On walkabout in life and technology

Should I Wait?

As a technologist, I am often asked by friends and family whether they should buy a new gizmo now or wait a while for the next release of said gizmo.

I always have the same answer:

If you need it, buy it now.

By asking me if you should buy the gizmo, you have already identified a need for it. The purchase decision is already made. You old gizmo is broken, or too slow, or cannot do the things the new gizmo does, so you have already chosen to purchase a new gizmo.

The issue is one of timing. Buy the new gizmo now or wait an unspecified amount of time and buy it in the future. My answer to this is also simple and the same:

If you buy it now, you can get the utility of the new gizmo now. If you wait, well, you cannot use it, can you?

I think the main reason people ask is because they are afraid that if they buy the gizmo now, they will be making a bad decision. What makes the decision bad? People assume that the next version will somehow be better, and by purchasing the current version, they will be getting an inferior product. Even if the next version has never been announced or is a year away!

I have the opposite view. If you need the utility of the gizmo now, surely its a bad decision to delay the gizmo’s purchase and forego the gizmo’s utility.

I purchased my old Titanium Powerbook a week after they announced the Aluminum Powerbooks, and it was the best laptop I ever owned. I purchased my 23" Cinema Display the day Apple announced the new Aluminum displays, and its still on my desktop and in use every day. And I own an iPhone 4S because I get the utility of Siri on it right away.

So don’t ask me whether to buy now or wait. If you need the utility of a product, go get it, and enjoy the benefits of that product.