Tech gets outdated fast, so why invest so soon?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Perene, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Perene macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2015

    This video is from 1995. Article about it.

    The camera displayed after 1:50 had 1 Megapixel, was able to store 70 pictures... and 131 MEGABYTES. At the time it was worth US$ 20 000.

    Another example:

    - In November 22, 2005 a local newspaper (from my country) showed an ad from a 42' PLASMA TV worth US$ 4500. Today the same TV is sold in an eBay-like website for... US$ 150-250. 94% less.

    The same can be said about STORAGE.

    The link shows how it became cheaper over the years.

    Then we have the 4K/5K/8K PC monitors... and all equipment that records in higher resolutions.

    My question is: since all these technologies (add others not mentioned) became cheaper over the years, wouldn't be wiser to wait a little more before any investment?

    Should we always have the last gadgets?

    And since I am talking about prices, why it makes sense that Apple can charge

    US$ 1549

    For the new iPAD Pro (11/wi-fi only) with 1 TB...

    Or US$ 799 for 64 GB, when we consider that decades ago we already had that ammount of storage for much less? Isn't this a complete rip-off?

    I find hilarious that in 2018 someone is paying for a 64 GB tablet when more than 10 years before we were using hard drives 10 times that size.
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Technology moves on because we are willing to buy them.
    Let’s look at TV’s.
    Remember CRT sets? I do.
    When flat TV’s came out we all rushed to buy one.
    Then HD 720p came out!
    Then HD 1080p
    Then 4K
    Then HDR
    Then 8k

    Etc etc.
    But there comes a point when it really doesn’t matter. But the industry will convince us we need the latest and greatest.
    Even when most of the content we view isn’t even the same as our sets can show!
  3. acorntoy, Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018

    acorntoy macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2010
    I'm starting to think maybe the Xs Max is good value...

    But seriously technology only progressed because people were willing to buy the new expensive versions, R&D kept chugging on and eventually the technology trickled down to lower price points. It's like cars, they say if you want to know what an economy car will be in ten years look at an S class.

    People are willing to pay because they might have excess money, and we are all constantly running out of our ability to spend our excess time to wait.
  4. yaxomoxay macrumors 68030


    Mar 3, 2010
    I am puzzled by the word "invest" in the title, as the answer to the question is implied in the word "invest". If you invest, by definition you expect a ROI that will pay back for the purchased item, the manpower, and the time invested in buying it.
  5. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    A simple answer: It depends.

    It is not as simple saying that if they wait to buy a technology that the only difference would be price they are paying for the technology. You are forgetting about the trade off of not buying that new technology and waiting, one of them being that the user is missing out on using that tech while they wait.

    There is an opportunity cost associated with either buying now or waiting for later. If you buy now, you lose more money, but you get the benefit of using the tech. If you buy later, you pay less now, but lose the benefit of the tech.

    For example: I bought my near Max out Late 2012 iMac in 2012 for over $3K, and it is currently going for less than $1k on eBay today. If I would have waited to buy my iMac, what would I of used? I could have gotten something cheaper, but every day for the last 6 years, my performance would have suffered due to having an inferior product.

    The question now would be, is that higher performance over the past 6 years worth the $2000 more (not counting TVM) than paying $1K now?

    The answer depends on the user. Maybe having higher performance is worth it to the user to pay for a new Mac every generation, or maybe the saving the money is more importance and the user can go over a decade without upgrading.

    It is up to the individual, as mentioned above.

    But, that is 13 years of not using the tech.

    For me, the new plasma in 2005 was not worth spending over $4K, but for someone that needed or wanted to be an early adopter of that tech, $4k was probably worth it for them.

    Apple storage prices have always been goofy, and I am not defending Apple, but they can charge what they charge because people want their devices and want to use Apple's OS. There is an opportunity cost involved with this too. You can Pay more now, and be happy with the storage, or pay less and be unhappy about the benefit of storage.

    And there is also the option of paying even less and buy non-Apple products, but you lose the benefit of using their stuff.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 14, 2018 ---
    BTW, the majority of people do wait to buy most of their tech, as the prices for an early adopter is usually way more than most people could afford. Use your digital camera example you posted.
  6. Solver macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2004
    Cupertino, CA
    Does this mean like we wait to “invest” in another phone until they response to thinking, “Hey SIRI...”?
  7. Erehy Dobon macrumors newbie

    Erehy Dobon

    Feb 16, 2018
    It depends on the individual and his/her situation and needs.

    Does a five-year old iPhone 5S make calls and take photos? Yes. So does the iPhone Xs. However, the camera on the latter blows doors on the older handset. The iPhone Xs also shoots 4K video at 60fps and provides optical video stabilization at 30fps. Is this important? For some yes, for others no.

    Does Microsoft Office run any better on the recently released MacBook Air compared to a five-year old model? No, not significantly. Does it render 4K video faster? Yes it does. Does the recently released model with the Retina Display make reading languages with logographic characters (like Japanese or Chinese) easier, especially on tired old eyes? Yes, it does.

    Even these situational assessments are valid on things that don't advance quickly from a technological standpoint.

    A car's primary function is to go from Point A to Point B. Does a brand new Mazda Miata does this any better than the model you bought in 2013? Arguably, no.

    Now let's say since then you got married and have three kids (including a set of twins). Now how does that brand new Miata look to you?

    There's no sweeping generalization that says "Yes, buy the latest stuff" or "No, the old stuff is sufficient."

    Technologies and features change. Some of the changes are important for some, not important for others.

    For sure, some technology improvements are revolutionary. The high-capacity digital memory storage card changed the game for photographers.

    Twenty years ago, if you were a professional underwater photographer, you probably dove with 10-20 underwater housings because each camera body could only accommodate a roll of 36 exposure film and there's no way to change film underwater. Today, you can shoot hundreds of photos; the limiting technological factor might be the battery life for your flash unit.
  8. dfs macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2008
    As a blanket response to a bunch of these posts, I think there comes a time when every tech product hits a state of maturity, close enough to perfection that further improvements aren't worth the investment. I. m. h. o., some of the current ones to have achieved this status include the desktop computer (and maybe the laptop), digital cameras both still and video, the 4K television, and mesh wireless technology. I can't imagine any of these that could be made so much better (or at least that couldn't be adequately improved by software and firmware upgrades) that I would be able to justify the cost of replacement. On the other hand, there are certain other products (the smart loudspeaker comes quickly to mind, and probably the smartwatch) which are newer categories and have a helluva lot of room for improvement. As for the smartphone, sooner later -- my guess is later -- 5g telephony will come into its own and we'll all want to replace our 4g stuff, and a lot sooner than most folks imagine the major carriers are going to get out of the landline business altogether (landlines are unprofitable and diverting money from keeping their aging infrastructure running will help pay for the creation of the new 5g infrastructure which will be necessary), which will require a lot of rethinking about what kind of work a smartphone will be required to do. So we may have hit a plateau on smartphones for the moment, but that won't last forever.
  9. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    That's now really how it all works in the sense that it mainly comes down to something simplistic as that.
  10. rbrian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    I like new tech, but I also like to be out of debt, so I try to get the best price/benefit ratio. Sometimes I don't want to wait, so then I set a price limit, and hold off until it drops sufficiently. I wanted an OLED TV, but £3,000 was too much, so I set a limit of £2,000, and actually paid £1800 for an LG B55, about three months after I started looking. A year later, they're now £1200. I think it was worth buying when I did; it's a fantastic TV.

    That same price/benefit calculation rules out all current Apple products, since I can get 95% of the benefit for 50% of the price in the case of laptops, and 70% for 10% in the case of tablets.

    Waiting a while also gets you the benefit of updates - my Surface Pro 4, bought for half the original price a few weeks before the 5th gen launched, has had no problems, though earlier ones did.
  11. azbronco macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2018
    I tend to buy versions that are a year or two old and find I still get excellent electronics at a great price. At the same time, I’m glad there are enough people willing to pay to be early adopters so people like me can benefit from the lower prices.
  12. millerj123 macrumors 65816

    Mar 6, 2008
    I'm really glad others see buying tech as an investment. For me, it's almost always an expense, but several times I've purchased technology related to my job which has so far always resulted in raises, so...

    If someone wants to buy me the latest high-end mac mini, I'm in.
  13. Erehy Dobon macrumors newbie

    Erehy Dobon

    Feb 16, 2018
    It's an expense, not an investment.

    Investments are things like shares of AAPL or BRK-B, real estate, gold bullion, insurance annuities, etc.

    If the value depreciates over time, it's an expense.

    Computers -- apart from collectibles like the Apple I -- are always expenses, even if they end up being useful tools for your career.

    They're still an expense, just like a $0.25 Bic ballpoint pen, a $2000 suit, $35,000 delivery truck or $800,000 Oracle installation.
  14. smirking macrumors 68000


    Aug 31, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. Hard drives have exceeded that size 10 years before, but it's different tech and a 640GB hard drive in 2008 wasn't exactly cheap. If you go back another 10 years, the same 64GB of storage would have been respectable and not so hilarious.

    It's an interesting pattern you see in the world of tech. What happened before, always seems to happen again, but in a different way that takes what happened the previous time a step further either by making it more sophisticated or miniaturizing what came before.

    All of our computing devices got bigger and bigger and then at some point they got smaller and smaller, but when they got smaller, they retrace some of the history that its predecessors saw. Your desktop PC evolved into your laptop which evolved into your smartphone and then a smartwatch.

    It's not just hardware. We see it in software and services too. The first chats were two people who had to explicitly connect to each other's computers. Eventually there were chatrooms, chat channels, instant messaging, texting, and Slack channels.

    So yeah, if you want to maximize your purchase wait as long as you can. Unless you're the type of person that's extracts a lot of benefit from being an early adopter or you just have lots of cash, never get aboard the first version of anything. It'll get better and cheaper within a few years.

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