Why Apple Hopes the iPhone 5 Is Worth the Wait

For years now the public has been grumbling about spending hard-earned money on technological devices that become dated within weeks, or days, or hours of walking out of the store. It’s a terrible feeling. Brands such as Apple have been mercilessly efficient in integrating their products into our culture and creating the perception that anyone without the latest device is an unsophisticated, geriatric luddite.

However, a new report detailing the sluggish sales of iPhones indicates an important shift in the way consumers are spending their dollars: They’re waiting for the next version to become available before making a purchase. This, of course, means they will be in exactly the same position several months from now as another updated version inevitably debuts, but collectively it demonstrates the public has become wary of upgrades in technology and is consequently tailoring its spending habits. Fewer purchases mean fewer dollars for manufacturers—and a change in the relationship between our culture and the latest technology.

This article in The New York Times explains, “A 26% fall in smartphone sales to 26 million units in the quarter ended June, as consumers held off purchases in wait for the iPhone 5, pulled down the Apple stock 5% in U.S. after-hours trade. In Asia, shares of most of its component suppliers fell by a smaller margin.”

It’s now late July, which means we’re gearing up for the holiday season, and Apple certainly has high hopes for the iPhone 5 come December. But will delayed sales translate into tomorrow’s fortunes? Apple thinks so, and Apple should be confident. After all, we do this every year. But isn’t the holiday season all about waiting, instead of voraciously feeding at the cultural trough of now?

It turns out your friend with the old flip-phone may be smarter than all of us.