know that you probably did the same thing as me on Thursday morning. I set the
alarm for 2.58am. Jumped out of bed. Shook my son for thirty seconds to wake
him from his deep sleep so he could share the experience with me and then sat
down in the lounge room for the 3am double-header. How could anyone miss this?
The live streaming from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco of
the Apple iPhone 7 announcement followed by the Sony PlayStation announcement
event at 5am. It doesn’t get much better in my world. Although I can’t
understand why, I do accept the fact that not every family in Dubbo went
through the same experience but keep in mind that our family dinner
conversation earlier this week was focused on drawing up a matrix of iPhone 7
predictions – including a FaceTime conversation with our daughter at Uni so she
could add her predictions.

we may not be a ‘normal’ family when it comes to technology but it did start me
thinking about the whole technology upgrade cycle that the world lives with.

manufacturers have attempted to have us on an annual upgrade cycle since the
birth of smartphones so that may seem like a relatively new phenomenon but I
would argue differently. Without any peer-reviewed scientific psychological
literature to support me, I would make the wild claim that it is a deeply
rooted psychological human trait of a desire to improve. Ever since some
eccentric cave man sat tinkering in the corner and invented the wheel, we have
been on an upgrade cycle. The wheel turned into a crude wheel barrow which
turned into a more stable device with multiple wheels for carrying goods which
turned into an animal-drawn vehicle which turned into a self-powered vehicle
and, before you know it, we have the modern car. And as good as the modern car
is, we are seeing constant improvements. My latest vehicle has a heads-up display
for speed and a panoramic view camera system and more sensors than the first
Apollo space ships. These – and other – features seem incredible compared to
cars from ten years ago but these items will all be standard fare on cars of
tomorrow when new features will be added to the latest vehicles. The upgrade
path never ends.

about so many aspects of our lives. Many of the purchases we make are not made
because a product has stopped working or has been used up but instead, we are
making a purchase because something else is better. Think of cars; televisions;
joggers; watches; bicycles; houses; the list goes on. When you think about it
(which I obviously have) it could easily be argued that the conspicuous
consumption situation we currently find ourselves in drives the global economy.
Without the constant need to improve, upgrade and consume there are many
organisations, and even industries, in the world that would cease to exist.

was first introduced in 1989. Version 17 is the current version. Microsoft Word
was first released in October 1983. We are now up to version 16. The Asics
Gel-Kayano running shoe is up to release 23. This is also a powerful indicator
of the psyche of humans and their purchasing. As much as we apparently have a
desire for everything that is new and shiny, we are OK with new revision
numbers of the same model. Maybe we somehow prefer that. If our desire is to
feel good about ourselves by having the latest item, it makes it more obvious
to everyone that you have the latest version when it is a simple numbering
system. Maybe the decline of the Ford Falcon in Australia was simply due to the
fact that no-one could tell what the latest model was? The FG was after the BF
which came after the AU which immediately followed the EL. When the Falcon was
at its strongest in Australia, the models followed a logical order. The XA was
followed by the XB and the XC and the XD and – you get the picture. Anyone
could work that out. Again, without any proof but my random thoughts, I am
convinced that part of the desire to upgrade is to improve our status in
society and if it isn’t obvious to my peers that my AU is a better model than
your EL, then what is the point in upgrading?

you consider that the Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced yesterday morning that
over one billion iPhones have been sold since the first model was released on
29 June 2007, you can be pretty certain that the majority of future sales for a
company like Apple are not going to come from new markets. They are going to
come from existing markets who are given compelling reasons to buy the latest.

has shown us that companies that fail to innovate and improve are companies
that are on a trajectory to fail (think of Kodak and Nokia as two spectacular
examples) and there are always organisations trying to do ‘it’ better. Innovate
or exit.

don’t know there is an easy way to get off the upgrade treadmill and,
personally, I am quite happy with it. I love to see what creativity and
innovation our fellow humans can come up with next.

wonder what they iPhone 7s will have when it is released in September next

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