During one of our many meandering chats, my wife and I were talking about her phone. She’s using an iPhone 11 and although there is nothing wrong with it, the phone has seen better days and the battery is not what it should be. We were discussing if she wanted to upgrade to something better, and her response is something well worth thinking about.
Her approach was, “I’ve never gone to do something and not been able to do it, or had an issue that a new phone would solve”. As with many things we talk about, this gave me lots to think about. How many times have I purchased tech on the promise of it helping me do something that I’ve never even thought about doing.
This can’t just be me. A brand promises me that “feature x allows me to y” and I am all in without even thinking. The fact that I have never even tried to do Y means that maybe I don’t need this new thing after all.
Undoubtedly, there are exceptions to this. New features that enable users to do even more can be valuable editions. However, that is seldom the case for me. I look at other lenses for my camera and think, oh that smaller f/stop will mean I can shoot in even darker conditions, or with even better separation. When in the truth is a lens with a larger aperture has never stopped me getting the shot I want.
Buying a new phone every year is my biggest weakness. I tell myself that the upgrades are worth it. That the things I value get better, and then proceed to never look at my photos and don’t use my phone enough to actually make it worthwhile. Sure enough, I have never gone to do something with my phone and not been able to. A new phone might do some things better, but what am I actually missing out on? Not much.