The iPhone Upgrade Treadmill

April 4, 2009

Reading the rumors of a new iPhone this summer, I came to a realization that I’m sure is common to many current iPhone users: No matter what new iPhone Apple releases, I’ll buy it.

I am currently around one year into an iPhone 3G contract with AT&T that is for two years. I’m sure Apple / AT&T will offer some sort of upgrade path to the new iPhone for current iPhone owners, likely signing a new contract. Once I get this new iPhone, I’ll feed my current one to my cat.

But the situation of the inevitable iPhone upgrade is similar to how I felt with the iPod. I started with a Shuffle, but because of Apple’s relentless pace of constantly introducing new models annually with incremental improvements, I soon was caught on an “iPod treadmill,” meaning a present situation of four or five iPods in various states of cat toy.

So Apple has obviously set up a similar inevitable upgrade situation with the iPhone, and caught me on this treadmill. I’ll never own another cell phone so long as Apple keeps churning out the upgrades.

Maybe Apple / AT&T should offer a new plan: The iPhone Lifetime. For a hefty initial fee, AT&T automatically upgrades you to the latest iPhone which is home-delivered whenever Apple releases it. There’s 20 year contract, but would at least prevent the hassle of waiting in line and extending it every two years in the Apple store come June. Maybe they could lock in the monthly payment at $80 – kind of like a mortgage.

I’m only half kidding.


  1. jcieplinski says:

    I would go for the 20-year plan just to avoid the upgrade process. The last time I upgraded to the 3G, it was more than an hour that my Apple Store rep was on the phone with the AT&T reps, trying to figure out what was wrong with my account. Hopefully they'll have that process figured out this time around. Or let us activate from home on launch again.

    “Various states of cat toy” is a wonderful turn of phrase, by the way. Well done.

  2. webomatica says:

    Yep I seem to remember you having some trouble upgrading last year. I
    really don't want to run into that sort of silliness come June, but am
    already steeling myself for the inevitability of visiting a crowded
    Apple Store – I wonder if there will be lines again…

    And the cat toy – probably funnier because it's true. I should post
    photographs of my iPhone with cat teeth marks on it… :)