Did Apple Really Just Screw Over iPad Owners?

iPad

Earlier this week, Apple held an event during which they announced several new and updated products, including a smaller iPad, thinner and sleeker iMacs, and a new high-end laptop. Needless to say, these announcements got plenty of people excited, including yours truly, as the months — and even years — of anticipation, rumors, and analysis come to a head and revealed a slew of lovely new products.

But as Buzzfeed reports, there were some people who were disappointed, even angered by Apple’s announcements. Specifically, people who had bought an iPad 3 in the last month or so. You see, Apple also announced a brand new iPad, and this just a mere six months after they had released the iPad 3, leaving some new iPad owners disappointed, even outraged at Apple. Here are some of the more family-friendly responses:

  • “pretty pissed apple just announced a new ipad…after i just bought one.”
  • “cant believe my ipad3 is already obsolete”
  • “My poor brother. He just bought an iPad 3 a month ago.”
  • “Just bought an iPad 3 like 2 days ago, and the iPad 4 just came out….really? really?”
  • “Crap, just bought my wife an iPad 3 about a month ago.”

Many of the Tweets that Buzzfeed listed expressed frustration that recent iPad 3 purchases were already rendered obsolete by the new iPad, just a few scant months after its release. This is, rationally speaking, nonsense. The iPad 3 doesn’t suddenly run any slower, or display things any less sharper and clearer, or stop running certain apps simply because a new iPad appears on the scene. Also, it’s not like Apple lied to these people, by promising them that their iPad 3 would be the latest and greatest for a long period of time.

People bashing Apple because they had the “misfortune” of buying a new iPad shortly before a newer one arrives is hard to hear as anything but entitled whining. And yet, their frustration and anger are kind of understandable. We always want the shiniest and brightest toys, or the biggest bang for our buck. Furthermore, marketing — as Erin Straza often reminds us in her “Mixed Signals” articles — does its best to convince us that we need something by telling us that there’s a certain gap in our lives that only can be filled by that particular product. And Apple’s marketing department has done a very good job of creating a great amount of desire for their products.

But here we see an interesting twist, when people’s desire for the latest and greatest — which is arguably spurred on by Apple’s marketing — runs up against Apple’s own product cycle. Or rather, when Apple’s product cycle undermines and challenges the expectations and assumptions of those who buy their products. Companies like Apple are under no obligation to schedule product releases around consumers’ desired timelines, though it obviously makes sense to keep that in mind; Apple would be perfectly within their rights to release new iPad models every six months if they wanted to.

Put simply, you will never own the latest and greatest. The minute you buy anything, it becomes obsolete — and that is especially true when it comes to anything technological, given the ever-increasing pace of development. It’s funny to think that something like an iPad — an incredibly desired and highly sought-after product — could remind us that there is something to be said for learning to be content with what we have, and to not be caught up in a vain, materialistic pursuit to always possess the newest, as if that’s what’s important.

Or, as one commenter on the Buzzfeed article wrote, “And the moral of the story is- buy the shiny new thing because you want what it does, not because it’s the shiny new thing.” Unfortunately, such thinking flies directly in the face of what our culture, and much of the marketing that surrounds us today, tells us to do.

About Jason Morehead

Jason Morehead lives in the lovely state of Nebraska with his wife, three children, zero pets, and a large collection of CDs, DVDs, books, and video games. He's a fan of Arcade Fire and Arvo Pärt, Jackie Chan and Andrei Tarkovsky, "Doctor Who" and "Community," and C.S. Lewis and Haruki Murakami. He's also a web development geek, which pays the bills — and buys new music and movies. Twitter: @jasonopus. Web: http://opus.fm.

  • http://jaketolbert.com/blog Jake T

    If Apple didn’t court and cultivate the obsession with New and Shiny, I’d agree. As it is, though, Apple’s brand is wrapped up in this ideas of always having the newest, shiniest thing.

    So of course, the people that bought into that marketing (by purchasing a product) are angry–they were sold a lie.

    It doesn’t obviate the purchaser’s guilt, but neither does it put Apple in the ethical clear.

  • george

    sell the boring iOS ipad and buy the new samsung nexus 10 allegedly coming next week with a much better screen and more entertaining iOS :P have you ever really tried android NOW with jelly bean? much better than apple crap…

  • http://opus.fm/ Jason Morehead

    @Jake: You’re right, Apple has certainly done their fair share to create desire for their products. But how, exactly, did Apple sell people a lie here?

  • Michael

    I’ve always found this to be an odd dichotomy from Apple. They update their products more frequently, and to more fanfare, than any other tech company. And yet, in my experience, their gadgets also remain functional (and even capable) for longer than any other company’s gadgets that I’ve used. I’m currently on just my 2nd Apple computer in 11 years (this one being a Macbook Pro). This one is already over 6 years old, and it still works well (though it is now starting to show it’s age, and I’m thinking about upgrading).

    iOS devices, however, seem to lend themselves more readily to gadget envy, as they are relatively inexpensive, they are simple, and even small changes on these devices seem much more significant.

  • http://opus.fm/ Jason Morehead

    @Michael: I know what you mean. My primary computer is a six-year-old iMac that works quite well, albeit a little slowly. My dad is still using a (heavily upgraded) Performa 6400 that he bought over a decade ago as his primary computer.

  • Jason

    I can’t speak for other products Apple products, but Apple has been pretty consistent about “notifying” “hinting” when the new versions of iPhones and iPads will be released. If you own one of the mentioned gadgets, I am sure you had a good idea in terms of time line of new upgrade before you made your purchase. I bought my “new iPad” 35 days ago thinking I would at least have another 6 month’s or so before the new release. If I had known a new version would come out 35days later and at the same price, I would definitely have waited. iPad 3 is being sold now as refurbished product for ~$150 less. I could’ve waited and have spent that much less for the same one I bought or had the option of buying the new one with the same amount of money I spent. It’s just frustrating to have been blindsided.

  • Liam

    I bought the ‘new iPad’ just 3 weeks ago……..and now the 4 gets announced!! But hey..they were the ones on the shelf the day I decided to go buy one! This must happen to us all the time with other products but we don’t let it bother us. Somehow Apple make us want their latest model even though you will probably not notice any difference in performance unless you actually test with the most demanding apps and even then would the difference bother you?. Just remember you are free to enter a store and choose whatever product to best suit your needs whatever that may be. Normally we don’t know, care or even think about whether it is the latest model or not and it would never even cross your mind what the resale value would be as you would only replace when you need to. Also if like me all your Apple products have the 30 pin socket and you have docking stations and accessories etc. just enjoy knowing everything you have is compatible………If they offered me a swap i’d still take it though.

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  • Mrwhippy

    Why are Apple ipad3 owners angry? This is why.
    Imagine a car maker. They tend to release a new version of a car say each year (in line with reg plates). You goto the car dealership and grab the latest model thats been in circulation a month. You figure i’ve got around a year before they release the next one…..6 months later theres a new car. It looks exactly the same but they’ve replaced the engine so it accelerates and tops out at twice the speed. Not only that but they instantly phase out your current car, selling it at a fraction of the price.
    Would you be annoyed? I am. Especially since when things are phased out so quickly in the technology world its usually by the product that the one you brought early “should” have been. I resisted Apple for years, all my friends and family were buying into it and i disliked the closed system and inflated pricing. When i got my ipad3 i was very surprised at how much i liked it (and still do). But now i just feel like i have been taken for a ride. By making its product release cycle historically annual, coupled with releasing an updated ipad3 (and not a new increment as it claims to be), phasing out the ipad3 (sticking with it being an upgrade and not an increment) and selling it for the same price Apple has made myself and im sure alot of others feel like idiots for investing in their product.
    I know this is business, but at least give the customer the impression you value them as more than a walking ATM.


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