse, getting the full features of iOS 4. Should you upgrade? Assuming your contract is for 2 years, that means you've still got at least a year left on it, so if you break it now you could be looking at an extra penalty.
Yes, the iPhone 4 has a faster processor than the 3GS, but it won't be as noticeable a jump as say, going from the 3G (which was as fast as the original) to the iPhone 4. It should still prove capable running the newest apps without giving up the ghost.
We say there's no need to upgrade from an iPhone 3GS unless you really love the new iPhone 4, its speed gains and new features (trust us, when iPhone 6 comes out two years later, it'll be even more luscious than the iPhone 4). Patience, young Padawan, patience.
Not convinced you should buy a new iPhone every time one rolls around? We salute you sir! We love long-lasting gadgets and getting the maximum mileage out of them as much as the next eco-loving, thrifty cool person. But the cruel reality is that as the latest iPhone becomes more powerful, iOS and accompanying apps ask more and more out of the hardware, the older models just can't keep up.
So what do you do? Well, read the next page, of course!