Speaker 1: I've had this phone for just over two years now, it still works fine. And does everything I need it to, but I can't help, but feel an itch to upgrade to a newer device. This has become the natural life cycle of a phone where after a couple years you feel like you have to upgrade or risk falling behind on the latest tech. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that companies like apple and Samsung roll out new phones every year, even if the updates are incremental. So if it's been a couple years or more, since you bought your phone, it's easy [00:00:30] to feel like you're trailing behind everyone else. Even with annual phone launches, studies show people are holding onto their devices longer in 2018. Us smartphone owners use their phones for an average of about 24 months before upgrading up from around 22 months in 2016.
Speaker 1: And in 2019 smartphone upgrades hit record lows at Verizon and at, and T two of the us' biggest carriers. There's a variety of reasons for this for one phones are becoming more expensive. Prepare [00:01:00] to pay anywhere from 600 to $1,200 for most flagship phones or up to $1,800. If you're going for something like the galaxy Z fold four. Also the upgrades from one generation of a device to the next might not be big enough to temp someone to switch cameras are still getting better with each generation, but chances are, if you have a top tier phone from the last couple years, your camera's already pretty good. And then there's the more obvious reason which is if your phone still works, why [00:01:30] upgrade phone makers like apple have felt the pinch of these less frequent upgrades. It's pushed the company to expand its offerings into areas like TV streaming and fitness services. So it can continue to learn customers and their dollars, even when they're not looking to buy a new phone, but that hasn't stopped companies like apple and Samsung from debuting new phones each year. It's a model that seems to work pretty well for them.
Speaker 2: Yes, you might be fine with your phone today, [00:02:00] but you are just one person. There are plenty of people who bought a phone a year earlier than you or maybe were walking around and dropped their phone on the pavement or in a toilet and need a new device or a kid got a hold of it. They might want a new phone. This could be the right time for them. They're a whole host of different factors as to why somebody would be wanting a new device. And these companies want to make sure they have a product out there. So when that person is looking for their new phone, they have an option from them.
Speaker 1: Basically [00:02:30] they wanna make sure that whenever you're looking for a new device, they'll have a flashy new offering to tempt you with, which then of course leads to more money in their pockets. There were 40 million phone upgrades over the last four quarters in the us alone, and 105 million phone sales total, according to analyst, Roger ner from recon analytics. So it's a pretty sizable market. It's not just phone companies that want you to upgrade wireless carriers have all sorts of trade in deals and discounts to try to lure you, you in too, they [00:03:00] might offer a free iPhone or a galaxy. If you commit to a 36 month plan, because then they've got your payments locked in for a while. Carriers might also offer installment plans so that you can pay off your phone in chunks, which makes those high prices a little easier to stomach. If you've been holding onto your phone for two or more years, the specs on the latest model can seem much more tempting and companies bank on that.
Speaker 2: A lot of people when they're evaluating what phones to upgrade from, they're not looking at necessarily from a year to year [00:03:30] basis, cuz they probably aren't upgrading say from an iPhone 12 to an iPhone 13, they're upgrading from maybe an older iPhone, like an iPhone seven or eight or 10, and looking at getting a new phone now. So they're comparing that device, the device they currently have with the latest that's on the market. When you're looking at that prism, you'll see things like much better cameras, better battery life, faster processors, maybe in some cases, 5g. Or if you're looking at Samsung devices, maybe even the idea of getting to [00:04:00] flip or fold these type of foldable phones that are new and interesting and, and different than what you're used to
Speaker 1: The annual release schedule for phones has always been pretty constant apart from some slight changes over the years when apple first unveiled the iPhone, it came out in June before the company eventually switched to September releases. This works well because it's before the holiday season and gives people enough time to plan ahead and get their hands on. The latest iPhone. Samsung does two major releases a year. Typically [00:04:30] it unveils the latest galaxy S series phones at the beginning of the year. And then in the second half of the year near August or September would introduce the latest note devices. Now that the note has been phased out, it uses that time to unveil the latest models of the galaxy Z flip and Z fold phones. And most other manufacturers stick to one or two major phone releases a year, two other industries release new models of their products each year, too like car companies and appliance makers. But customers don't tend to feel the same push [00:05:00] to upgrade those items as frequently since their bigger purchases. And the changes from model to model are typically even more incremental.
Speaker 1: Now we can't talk about phone upgrades without talking about battery gate in 2017, some users said they believed processors in the iPhone, six and seven slowed down and decrease in performance as batteries aged, apple admitted that its iOS software slows down the performance of older iPhones to counteract problems with aging batteries. [00:05:30] See when a battery gets older, it can't hold a charge as well and can shut down if it's put under too much stress, apple software prevents that from happening by slowing performance, but then there's a trade off your phone won't turn itself off unexpectedly, but it also won't be as snappy as it used to be. Eventually the company ended up paying $113 million to settle an investigation into the practice. This settlement was vindicating for a lot, lot of smartphone users who feel their devices happen to [00:06:00] slow down, right? As new models are unveiled, but it's not really as simple as that
Speaker 2: Devices as they get older, their batteries become less powerful. And in order to preserve battery life, cuz your phone's only as good as if it's on. If it's not on, it's just a giant paper weight that you're carrying with you. So to preserve battery life, they will slow down the processor. And if you replace the battery, things will go back up to theoretically normal speed. And that generally seems to be the case. And, and that's not just an apple thing. That's something that other [00:06:30] manufacturers have been doing on the Android side as well.
Speaker 1: When you trade in your phone for a new one, wireless carriers and phone manufacturers will either refurbish and resell it, reuse some parts or recycle the device. If it can't be salvaged, if you choose not to trade in your old device, it's important to know how to dispose of it. Hint don't throw it in the garbage
Speaker 2: Best way to dispose of it properly. Could be anything from going to your local carrier and offering and seeing what kind of trade in deals they have [00:07:00] or what kind of recycling programs. They have many big box retailers or even some manufacturers, including apple. And I believe Samsung as well will offer if your phone doesn't have any trade in value to recycle it and dispose of it for you for free
Speaker 1: Because phones are so pricey these days, it can be good to take some time to explore your options, look into how much you could get for a trade in or how much you might make. If you sell your old phone on your own, that could make those high prices for a new phone, a little bit more manageable, but ultimately [00:07:30] don't let the barrage of smartphone releases make you feel like you have to upgrade. If you don't actually need to,
Speaker 2: If your phone is fine and you have no burning desire to upgrade, don't upgrade. There's no real rush to get something unless you need to. The advice I give most people when they're saying, should I wait? Or should I buy? Is if your phone is good for you now, you more than happy to keep using it. And you'll be fine. The longer you wait, the closer you are to something new coming up, that's just the way technology works.
Speaker 1: [00:08:00] How often do you upgrade your phone? Leave us a comment and don't forget to hit like and subscribe for more content from CNET.