Why Apple and Samsung Release Phones Every Year

The phone life cycle has become kind of predictable. You spend hundreds of dollars on a new device, enjoy all the flashy specs and features, and then within a year, a new model comes out and makes yours feel outdated. Within two years, you may feel like it’s time to upgrade or risk falling behind.

It’s an exhausting and costly exercise. But it’s one that seems to work well for companies like Apple and Samsung, which roll out new flagship phones each year. They know at any point customers could be in the market for a new device, and they want to have something to tempt them with.

“You might be fine with your phone today, but you are just one person,” Eli Blumenthal, a CNET mobile reporter, says in the video above. “There are plenty of people who bought a phone a year earlier than you, or maybe were walking around and dropped their phone on the pavement or in a toilet and need a new device, or a kid got a hold of it. They might want a new phone, and this could be the right time for them …. These companies want to make sure they have a product out there so when that person is looking for their new phone, they have an option. “

Even if there’s no real need to upgrade your phone, it can be easy to feel like you want to, just to enjoy that improved camera or bigger screen.

But because phones just keep getting more expensive – most flagship phones cost anywhere from $ 700 to $ 1,200 – people are holding on to their devices longer. In 2018, US smartphone owners used their phones for an average of about 24 months before upgrading, up from around 22 months in 2016, according to a CNBC report. But that still hasn’t stopped phone makers from continuing with the annual release cycle.

Check out the video above for more on why companies release phones each year and how to know whether it’s time to upgrade.