December 14, 2013

ANDREW MOSEMAN: I Don’t Want Smartphone Subsidies to Die—but They Should. “It would be a good thing for smartphone users if the current model starts to crack. But, in turn, we need to free our minds from the tyranny of the two-year upgrade cycle. I’m currently eligible to upgrade my outdated iPhone to a new device at contract price. I’ll probably do it, partly to keep the unlimited data plan I’m grandfathered into and also partly because of the allure of $199, which just doesn’t sound that expensive. Although the phone subsidy is voodoo economics, there’s an instant gratification part of my brain that wants it to endure. I don’t want to pay $650 for a new iPhone 5S. I want to pay $199 and deal with the monthly payments some other time. So I’ll buy it. And when I buy it, I’ll already have my mind on the next round of the cycle, tracking how many new generations will debut before I’m eligible to upgrade again. To accept the two-year contract cycle is to accept everything that stinks about the smartphone experience: High monthly bills with no good way out and being tethered to your carrier’s upgrade schedule.”