It is consistently impressed on us that it is better to have the latest, newest, most modern version of our items. Whether it’s clothes, TVs, laptops, phones, appliances, etc, new = better. But that inherently inscribes some kind of arbitrary value to some metric we have invented to compare different products with each other. Eventually, what really matters is not how new something is, but how much value it adds to our lives.
I was reminded of this idea when I was checking my MacBook serial number. In the window where it shows this (About this Mac) it also displays which version of MacBook I have. It’s from early 2014, which means as I’m writing this in 2019, it’s nearly 5 years old. Considering the usual reported “laptop lifetimes range from 3-4 years”, I’m quite amazed that it still performs as well as I can remember. In fact, its battery (which is one of the first components of laptops to start dropping off) is still working quite well according to a system check I did.
As usual, after the latest Apple release, I had a peruse of the website to see the new MacBook Air. After a look at the cost and the specs, I decided it wasn’t my time to upgrade. The higher “specs” (aka. numbers) no longer made a strong impression on me (which is their purpose - to make you feel that your current numbers are not enough).
Next time you are thinking about upgrading, whatever it might be, think about the intention behind it - do you want the newest version of it? Have you subconsciously ascribed some value to a 13.2 MP camera over a 10 MP? It’s an extremely easy trap to fall into because this is what advertising is designed to do. It’s hard to avoid being exposed to this, but we can deal with this problem by shopping consciously and with intention. Taking this first step doesn’t take a lot of time and could seriously save your bank account/debt/life from a huge downgrade.
I strongly recommend listening to The Minimalist’s podcast on Upgrades. (available online or on any podcast app).