Geek Speak: Allure of bleeding edge technology
Posted Jun 28, 10
I’ve been an iPhone owner for a long time now and have been watching Apple’s rise to dominant market share.
As a technologist it’s really easy to get excited about new hardware and functionality. AT&T has offered to let me upgrade early and I have many friends that either registered in advance on the internet or are braving the store to get their hands on Steve Job’s latest wonder. I have no doubt that the fore mentioned friends and colleagues will be happy to demonstrate all of the miracles that I’m missing out on that will make me long for the satisfaction that is the rush of “new gear”. I’m positive that some of them will try to video call me just to tease me. **sigh**
Surprisingly, I think I’m going to sit this upgrade out until later this fall. My experiences with Apple’s upgrades, both software and hardware, have really been hit or miss. I have experienced “phone bricking” where you do an upgrade and without taking the phone to an apple store to be reset, your phone is as useful as a brick. I have had a myriad of issues around connectivity and problems with using my phone for weeks after some upgrades.
“But Grant”, you say, “aren’t you a technologist? Aren’t you supposed to relish new gear, gadgets, and software to blaze the trail through the thorns for the rest of us? Why weren’t you camping out for 4 days at the Apple store to be one of the very first, for all of our sakes? Come on, take one for the team!”
Well, you are right. That is usually me. The reason I’m not doing it this time is simple. My iPhone has become a very important business and personal tool. I cannot afford for it to be non-functional and when I actually do upgrade, I’m going to have to do it over a weekend to allow me time to recover from possible failures or setbacks during upgrades.
I’m sharing this, because I think there is a greater lesson here. There is no compelling need driving me to upgrade my phone. The iPhone I have does everything I need it to right now and none of the new features is a must have. On the other hand, I have a risk of issues with functionality that is core to my business life. If this were just a toy to me, I’d have upgraded on the first day it was available. But since it’s a critical business tool to me, I’m going to wait, do my research on what issues others find, and upgrade when it will be least impactful to me.
If, like my business software, I was able to try it on a test bed or restore from backup, I would be more willing to give the upgrade a try because I could minimize my risk of downtime. I really can’t do that with the iPhone hardware or software (but I can backup my data, which I do religiously).
New, complicated, and flashy replacement technology comes our way all the time. Seek to understand the benefits it can bring as well as the risk. If the benefits aren’t clear, you are taking a risk for no reward.
And to my friends, who have already preceded me on the upgrade path, let me know when Apple has the iPhone 4 antenna issues fixed….. That kind of seems like a problem for me, I think I’ll wait.
VP Research & Development, Sage Nonprofit Solutions