How Long Before Your Christmas Presents Are Out Of Date?

By James O Malley on at

I've got some terrible news: The moment you snapped open the cellophane wrapping on your new gadget this Christmas, a clock started ticking. It's counting down to the moment in the not too distant future when your shiny new toy will be declared old hat. But how long do you have left? Read on, to find out.

iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 Plus and the Apple Watch Series 2

If you unwrapped an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus then good news: You've got around nine months until Apple decides to junk it, and replace it with something newer. Since 2011, Apple has announced and released updates to the iPhone in the Autumn - think late September or in one case early October.

For 2017, we've no reason to suspect that Apple has any intention of breaking this cycle. So chance are that we'll get the iPhone 7S - or iPhone 8, or whatever the company wants to call its next device - around September this year too.

There has been some speculation that because the 7 is pretty similar-looking to the 6 and 6S that the next iPhone might be an even bigger leap. If this is the case, then the 7S moniker seems unlikely. Perhaps - though we wouldn't bet on it - this might mean that we get 18 months of iPhone 7 supremacy, before it receives a replacement. But don't bet on it.

And what about the Apple Watch? Apple first launched the Apple Watch is April 2015, waiting almost 18 months to replace it with the Series 2, at the same time it launched the iPhone 7. As a result, it is hard to predict when an Apple Watch Series 3 might arrive - though our money would also be on a move towards annual upgrades.

Estimate: 9 Months.

iPhone SE

The next iPhone SE is somewhat harder to predict. A 5S on the outside, with the innards of a 6S, the SE was designed as a budget alternative to the flagship iPhone, with a smaller screen to match. Apple first released it on the 31st March 2016, but it remains to be seen whether the company will choose to update it every year, or less regularly. In other words, we're not sure - but perhaps we'll have a better idea by April.

Estimate: 9 Months.

iPad Pro

Like the iPhone, for several years Apple got into the routine of updating it's tablet at the same time every year: Around November. But the launch of iPad Pro has thrown this predictability into disarray. The iPad Pro was instead launched in September 2015, alongside the iPhone 6S and iPad Mini 4, and then the smaller 9.7" version was released last March.

What this means in terms of future devices is that there are a lot of question marks. It'd be very surprising for Apple to update a device after less than a year (though not unprecedented - the iPad 4 replaced the iPad 3 after about 9 months).

Estimate: 9 Months, if you're lucky.

Macbook Pro

If you've got your hands on a new Macbook Pro then lucky you, those things are expensive. So how long will it be top of the range?

Annoyingly, Apple's approach to upgrading it is wildly inconsistent, which makes it hard to predict. Seriously - you try. The last Macbook Pro releases are labelled as follows: Mid-2012, Late-2012, Early 2013, Late 2013, Mid-2014, Early-2015, Mid-2015, Late-2016. So your guess as to whether Apple will tweak the hardware and release an "Early 2017" in March, or keep the same configurations until late 2018 are as good as mine.

Estimate: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Bad news if you got a Galaxy Note 7 for Christmas as the best thing you can do with it - indeed, the thing that Samsung recommends you do with it - is not switch it on, package it up in a fire-proof bag and send it back to Samsung.

In early September, it turned out that they kept exploding because of a fatal battery problem: One so severe that Samsung eventually withdrew the device from sale. So return it immediately - for your own good.

Estimate: Switch it off and keep it well away from everyone.

Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge

If you got an S7 or an S7 Edge, your new phone should make your happy, as it's a decent device. But it probably doesn't have too long left before it is rendered old hat. In history is any indication, Samsung usually new flagship devices at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, followed by a launch in early April. So we would almost put money on there being some sort of announcement of a Galaxy S8 on the 26th February.

However, this year there is a big question lingering over Samsung's product pipeline: The impact of the Note 7 fiasco (see above). There have been some rumours that Samsung could bring the S8 launch forward so that it has something fresh on shelves to sit where the Note 7 would have done. But conversely, it also isn't clear whether the Note 7 could have the reverse effect, and cause delays as the company checks its supply chain and designs to avoid something like it happening again. So there is more a question mark than usual.

Estimate: 3 Months.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Google's flagship handset was only announced and released in October this year, and it is the company's first whole-hearted attempt at doing a handset itself (albeit with the actual manufacturing handled by HTC). So in terms of updates, we don't have a lot to go on, other than an assumption of annual updates to keep pace with rival phone manufacturers. So if the phone is a success (which it certainly appears to be), we can perhaps expect to see a Pixel 2 around the same time next year.

Estimate: 10 Months.

Xbox One S and PS4 Pro

This autumn both Sony and Microsoft refreshed their games consoles, offering spec upgrades that enable 4K video streaming and 4K/HDR gaming. So if you got one of these new devices, your console gaming should be looking better than ever.

However, there is already redundancy on the horizon for both. Both companies have already admitted that they're also working on more substantial future upgrades, in the form of the PS4 Neo and Xbox One's Project Scorpio. Both of these updates are expected to dramatically improve console performance, while remaining based on the same underlying platform (so they'll still play older games - it won't be a whole new console generation).

We don't know the exact release dates yet but the rumour mill is suggesting that they could be out by next Christmas, perhaps signalling that consoles are moving towards phone-style upgrade cycles.

Estimate: A year at most, but much ambiguity.

Nintendo WiiU

If you got a WiiU... then you might be the only one. The bad news is that the console is pretty much dead and buried. In March, Nintendo will be releasing its new Switch console, and all efforts are no doubt going into that.

Even worse, the only major release for WiiU left is the new Zelda title - which will also be getting a Switch release. Sorry.

Estimate: 3 Months

Featured Pic: here