Technology: The Waiting Game vs The Impulse Buy

In today’s society, technology is changing faster than a Felix Baumgartner free-fall record attempt. Companies such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft are constantly developing new ideas to make their product better, faster, pocket sized, more colorful, more affordable, have more space available and the list could go on.

It seems that every avenue is covered so that there is no excuse not to buy at least one of their options. So as Apple prepares to launch its new iPad mini, because everything needs a ‘mini’ version, you need to ask yourself this important question: Is it best to buy the newest product or wait until the next release?

people try out the new iPad minis

A company’s vision

I’m sure this will sound familiar to many of you, especially if you’re the kind of person who has a ‘must have’ attitude to the latest technology. You’ve just about managed to save up enough money to buy the latest version of your favorite gadget and you proudly return from the shop, excited to start using it. You log onto the internet to begin boasting to your mates and what do you see? The latest press release detailing the proposed newer version of said gadget. Cue sinking feeling.

It almost feels like they are doing it on purpose doesn’t it? Well that’s because they essentially are. When big companies create their plan for the forthcoming year or the next 5 years, they will have a very clear picture of where they want to end up and the route they want to take to get there.

They will know that in ‘x’ amount of years they want to have a product with ‘x’ amount of functions and with ‘x’ amount of pixels but in order to get the most out of their consumers, they will produce ‘less efficient’ models  along the way. These are obviously still state of the art devices and due to a general desire to keep up with technology, they will always sell well. But without knowing what they will develop next, how do you know when to cash in?

Good things come to those who wait

This is a phrase that you hear all the time but is there any evidence to say it’s actually true? Well, in fact, there is. In the late 1960s a man by the name of Walter Mischel carried out some research on our ability to delay gratification. In his experiment he offered different children a sweet with the proviso that if they waited and didn’t eat it, they could then have two at a later point.

The results not only showed that our ability to delay gratification is developed at a young age but also that the children that did wait turned out to have better exam results at school and were more adept at dealing with frustration and stress as an adult. Therefore proving that developing an ability to resist your impulses and wait for a possible better option can make you a better person overall.

The verdict

The problem with this predicament however is how long do you wait? Constantly holding out for a better option could lead to you missing out on a lot of fun along the way but cashing in too early could leave you disappointed in the long run. Assuming you can’t afford to buy every incarnation, it’s effectively down to how long you can hold your nerve before that ‘must have’ impulse takes over. If you’ve been waiting for Apple to bring out a mini version of the iPad then this is probably your time. Just don’t be too heartbroken when they eventually announce the release of their all-seeing, all-knowing ‘Omn-iPad’.


  1. Sarah Park
  2. Marcus Vann
    • Peter Lee