Upgrades and updates are an important yet often overlooked function of modern technology. Your refrigerator never gets an upgrade. The power we get from the electric company is what it is. Electricity. Not much changes other than prices go up.
What about your Mac? Or, iPhone and iPad? Apple upgrades each platform with regularity and that stands in stark contrast to the company’s many competitors? Many? OK, on the PC side, two. Linux and Windows, both of which receive upgrades. Linux, however, has dozens of distros or versions. Windows has been plagued with upgrade problems since the days of former CEO Steve Baller. For all the success Satya Nadella brought to Microsoft, uneventful upgrades are not one of them.
We can say the same for the Android world. Apple seems up upgrade about 90-percent of all iPhone and iPad users before a new version hits the streets late each summer. Meanwhile, Android smartphone owners have the latest version only if they buy a new phone, or bought one of the few smartphones that can handle an Android upgrade.
Upgrading is one of Apple’s secret weapons and nothing Microsoft or Google has done with Windows or Android has put a dent in Apple’s lead.
Apple makes it easy to upgrade applications from the App Stores, and just as easy to upgrade macOS and iOS to the latest versions. Even better, Apple extends the life cycle of older hardware– Mac, iPhone, and iPad– by putting the latest operating system versions on older products; sometimes dating back to five years or so.
While the vast majority of Android smartphone owners never see an upgrade to Android– ever– Apple’s customers actually see an improvement in their products for years after the purchase. Think about that. An iPhone or iPad or Mac that was purchased last year or the year before or years before, improves every year for about five years, so it’s actually an improved product while you use it.
Most Android smartphone customers never see an upgrade, and many never see even a security upgrade. Often, when they buy a new smartphone, customers don’t even get the latest version of Android OS because most ship with last year’s version.
How is that not criminal?
Apple has meany weapons to use against competitors, but one we don’t pay much attention to is the upgrade path because it’s built in and just works. Secret weapon, indeed.