The problem with ‘next-gen’ gadgets

The Dell XPS 13 Plus keyboard deck seen from above.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus has a heck of a lot in common with the XPS 13 — but its audience is very, very different. | Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

Gadgets, since time in memoriam, have worked a certain way.

You, a company, release one. It’s good, but it’s not perfect. No gadget is perfect! So you do market research and focus groups. You figure out who’s buying. You figure out what they like and what they don’t like. You refine. You fix problems.

The next year, you release a version of that device that is objectively, concretely better. This is the next-gen device, the Device 2.0. You call this device an “upgrade.” You tell your customers to recycle Device 1.0 and replace it with Device 2.0. Some of them do. “Should you upgrade?” the tech bloggers write, calculating the pros and cons of doing so.

I know, I know, this is a vast oversimplification of how consumer tech actually…

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Author: Monica Chin