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Keeping up to date

Last week I posted a blog about that new iPhone software update [5]. A free push for newer phones - iPhone 4 and higher - that gives you almost a new phone and I'm liking it. Ironically my 28-year-old daughter doesn't care for it - she's a younger person who doesn't like change - go figure.

Anyway, the idea of updating is important and one key to Apple's success is how easy the company makes it to keep up with changes - provided the upgrade doesn't outstrip the hardware.

Android phone users will find this can be a problem. While more than 90% of Apple iPhone and iPad users will upgrade their devices (and keep them updated), the number runs more like 40% for the Android side. Part of the reason is that Android doesn't "push" updates like Apple does, and that's due in part to the wide range of hardware specifications for phones and tablets running the Android operating system.

I'm not knocking Android, there are some significant features available from Samsung and HTC alone on the Android platform that Apple still hasn't caught up with yet, including intuitive typing. However, it's important to keep up with software upgrades too.

As you get to know me dear Farm Industry News reader you'll find I'm a solid advocate of keeping technology up to date. Sure, I'm all for keeping tools that work, at work, in your operation. But eventually you have to move to the newer platforms. The challenge is timing the upgrade. And the key here is not to be on the bleeding edge.

Those that jumped into Windows 8 did fine - as many will tell you - but there have been some hiccups and hopefully Microsoft will fix those in Windows 8.1. Here at Penton/Farm Progress we're using both the Apple and the Windows platforms, but our Windows machines haven't moved to Windows 8, due largely in part to cost; and also to the fact that Windows 7 works pretty darn well and doesn't rely on a touch screen.

So for now, Windows 7 it is, but I know we'll eventually move up to Windows 8.1 - when we get new computers. The same is true for farmers looking to replace equipment - upgrades are important especially to the hardware and software for the tech you use.

But updates may be a thing of the past. I was on a farm this week talking with a grower and his dealer about cloud-based computing. He's excited about the idea. But there was one comment that came through I hadn't figured, automatic updates. Turns out the farmer - unbeknownst to him - had already had two major upgrades to his system. And of course, whenever he accesses his information through a cloud-based service that web connection will always be the latest and greatest.

Will updates become automatic? Even the new Apple software can be set to automatically upgrade apps on your phone (a new feature). But for farmers where the upgrade process often mean downloading it to a desktop computer, saving it to a card or flash drive and taking the upgrade to the tractor, the automatic or cloud-focused approach will be a real time saver.

We'll see how it works out. So for, so good, for many. If you've had a different experience, drop a comment below and we'll chat. I'm always concerned about how tech is working in the field. And thanks for reading.

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