Apple launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in late 2017. Several months later and the company decided it would launch a (PRODUCT)RED version of both of those handsets. Just like last year, when Apple did the same exact thing with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, this didn't sit well with a lot of iPhone buyers. The red color is pretty fantastic, but the fact that Apple waits months after launch to actually release it is pretty frustrating.
Especially for early adopters.
Now, it should be said that the (PRODUCT)RED version of the iPhone 8 came out a year after the iPhone 7 option, so Apple appears to be sticking with a yearly refresh rate for this variant, too. But without a confirmation from Apple, which they aren't going to do, there's no way of knowing for sure that we'll get a new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone every year. So if you upgraded to the iPhone 8/8 Plus when it launched, not expecting a new red variant in early 2018, no one should blame you for that.
Now, here we are with Samsung. The company just announced that it's going to launch 128GB and 256GB variants of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in May. The 128GB option has been available internationally, but this is the first time these major upgrades in built-in storage are going to be available in the United States. These are obviously options that customers would want (none of them surpass the $1,000 mark, either, which is fantastic), and they probably would have sold extremely well right out of the gate.
What's worse, is that Samsung obviously knew it was going to launch these variants in the U.S. at some point. This isn't a decision they made over the weekend. And, yes, the Galaxy S9 lineup supports microSD cards so there is that as an option. But some folks don't want to use a microSD card, so the built-in storage option is the way to go.
The staggered launch is a distinct move. It's done on purpose, because Samsung, Apple, and every other company that does this (looking at you, LG) needs to bump up sales. So, launching a variant, one with a distinct reason to buy, helps with that. For Apple it's releasing a new color option. There are even still rumors that Apple may launch a gold variant of the iPhone X before the new model launches later this year.
This has to stop. This is wildly frustrating, especially for early adopters. If anything it looks like these companies are trying to make a case buying their products at launch, because they keep telling us that something better is coming down the pipe. And I actually think offering a better storage option is even worse of a move than just a different color variant. It just feels shady.
The only silver lining here is that wireless carriers at least give customers, in some cases, the ability to pay off a certain amount of a handset, trade it in, and get something new -- even well in advance of the expected upgrade date. That's not always the case, though. And when it comes to the new Galaxy S9 variants? That's not an option, because Samsung is selling them directly from its online store, and not wireless carriers.
Maybe Samsung should offer up the ability to trade in a 64GB Galaxy S9, with no loss of value, and let customers pay the minimal difference to get the newer models. That would be a positive move in my book. And I know customers would take advantage of it. But that would obviously impact Samsung in the books, so it won't happen. Maybe offer up a free 64GB microSD card to existing Galaxy S9 owners.