Resolved When is a reasonable time to upgrade apple devices

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kalhawari, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Kalhawari macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2013
    I wanted to know what you guys think about this topic and when it would be reasonable to upgrade iPads, iPhones, and MacBooks.

    I'm not talking about getting the latest in a year or two
    Because its the latest but a reasonable time to upgrade it given that one has purchased an apple product for an efficiently built, strong built reliable device.

    Thanks !
  2. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    The impossible quesion.

    The best answer: wait for what the comunity predicts as a milestone upgrade. (or in some people's opinion the one after to ease out bugs)
  3. Fed macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2012
    Only upgrade the device once it stops being able to do what you want.

    Upgrading for any other reason is a fool's game. Just spending money for the sake of it.
  4. Yebubbleman, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The rule of thumb I use is the following:

    When the Apple device is either:

    (a) Unable to run the latest OS (iOS devices) or one OS behind the current OS (Macs)

    (b) Unable to run a given app, program, or task at a peformance level that is to your liking (while within reason).

    (c) Broken and the cost of repair exceeds the worth (in terms of time, energy, and usefulness) of a new one or like model to the point of not getting your money's worth to do the repair (Hint: Apple Store Employees are really good about telling you when it's not worth to spend money on a repair or [in the case of the iOS devices] out of warranty replacement)

    ...That's when I upgrade/replace.

    This tends to be:

    ~3 years for iPod touches and iPhones

    ~2.5 years for iPads

    ~3-4 years for Mac minis, MacBooks (when they existed) MacBook Airs and 13" MacBook Pros (both retina and non-retina)

    ~4-5 years for whichever size of iMac is the lower of the two at the given time as well as lower-end 15" MacBook Pros

    ~5-6 years for whichever size of iMac is the larger of the two at the given time as well as higher-end 15" MacBook Pros, and all 17" MacBook Pros

    ~6-8 years for Mac Pros

    Though this only applies to my points (a) and (c) as point (b) is entirely subjective.
  5. Kalhawari thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2013
    so if i have a 2.4 ghz 8 gb ram 500 gb hard drive is it worth upgrading to the 15 retina ? i can get it at student pricing but as you all said is it necessary? I really want a 15 because i want more screen space to see what I'm doing while doing school work for my classes and work for my internship but it's more of a want than a need i guess...

    another thing was the battery on my mac is really starting to crap out :/ so i am also exercising the option of replacing the battery instead of just buying new mac. If i do that then i could get a new mac when i graduate from university in a year and a half.

    Cheers ! Let me know what you think...
  6. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2009
    If you need more desktop space, get an external monitor. While you're at it, just replace the battery. Get the mac when you graduate, by then, Broadwell may be out and you'll be happy.

    You should only get the 15" if you need the dedicated GPU, the quad cores, or you want to have higher resolution that is more comfortable for your eyes (I can't use anything higher than 1440 x 900 on a 13" screen).
  7. utekineir, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013

    utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    its all pretty situational on a case by case and individual by individual basis.

    I'd say though, at a point where you can resell for a reasonable amount vs the benefit gained from the net cost of the upgrade relative to your finances is a good time.

    For example, in 2009 my sister was sent off to college with a base 13" mbp.

    She has gotten roughly 40 months out of it as her sole computer, with a cost of around $1100 after the academic discount and reselling the free ipod that was the promo at the time.

    At this point shes complaining about it being slow and running low on space (2gb ram, 160gb drive). But is fully willing to start using an external usb for her media storage.

    A refurbished 13" 128gb air is about $1100, a refurbished 13" retina is about $1270.

    Her laptop looks to list on craigslist in the 600-650 range, meaning a realistic sale of $500+. It is in flawless shape and the battery still works well.

    Putting the net cost of upgrading to a current model 13" air at about $600. Divide that out by 40 months and thats about $15 a month to have owned her current machine.

    Seems plenty reasonable to me.

    The other option is to upgrade ram and ssd on her laptop, cost of $150+, but no overall spec bump, no new battery, no 2 years warranty (cc extra year) and no reset resale value that all would be gained by upgrading.
  8. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    If I understand the question correctly, I would upgrade my iPhone when it no longer serves its intended purpose and no sooner. For my laptop, assuming its not broken, I attempt to get at least 3 years service. After that, I wait for the new model to be released so I have a choice between the outgoing and the most current. My iPad will probably not be replaced.
  9. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    No - buy an SSD. (IMHO) Brand new machines with hard drives are SLOWER than older machines with SSDs. I have two 2009 Macs and I'm perfectly content with both now that they have SSDs. I assume you're talking about 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo? Replace that 500GB HDD with a 250GB SSD (about $150 USD) and upgrade to ML if you haven't already.

    ^^ This. :)
  10. metanoiac macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2012
    I think Charlie gave a really good answer here - as long as you have gotten enough life out of your previous devices.

    So what is "enough life"? Realizing that everybody's demands are different (I am mainly working with text and presentations, sometimes in Pixelmator, iPhoto, and some audio / screencasting work), I want to give you the current ages of my devices:

    MacBook aluminium unibody is from October 2008 (not a Pro) and is getting towards end of life, but there is still one year or more left in it. I would replace rather earlier than later, but have no money for it right now and I also curious whether the Air will get a retina display anytime soon.

    One great tip is to upgrade internal components if you can: I upgraded from 2 GB of RAM to 8 GB about a year ago, and the difference is immense. This option is not possible with the Air though, not sure about the rMBP. For the latter devices, I think it makes sense to max out the specs when you are buying it, for longevity.

    iPad is still first generation. I tried upgrading on the 3rd gen, but found it to cut too many compromises. Next iteration (gen 5) will be my next upgrade (fingers crossed for IGZO display!!!), and then I would have gotten over three years out of my iPad.

    iPhone 4: Still working fine. A bit slow to load up apps, but not as bad as iPad 1.
  11. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    The apple official answer would be "you should update your devices every time we release a new model because yours is then old and inferior"

    My answer is, update when you feel the device is no longer fulfilling its use for you, My mum is still using her 1st gen iPhone because she likes it, and has no need of any of the newer features.
  12. Kalhawari thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2013
    Ya currently I replaced my battery, upgraded to 8 Gb of ram
    And upgraded to 500Gb hard drive and reinstalled the Os without time
    Machine port over and I noticed huuuuuuge differences. Feels like new now
  13. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
  14. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    When it can't run the OS I need it to.

    That's it.

    That could mean every year, or every five, depending on what you do with it.
  15. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    When your machine can no longer do what you need it to do and/or it doesn't complete tasks at a reasonable speed.
  16. md11 macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2005
    I upgrade whenever possible and sell off the old device, this costs me about 200 bucks a device, but I always have the newest and a warranty.
  17. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    The way I see things, I'm at a point where all my devices are going to need to be replaced and I'm trying to do them one at a time so they aren't all obsolete at the same time. My 2009 Mac Mini was doing just about everything I wanted it to, but I just replaced it with a new one. I'm going to bump up the ram to 16GB myself as when you look at activity monitor, 4GB is clearly not enough running ML. My Macbook, my wifes Macbook Pro, the old Mini, all of them can't hold more than 4GB so I feel they all need replacing. That said, I would love to wait till I can get what I think may last for a very long time. Consider a machine with these specs:

    1TB SSD
    16 GB ram
    1 or 2 generations past HD4000

    I think I could live with a machine like that for 10 years. I bought the new Mini figuring I could flip it for a new one two years from now and only lose a few hundred. I'll probably wait until next year to replace a laptop or two and spend big bucks to get as close to what I described above.


    Oh, and as far as iPhones go, I still have a 4, but will soon get a 5S. With the lightness of the 5, I would get one right now, but it's all about the storage. I want 128GB minimum. Will I have to wait for the 6? Guess it's going to be every two years until they hit a TB.

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