Why Apple and Samsung release phones every year

This story is part Focal Point iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.

The phone’s lifecycle has become quite predictable. You spend hundreds of dollars on a new device, get all the flashy specs and features, and then within a year a new model comes out and makes yours obsolete. Two years from now, you might feel like it’s time to upgrade or fall behind.

It is an exhausting and costly exercise. But it’s one that seems to work well for companies like Apple and Samsung, which are rolling out a new iPhone and Galaxy Phones, respectively, each year. They know that at any time customers could be looking for a new device and they want to have something to tempt them.

“You may be okay with your phone today, but you’re just one person,” Eli Blumenthal, a mobile reporter for CNET, says in the video above. “There are a lot of people who bought a phone a year earlier than you, or maybe were walking around and dropped their phone on the sidewalk or in the toilet and needed a new device, or a kid grabbed it. They might want a new phone, and it might be a good time for them. These companies want to make sure they have a product out there, so when that person is looking for their new phone, they have an option.

Even if there’s no real need to upgrade your phone, it can be easy to feel like you want it just to take advantage of that improved camera or bigger screen.

But because phones keep getting more expensive — most flagship phones cost between $700 and $1,200 — people are keeping their devices longer. In 2018, US smartphone owners used their phones for about 24 months on average before the upgrade, up from about 22 months in 2016, according to a CNBC report. But that still hasn’t stopped phone makers from continuing the annual release cycle.

Watch the video above to learn more about why companies release phones every year and how to know when it’s time to upgrade. Also, if you want it best phone right now, take a look at our roundup. If you are particular to best iphone Where best samsung phonewe have roundups for those too.

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