Earlier this week we posted about the rumors (which by now have been all but totally confirmed) that Apple will be holding an event to reveal the new iPad lineup, and potentially other products, on October 22nd. Of course we’re going to be all over whatever details emerge on, before, and after that day about the new hardware, but we’re at a really interesting point right now in mobile iOS hardware- Especially with how much everything is settling into a very mature state over the years.
While friends and family might not understand exactly what it is I spend my days doing, they all know it’s something to do with iPhone stuff, which has made me the guy that’s defaulted to the role of “Person you ask about new Apple products." Naturally, when the 5s was released, I fielded all the same questions of “How is it?" and other subsequent varieties which all culminated in “Should I get one?" The problem is, that question doesn’t really have a very clear cut answer anymore- Particularly people who are already happy with their iPhone 5.
At least in my eyes, we’re sort of reaching a point where these mobile devices are so good, that the yearly iterations almost seem less noteworthy. Sure, the 5s has a better camera, a faster processor, and touch ID, which are great things to have… But the real upgrade was iOS 7, which everyone with a recent device got. It’s sort of like my MacBook Pro. It’s from early 2011, and if it weren’t for typical wear and tear from daily use taking its toll, I wouldn’t have much reason to upgrade as it does everything I need it to do just fine.
I’ll end up getting an iPad 5 just to have the newest device for TouchArcade-related stuff, but my iPad 4 has aged beautifully. It still obliterates every game I throw at it, the battery lasts all day, the Retina Display looks great, and overall it’s just a very solid device. If you follow the rumor mill, we’re basically expecting a faster processor, maybe touch ID, and a tweaked form factor. Are any of those things something that’d fire the typical person into a day-one-purchase frenzy? I don’t know.
The iPad mini is a different story, I love mine, but particularly with iOS 7 on it the internals, which were practically outdated on day one, are really starting to show their age. The rumor scene is expecting a Retina Display, which would be a very welcome update and something that’d have me there on day one to buy. I vastly prefer the form factor of my iPad mini, and I try not to read too much on my proper iPad as it makes switching back to the non-Retina screen that much more “ugh"-inducing.
What’s tricky about the new iOS device value proposition too is that your old device has such insane resale value, that it’s almost silly to not just sell it and buy the new one. Friends of mine very reliably upgrade both their iPhone and iPad year after year by buying the new one and selling the old one on Craigslist. Typically they’ve got cash in hand inside of a day or two, with a resale value high enough that the upgrade might’ve only set them back a couple hundred bucks, if that. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle, but when you look at a minor spec bump or form factor revision as a $150 Craigslist swapparoo it seems way easier to stomach than “Hey, neat, new slightly better iPads for $500," right?
So, throwing it back to you guys, what does Apple need to announce on the 22nd to get you fired up to buy on day one? Is what they announce somewhat irrelevant because you just upgrade and resell regardless? Or do you hold on to your hardware until it breaks and are more than happy still rocking out the O.G. or 2nd generation iPad?