'Tis the season for unveiling new top shelf smartphones

Just like we expect the “white things” to start making their appearance by late November/early December each year in Cleveland, we have come to expect the smartphone giants, Apple and Google, to unveil their new smartphones this time of the year. As I type this article, Apple has announced their 2019 iPhone model (iPhone 11) while Google is slated to unveil their 2019 Pixel model (Pixel 4) in mid-October.

As always, the popular media outlets have penned a smorgasbord of information on the titans’ 2019 smartphone refreshes; if you're interested in learning more, they are only a “googling” away! You can also visit Westlake Porter Public Library or Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Bay Village branch for periodicals. The same magazines you find there, like research favorite Consumer Reports, are available in the digital world as “eMagazines” to read on your tablet, smartphone, or computer from the comfort of your home. Not limited to eMagazines, their digital services include available eBooks, movies, TV shows, music, and many other benefits that you can access over the internet.

Trusting that the popular media can satiate your appetite for information on the new smartphones, I’m going to share my catalysts, or to put it another way, “the straws that break the camel's back,” that make me think about replacing my smartphone.

When Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007, it was revolutionary. Subsequent annual iterations have been anything but revolutionary in my opinion; only evolutionary as the basic smartphone features are the same.

Photography has been my hobby since high school so I would be lying if I said the new smartphone camera capabilities introduced annually don’t interest me. They do, but not to the extent of replacing my otherwise capable smartphone.

My wife and I tend to hang on to our smartphones for a long time, although there is one event that would make us replace our daily driver: end-of-support. Just like Microsoft announced end-of-support for Windows 7, Apple and Google announce which particular vintage of their smartphones will not receive the newest operating system – iOS and Android respectively – and/or security updates.

This is one catalyst for change, as being safe while using always-connected-to-the-internet, aka the cloud, devices like our smartphones are important for us. New operating systems and availability to receive regular security updates for discovered vulnerabilities are an essential component of minimizing risk.

For many people using cell phones, it is getting harder and harder to find replacement cell phones (flip phones or non-smart phones) or even replacement batteries for aging cell phones. I can see this being another appropriate reason, however unfortunate, for getting a new smartphone.

Remember, you will be stuck with iPhones if you fancy Apple products but there are many options at various price points to fit any budget if you buy into Android-based smartphones. Google’s Pixels are nice but like iPhones they are “top shelf” smartphones – i.e. expensive. Top shelf may not be appropriate if smartphones one-fourth the price do everything you need to do.

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with almost 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 11, Issue 18, Posted 9:08 AM, 09.17.2019