How often do you upgrade your devices?

Earlier today we talked about a cellphone user survey that reported that 65.5% of the 400 respondents planned on purchasing the next iPhone model. It goes without saying that this is a very high percentage, and it doesn’t even factor in the people planning on upgrading to devices besides the iPhone. This got me thinking, just how often do people upgrade their devices?

In the good old days, the answer would probably be every two year. You would sign a 2-year contract, get the newest phone, and then two year later you would sign a new 2-year contract and get the newest phone. Rinse and repeat. But now, in the age of super fast technology turnaround, fanboys, and eBay, the average user-device relationship is far more uncertain.

Personally, as much as I’d like to upgrade my phone every year, I stick to the old  two-year upgrade plan. I started my smartphone ownership with the iPhone 3G, then I passed on the 3GS and upgraded to the iPhone 4 when it came out. I’ve been rockin’ the iPhone 4 since it launched, having skipped the iPhone 4S, and now I’m planning to upgrade to the next iPhone whenever it comes out.

More and more frequently, though, it seems like people are factoring in the early termination cost to their smartphone bill as if they’re already planning to pay full price to upgrade device each and every year. I know many people who are in line at the Apple Store every launch day, even though they aren’t due for an upgrade for another twelve months.

And it’s not just iPhones, either. I always thought of a tablet as more of a computer than a smartphone, and as such I figured most people would keep an iPad for a few years before upgrading. But there are many proud Apple customers out there who pride themselves on having owned every iPad model. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I upgraded from the iPad 2 to the new iPad after only just one year, but only because of my position at an iOS-centric website. I assure you that, had it not been for professional reasons, I would have happily stuck with my iPad 2 for a few more years.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with frequent device upgrades if you’ve got the money, but I just find the whole thing a bit surprising. Our favorite Apple devices are sturdy and built to last, but many people barely hold on to them for a year.

What is your opinion on this? Are you all for upgrading as quickly and frequently as possible, or do you think customers should really get a good amount of use out of a gadget before opting for the latest model? How often do you upgrade your iDevices? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter @TiP_Jake.

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  • jpillars

    I’ve had the same clamshell iBook since 2003, the same iMac G3 (500 MHz),.. havent need to really upgrade yet

  • idontknow

     I bought the Iphone 4, and i am going to buy the Iphone 5, but i skip the S models.

  • AlfonsoTorres

     @jpillars I Have the same iMac XD
    But i use my iPhone 2G :D

  • NikkoGutierrez

    I have had the 3G that I bought off contract, but I then signed a 2 year plan for the iPhone 4. I now have the 4s and will upgrade every year for nothing because I put my gf on my account to get the 4s, and the upgrade times work out perfectly so I can sell the oldest model and pass mine down to my gf and spend nothing on the newest one. Got to love the resale value on these things, not to mention AT&T will unlock it before I sell it :)


    Still rockin the 3GS :D

  • lean6rtj

    I upgrade every few months… not even once a year! I find that it works for me resale-wise, and it makes me happy. I don’t blow money on much else. $200 bucks and a contract date that steadily winds down as I add and then sell lines with devices to manage out of pocket costs and keep my original phone number. Out of pocket costs per year of about $500, and enjoying the latest and greatest 2-3 devices of the year. I can live with that.

  • KyleFrost

    I upgrade maybe once a year. Sometimes 1 1/2. I have never gone my full 2 year contract though. I usually have 2 phones a year. They just get, boring…and all this is because I have Android. I am however getting the next iPhone, no matter. So from then on I will be on the one year Apple cycle.

  • The iPhone. This got me thinking, just how often do people upgrade their devices.

  • MaeganBabcock

    I used to upgrade every year when Verizon allowed that, but now that I’d have to pay full retail price to do that, I’ll stick to my upgrade date, which in my case isn’t until next year.  I’ll probably get the iPhone that comes out after this next one or something.

  • Max

    can’t afford to update every year…..and am still pondering whether to switch from android to iPhone…since i have a mac…but also the new VZ ATT share plans (I know ATT is not mandatory yet) are making it even more affordable to own an iPhone.  The monthly rates are just sky high – especially paying for services you don’t need and use…when I currently pay $30 a month…I wish Tmobile would get the iPhone and inject some real competition into the iPhone marketplace with their more affordable plans.  Right now, A 2gb data plan for an iPhone on VZ costs $100 plus taxes and fees…Sorry thats ridiculous to me.

  • Max

    oops , I meant the new share plans are making it more UNAFFORDABLE…esp for single individual customers 

  • I have the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and now the iPhone 4S. I don’t really think I’m going to upgrade to the 5. I really like the screen size on the 4s and I also don’t wanna have to buy all new docks and what not for 1 new phone. I may skip the 5 and get the 6 if it’s nice but I think I’ll stick with my 4s for now.