There’s a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant.
Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there’s a leap every time a new model is released.
That is released – not announced – so it must come from actual use, rather than just thinking that it isn’t quite up to date.
It’s also noted that releases of new Samsung models do not coincide so strongly with leaps in similar search terms. Obviously there’s something specific to Apple here, and that’s that major upgrades to the iPhone coincide with upgrades to iOS, something which 90 per cent of iPhone users will implement.
Famously, Android users do not tend to upgrade their OS over time. So, we might think that this observed slow-down is a result of trying to run the new OS on old hardware which isn’t quite up to supporting it. And we’d probably be right there.
However, we can now go off on our own and go a little further than this. For what’s really remarkable about these OS upgrades is how good Apple has been at keeping new versions of iOS compatible with old versions of hardware. No one at all would suggest running today’s Samsung bloatware (that bit that floats around on top of Android) on hardware three years old. But it seems perfectly acceptable to be running this year’s iOS on old kit. It’s also at this point that we can wander off into a couple of bits of economics for illumination.