Should you wait for the next big thing?

Because no one wants to end up with this old thing. 

Some would say there is an art to knowing when it’s time to get the next big thing, whether it’s a cell phone, a DVR, or some other piece of “must-have” gear. You scour the web for rumors, you look at obscure fan sites, and you get to know the trade show schedules where new equipment is often introduced. The real truth is that your options always fall into one of three categories:

The next big thing is coming and everyone knows it.
Let’s face facts, you couldn’t go more than about ten minutes this summer without someone talking about the next iPhone. A lot of photos were leaked and everyone knows that Apple tends to announce things at certain times of year… lately it’s been the fall. So if you really wanted the latest and greatest and you bought an iPhone 7 last month… well shame on you because you probably could have done a little research on this.

It’s not just Apple that works this way. Of course you see new cars in the fall, new computers and TVs at CES, and new home automation at CEDIA. It generally takes very little time to figure out that stuff.

Some companies like DIRECTV tend to show their stuff in the enthusiast blogs (like this one) for months before you can actually get it, and that gives you a good buffer. Even if your latest-and-greatest DVR arrives on Tuesday and you read about a new one on Wednesday, you might not even be able to get it for a year anyway.

There are next big things coming all the time and so it doesn’t matter

If you’re an Android person, you know that it really doesn’t matter when you jump in. There is a 100% metaphysical certainty that someone will come out with something else next week that is what you really wanted. There are new phones all the time and unless you’re really brand-oriented and really want a Samsung (for example) there’s always a super-duper something available at your local cell carrier, and sure-as-shootin’ it’s going to be discounted by the beginning of next month.

The good news about that point of view is that it’s predictable. There will always be something new and so you know you won’t hold that “latest and greatest” title for long no matter what. It takes a lot of the stress off.

No, friends, the real stress comes from the third scenario, which is…

Everything else.
Did you know that DIRECTV was going to release its Genie 2 when they did? Almost no one did. With most stuff there isn’t a lot of information before a public announcement. It’s the same with most consumer electronics… BOOM it’s here. And that can create a lot of anxiety. What can you do?

The best thing to do is to remember that just because there’s something else out there doesn’t mean the thing you are looking at today is just total garbage. If what you buy today still does what you want it to, then ride it out. If it doesn’t, then sell it on eBay (assuming it’s not leased equipment like a DIRECTV DVR.) Most of all relax, because in life you win some, you lose some, and sometimes you just don’t know.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.