A few people suspected that Siri could probably work on the iPhone 4, and some developers even ported it to prove the theory. It works. Apple didn't roll it out to the iPhone 4 because it served as an extra incentive to upgrade.
The Galaxy S3 offers a bigger and better screen than the S2 but, much like the iPhone update, the rest of the improvements are fairly minor. It's faster, it has more storage, and the battery life has been improved.
The carrot of 4G is only tempting if you do a lot of downloading, and you live in the right area. Features like NFC for contactless payment have yet to really take off with consumers.
Ask yourself why you're upgrading
Realistically, the urge to upgrade is only partly because of the new features and performance improvements on offer. In effect, I can do almost everything I can do on my Galaxy S3 with my old HTC Desire, and it's more than two years old. I'm talking about the core features you use daily here like checking email, browsing the Web, messages and calls, playing games, and even watching TV shows and movies.
Yes, the S3 will do everything faster and it looks nicer, but it's more a matter of want than need.
If we're really honest, the tech industry is also driven by fashion. The latest devices serve as status symbols. Specific brands project lifestyle choices and reflect personalities. We are bombarded by advertising that reinforces these ideas.
What do people actually use them for?
Despite a list of great features as long as your arm, many people only use their smartphones for a limited set of things. Recent research from O2 revealed that on average people spend most time each day browsing the Web (25 minutes), checking Facebook and other social networks (17 minutes), and playing games (14 minutes). The main things they are replacing in our lives are alarm clocks and watches. 54 percent of people said they use their smartphone instead of an alarm clock and 46 percent said they use their smartphone instead of a watch.
It seems likely that a lot of people are paying a premium to own a fancy watch that makes phone calls. If I observe my own parents using their smartphones, it's clear they never play games, watch TV or movies, browse the Web, use GPS navigation, or record videos. No matter how many times I tell them, they tend to have their mobile data switched on all the time even when they are in Wi-Fi range, but then since they pretty much only use their phones as phones it doesn't really matter.
The tech industry has mastered the art of upselling. The tech press and the stores combine to convince people to buy devices that they definitely don't need. Why is someone who only uses their computer to browse the Web, write up documents, and send emails coming home with a device sporting a 2.4GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM and a graphics card capable of running the latest FPS release?
Equally, if you only send text messages, make calls, and check the time on your phone then you really don't need a Galaxy S3. However, that won't stop me and every other tech writer out there from telling you that it's the phone to have, and it definitely won't stop carriers and stores from selling you one.
Do you need to upgrade?
The answer is probably no, but strictly speaking we don't "need" most of the things we buy. The real question is do you want to upgrade?
Incidentally, as I explained to my wife, as a tech writer I actually do "need" to upgrade all my gadgets frequently.
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