Apple iPad: iThink iWon’t Upgrade

What do you think of this statement?

The need for the next iPhone is diminishing as there is only a marginal benefit in upgrading one's current device.

My friend Cliff Frescura, former CEO of PCNAlert, wrote this declarative statement in an email I received this morning.

As an Apple everything owner, I began to think about how much money I have spent on Apple-specific upgrades and accessories over the past five years. As a kid growing up, my father used to say it took three people to get anything done around our house. Those three people were “Me, myself, and I.” It was his way of telling us that he had to do everything himself.

Productivity equation
As the saying goes, “The Apple does not fall far from the tree.” I now declare to you how my job gets done: “Me, myself, and iPad.”

I had generation 1, 2, and now 3, and as we all know, generation 4 has already been released. Do I plan to upgrade? Nope.

iThink not: There aren't a lot of compelling reasons  to upgrade from an iPad or other mobile device these days.

iThink not: There aren't a lot of compelling reasons
to upgrade from an iPad or other mobile device these days.

I have everything I need in the cloud or on my current iPad. If I disclosed to you the number of apps I have downloaded, you would undoubtedly diagnose me as having an acute case of ACD, Apple Compulsive Disorder. You would be correct. Here is an overview of what I can do with my iPad and do almost every single day.

  1. Email
  2. Chinese lessons
  3. Various newspapers
  4. Various video news channels
  5. Bible study
  6. Dictionary
  7. Skype and LinkedIn
  8. Book readers
  9. Contacts
  10. Note takers
  11. PDF annotation and read aloud
  12. Image capture
  13. Magazines
  14. Music
  15. Expense tracker and billing
  16. Spreadsheet
  17. Stock and finance
  18. Browsers
  19. Wikipedia readers
  20. Flipboard feeds
  21. Reference
  22. Photography
  23. Dictation
  24. Maps
  25. Storage — Dropbox
  26. CAD viewers
  27. Unit converters
  28. Engineering tools
  29. Guitar lessons
  30. Weather
  31. App Store to keep up with the latest productivity tools (must-have).

Why upgrade?
Now, you can almost say you know me. If you just went down the list and examined what I use almost every day, you could come up with a pretty accurate profile.

Now, for what possible reason would I need to upgrade? Perhaps the next big mobile thing will include a hologram app that when I lay my iPad flat on the table, hovering above it will be a female image calling out my name: “Help me Obiwan Ka Douglas! You're my only hope!”

I have to agree with my friend Cliff. The reasons for upgrading are diminishing. That being said, I have another very close friend who works at Apple who won't even breathe a syllable about what he does there. I respect him for that integrity, but no amount of stealth or mystique will entice or convince me that I need another mobile whiz-bang to get my work done.

I can say with complete confidence, “All I need is me, myself, and iPad.” And that is all… for the time being. Do I need anything Samsung? Nope. An Apple a day keeps the Samsung at bay.

Is anybody else backing off costly upgrades because you have reached the pinnacle of utility with your current version?

19 comments on “Apple iPad: iThink iWon’t Upgrade

  1. Brian Fuller
    March 6, 2013

    Really interesting times, these.

    Think back to just a few years ago. We were generally on an 18-36-month upgrade cycle for laptop computers. Much of the work is done on the machine and the memory mapping tends to get long in the tooth and draw down performance over time.

    People began migrating to tablets not only because they were hip and cool but for features like instant-on and solid-state memory. Now that much of the work on a tablet is basically done in the cloud, that makes a technical reason for upgrading (need that faster CPU; need more disk storage) much less compelling. 

    I think in the near term the only reason for upgrading tablets is to get an improved battery, but you can probably go into an Apple store and swap out your old battery for a new one for a princely sum.

    Good food for thought, Douglas!





  2. FreeBird
    March 6, 2013

    It was a pleasure to read this blog–lots of bon mots and humor. And finally, the voice of reason. The unquestioning loyalty of the iFan–if Apple builds it, I will buy–kinda scares me. And yes, Apple has lost its cool in that it has introduced too many generations of the same product too often. Yet I rarely read criticism of this strategy as long as Apple's shares are growing.

    Now that Apple is moving to the fashion accessory business, I can't wait for the iGlasses, the iPurse, the iBelt and the iChoos

  3. dalexander
    March 6, 2013

    @ Brian, I just ordered Office 2013 and Visio 2013 becuase I am planning to do some cloud collaboration with a fellow writer. The Whiteboard application with Lync allows multi-location video conferencing and file sharing without a sharepoint server. The key is the cloud. Microsoft's 365 puts all the office applications in the cloud with auto updates to the latest versions. I like having the software on my own computer and that is why I have not surrendered to Google Docs. I need some sense of ownership that keeps me the illusion that I still can have secure files. But, when I go “Lyncing”, I may be giving up another level of privacy. I just don't know, but the tool is cool and cool rules. 

  4. dalexander
    March 6, 2013

    @Barbara, When you think of it, all the trends towards ease of use and wireless access has made it pretty hard to come up with another must-have upgrade as far as hardware is concerned. I can imagine a final iPad release that incorporates  a charging system that requires no tether, a contact charger on the back of the iPad for no tether charging to an iPhone battery from the iPad battery, a 4K resoulution OLED screen, DVR capability for recording much like a TiVO with a 100GB local storage capacity, DLNA connectivity for multi-room sharing direct to TV or Google Glass type hardware, and a bluetooth phone, but after that, what else would be so compelling that would cause someone to drop another $500-$900 on the latest version? If Apple did all of that in the next release, I would be a “sell out” and upgrade. But, they would have to do all of that in one final release. I am not going to be snagged by a piece meal release every again. Are you listening Apple? No more baby steps.

  5. Ariella
    March 6, 2013

    “An Apple a day keeps the Samsung at bay.” Great line, Brian!

    @Freebird all those Apple products reminds me of a video I once saw that mocked Apple fanboys with one who kept saying, “If only Apple made glasses/cars/coffee …”

  6. Adeniji Kayode
    March 6, 2013


    Normally an upgrade is suppose to give you something new and addition to what you have in a previous device. If this condition(s) is not meet, there is really no need for an upgrasde.

  7. Adeniji Kayode
    March 6, 2013

    @ Freebird,

    I am not sure Apple  will be able to keep the growth in shares for long if it keeps introducing “newly same products” all the time.

    Peolpe are begining to agree with the fact that Apple makes good products but other manufacturers seems to be more reasonable in price despite same functions as Apple's.

    probably Apple will release iCar and iMan one day soon

  8. _hm
    March 6, 2013

    @Douglas: I wonder why you upgraded from iPad 2 to 3? General rule is to miss one generation and upgrade with next.


  9. dalexander
    March 6, 2013

    _hm, good to hear from you again! Well, my iPad 2 was stolen or misplaced and my wife bought me the 3 when she saw me going through withdrawal. It was also a birthday present. Perfect timing!

  10. hash.era
    March 7, 2013

    @Douglas: Is iPad 3 better than Galaxy Note 2 ?

  11. dalexander
    March 7, 2013


    @_hash, I have so many issues with my Samsung phone, If I am talking and the phone keyboard is in the display, as I hold the phone up to my cheek, it hits the mute button and I don't know it as I keep talking. I think the call has dropped, but the other party hung up because they couldn't hear me. I have a Galaxy SII and I will trade it for a jar of peanut butter. I don't know about the “Note” series, but I have been turned off to Samsung because of a number or user interface issues with my Galaxy.

  12. Brian Fuller
    March 7, 2013

    I can't argue with that logic, Douglas. I use Google docs primarily as a project management tool, because when an idea pops into my head while I'm walking, I can plug in it via my iPhone. (But I'm sure there are more elegant interfaces than Google Drive on the iPhone). 

    I have yet to use the word processor on Google docs, but I'm getting there: MS Word on my Mac (and other MS apps) are dragging down my performance… 


  13. _hm
    March 7, 2013

    Time spent and idea created is much more important as compare to which device or tool is employed. Why worry about Apple/Samsung and few tens of dollars? Spend more time in study and creation, device and its cost becomes irrelevant. Just be satisfied with what you have or what you can afford to have.

  14. elctrnx_lyf
    March 9, 2013

    I'm happy to say ipad is my first tablet and I do not think I'm going to update my tablet anytime in next 3 years. But this is one device which can not be kept away from me.

  15. SunitaT
    March 10, 2013

    The need for the next iPhone is diminishing as there is only a marginal benefit in upgrading one's current device.

    @Douglas, I totally agree with this opinion. But other companies like Samsung are working on some features which might force us to upgrade. For example Samsung is working on flexible displays and I am sure many people would love to have flexible display in their iPhone and iPad.

  16. SunitaT
    March 10, 2013

    I have been turned off to Samsung because of a number or user interface issues with my Galaxy.

    @Douglas, I am also using Samasung Galaxy phone and I have also faced many user interface issues with my Galaxy. Whenever I touch the screen with wet hands touch screen doesnt responds and moreover it doesnt have any hardware switch to receive the calls. 

  17. Adeniji Kayode
    March 13, 2013


    I think the issue of upgrade is the manufacturer's idea majorly.

    If we don,t upgrade , how will they make more money and yet remain in market.

    Moreover, technology itself is not stagnant, you may keep from upgrading fpr a while, but you will surely need to do that with time oe you are left behind. 

  18. Adeniji Kayode
    March 13, 2013


    Don,t you think that is already a reason to upgrade or switch to another product if you find one around.

    No product is perfect in itself or made to be all-in-all, so with time there will always be a reason to upgrade.

  19. hash.era
    March 14, 2013

    @Douglas: Thank you for sharing the experience you have with Samsung. I too think Samsung has some issues and cannot be matched with the technology of Apple right now. Anyway many prefer Samsung and that is why I was a bit curious. Anyway your comment helped me to clarify the doubt I had.   

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