There is no shortage of updates available when it comes to software, hardware and operating systems. Most of us bought Macs to do a certain set of tasks and we also bought the necessary peripherals and software to accomplish those tasks. All is well until an update/upgrade comes along. Chances are if everything is working properly, you can avoid installing our buying any future updates. But, for how long? Your computer will run the same tasks that it always did. Many subscribe to that strategy, however the problem is that “we” change our minds. At some point we want to do something more or something NEW! This is where the problem comes in if you haven’t been staying current. The new thing you want to do or new peripheral that just came to market will most likely require “current” operating systems and hardware. If you haven’t been keeping up all along then it will most likely be a painful and expensive proposition to get current all at once. A prime example of this is Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. While you could argue that you don’t want or need any of the new features that Lion has to offer, if you go out and buy a new Mac today it will come with Lion pre-installed and will likely not run an older version of Mac OS X. Now you have to worry about all your older applications and peripherals being compatible with this new computer you just got. Lion dropped support for Rosetta (older PowerPC based Apps). In most cases those Apps probably have newer versions or there are alternatives. Now you have to do it all at once just to get back to where you were with the old computer and to have that “new” capability you wanted.
Stay Current on Your Terms
You should never want to be forced to upgrade everything at once. The only way to avoid this is to stay current as you go along. While you probably don’t need to buy every new upgrade that comes out, you should consider the consequences of “skipping” and what problems that may bring down the road. Most companies offer an upgrade price to software. If you stay current it will probably cost you less to buy upgrades than to have to buy the software all over again because you’re too far back and you are no longer eligible for upgrade pricing. When it comes to hardware it will usually last longer (say 3 years before being deemed as no longer “current” by the industry), but don’t plan to keep it forever. Let’s take your printer for example. It’s a great printer. It prints just fine! At some point will you still be able to get ink/toner for that model? Are the newer printers more efficient, offer better quality, have power saving features and cost less to run? Will you still be able to get a driver for that old printer in the next OS update?
This is all food for thought. You can continue doing what you do, but I dont’ know of anyone that at some point doesn’t end up “having to” upgrade. While I don’t buy every new Mac model that comes out I usually skip no more than two models before upgrading. With software I prefer to do it along the way as it’s less painful in the end and most times I benefit from the new features.