I wish that phones stayed relevant for longer periods of timeAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
So I’m hanging out with one of my good friends the other night, who happens to carry the same phone as I do, and she asks me how I’m liking iOS 7. I tell her the same things I told you fine readers – the functions are nice, but the look of it could definitely be improved. Also, by running on “outdated” hardware my phone will probably have even more trouble than the iPhone 5 and experience more lag between transitions and hiccups (especially while testing beta). She tells me that the reason she’s asking is because her phone has been acting slowly and she’s not sure if she wants to stay with her iPhone 4S, but no matter what she does the lag doesn’t let up.
So I go into customer service mode.
"Have you reset the device?"
"Have you done a hard reset on the device?"
"Did you restore everything to the device?"
"Do another hard reset. Don't restore."
"But then I'll lose everything."
But despite doing the reset and not restoring everything, her phone was still experiencing the same lag – more than I expected to see. I too experienced lag with my iPhone 4S before switching to iOS 7, but I attributed that to the mass amounts of photos I had taken and the amount of storage Spotify was taking up. So I started to suspect maybe there was something going on with the internals of the device. We take it to the Apple Store at her request, and lo and behold we find out that the device is “perfectly fine”. After the technician also experienced the lag for herself, she suggested that we try another hard reset.
How many hard resets does it take to get rid of lag?
The answer: One, if that’s truly the answer to the problem. That is not the answer to this problem.
I have had my suspicions after switching to iOS 7 beta that once the full software is released it would be the software version that really makes the iPhone 4S show its age. This software is going to be designed to run flawlessly on whatever internal specs the next generation iPhone happens to be touting, so the iPhone 4S will be the device that’s lucky to even have a chance at running iOS 7 at all, especially judging by how it’s been reacting a little slower to the latest updates of the iOS 6 software. It’s slightly disappointing because this phone is still not even two years old yet.
And unfortunately, this is the norm for us. Our phones routinely stop supporting updates after a certain amount of time. The technology is outdated, or the phone isn't popular enough to support the new software. It's expected with all technology, but I wish that phones were a special exception to the rule sometimes.
I don’t know what I was expecting when I made the switch from Android to iOS. I assumed that by Apple only releasing one device every year, with minimal changes to each OS, that each phone would stay relevant for years to come. That was one of the drawing points for me to switch. But after having to use an iPhone 3GS for a few weeks at one point (after owning a 4S) I realized that the iPhone is just as subject to being outdated as any other phones – the 3GS ran a lot slower than I expected it to. I brushed it off as it being primitive technology. The iPhone 4S would last for much longer than this plastic hunk of wasted time. Right? Wrong.
And now I see the errors of my ways! The all supreme iPhone 4S will end up being just another phone with one foot out the door. No phone is exempt from this vicious cycle. The sad part is it will probably be like this forever.
‘Upgrade day’ used to be a fun and exciting time where you have to tactfully choose your phone because you’re probably going to be stuck with it for another two years. Now I realize it’s the dreadful moment where you realize you’re dropping yet another $200 on a phone that’s going to be just as frustrating to deal with sooner rather than later down the line as your current phone is now.
I mean, at least you get to play with a shiny, fast new toy for a few months. I just wish that the phones would stay relevant throughout the entire duration of having them. Or at least carriers should have the decency to let us upgrade within one year instead of two (thanks, T-Mobile!) or almost two (I’m looking at you, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon!)
I realize this is probably just a far off dream, but if somebody could make a smartphone that works as great as it did (barring battery life) on day one until the day the battery dies…
Of course that would completely ruin any and all business tactics that generate incomes on smartphone purchases, but a person can always dream… can’t they?