Every two years, we buy a smartphone. At least, that’s what we’ve been told is reasonable to expect of the Average Person. And while reality means that this figure varies widely between any given two people, we do know that the companies that make and sell smartphones have this expectation. That, once a smartphone is two years old, most people are probably ready to get rid of it for something better. But there’s a wrinkle: everything we know tells us that’s changing.

In the early days of the iPhone - when it was exclusive to AT&T - the carrier’s upgrade policy allowed you to buy a new device every two years at a substantial discount in exchange for locking yourself into another two years of service.

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