The Danger of Staying Mostly Current

I just upgraded from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 7. While I am a tech guy that keeps an eye on the newest technologies, the iPhone 7 is an incremental offering without many new features to entice a change. That being said, my battery was beginning to go dead on my iPhone 6, and I decided to go for the upgrade – even though I thought long and hard about waiting another year.

As part of my decision making process, I spoke with a friend of mine and my father, both of whom were due for an upgrade as well. Both decided to pass on the iPhone 7; my dad decided to get a new iPhone 5 as an upgrade from his 4S, saying that it has all the features he needs and is still new to him.

This process got me thinking. When evaluating our technology choices against our requirements, it is important to consider how long those requirements will be valid. The iPhone 5 may fit right now, but will it in a year? His purchase came along with a 2 year commitment to the device – will his requirements still be valid in September of 2018? He may be regretting his decision or paying more to upgrade early again, just to be able to keep up. iOS 10 –which released at the same time as the iPhone 7 – now only supports iPhone 5 and higher. That means that security patches are only available for those devices ongoing. In Q3 of this year, there have been several high-profile vulnerabilities discovered for Apple devices, and patches were deployed almost immediately following – to supported devices, only.

This technology decision making process is summarized well in the iPhone case, but it applies universally. Your main line of business application may meet all of your business requirements now, but will it still be supported by the operating systems, browsers, and other inter-related applications such as Adobe or Java? The applications and technologies we all use are becoming more interrelated all the time. If you fall behind in one of them, you risk the others not working as you would expect, or worse yet, creating a security hole into your personal or business information.

I am not suggesting that everyone needs to stay on the bleeding edge of technology all the time. However, I do think it is important to consider the lifespan of your requirements for the hardware and software you use to run your personal and business lives. It may “run fine” right now, but rest of the world is moving pretty quickly and you don’t want to get left in the dust.

As a side note, with the iPhone 7, I have found that not only has the rejuvenated battery life made my days less stressful, there is a real performance difference that has improved my experience with many of my more resource intensive apps that I used a lot less before. Although none of them were requirements, the benefits I have gotten from the upgrade have made me happy that I pulled the trigger.

Written by: Scott Wilson - 10/3/2016