Do you love technology? Of course, you do! What kid doesn’t like the latest and greatest in electronics? From cell phones to tablet computers, new technology is constantly evolving to meet the demands of the modern world.
Speaking of cell phones, have you ever had any experience with older phones? Have you ever seen a wired telephone with a rotary dial? What about one of the first cell phones that came in a bag and was the size of a brick?
If you’ve never seen examples of those older types of phones, it’s probably because you’re too young to remember them. They’re examples of old technology that has been replaced by newer, better, lighter, smaller versions.
But what about all that new technology? Won’t it be old someday, too? You bet it will! But when?
The word experts use to describe old technology is “obsolescence.” Obsolescence occurs when something is no longer used even though it might still work just fine. Obsolescence can occur for many different reasons.
For example, a cell phone may become obsolete if a better replacement is available. Who wants to carry around something the size of a brick if you could instead slip a sleek, light piece of plastic into your shirt pocket?
Sometimes obsolescence occurs because of changes in technology. Technical obsolescence can be seen in the aisles of most electronics stores today. With the invention of high-definition television, many traditional televisions that still work just fine are no longer sold because the shift to high-definition has made older-style televisions obsolete.
Examples of technical obsolescence can also be seen in the history of how we listen to music and watch movies. Do you remember eight-track tapes or reel-to-reel movies? Probably not. You’re probably more familiar with digital music players and DVDs.
Products can also become obsolete because their functionality has changed over time or with the invention of new products. For example, when cars became more popular than horse-drawn carriages, buggy whips became obsolete. Likewise, typewriters are largely a thing of the past now that computers have overtaken their role in modern society.
As fast as technology changes today, some companies are starting to plan obsolescence into their product cycles. For example, they may decide to manufacture a product with parts designed to wear out in just a few years. By the time the parts wear out, the company will have a new product designed to take the place of the old one. In this way, companies can continue to generate repeat business over time.
So when you get that latest and greatest iProduct Version 5.0, just remember that Version 6.0 is just around the corner! Your Version 5.0 will probably still work fine, but Version 6.0 will have the latest must-have features that you’ll probably want. You’ll have to decide for yourself: is the older version still OK? Or will you upgrade to the latest and greatest? How fast technology becomes “old” is sometimes up to you!