It was Buckminster Fuller who noted, “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” And so a bunch of innovators did, although it’s was not always planned that way.

And, no, not talking about buggy whips, although, yes, they are pretty much obsolete. We’re talking about more recent totems of our civilization including the following:

1.       Dial-up internet

2.      Dialing 4-1-1 for information

3.      Classified ads in newspapers

4.      Hard-copy encyclopedias

5.      PDAs and Address books

6.      Phone books

7.      Rotary dial phones

8.      Floppy discs

9.      Typewriters

10.   Gas station maps

11.    Long distance charges

12.   Film

Oh, and the iPhone. Not all iPhones, but the first-generation, 2007 original model, which will shortly be labeled “vintage” in the United States and “obsolete” everywhere else in the world.

All this will happen next month when Apple changes the phone-that-revolutionized-mobile’s designation, which they do to products 5 years after they’re discontinued. So the iPhone original, which was discontinued in 2008, is due to fade into obsolescence this June. Just in time for an expected launch of Apple’s 7thgeneration software, rumored to be more emotionally engaging than the current versions, which would be good news for them.

Apple could certainly use something new. In this year’s Customer Loyalty Engagement Index – after leading the category, well, since they created the category – they slipped to #2, behind Samsung in the Smartphone category (followed by LG, Nokia, Sony, Motorola, HTC, and last, another name that might soon make the list of obsolete items, BlackBerry).

It was Steve Jobs, who noted that, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” So it will be really interesting to see where some innovative thinking from Apple leads this time around.

Stay tuned. Or perhaps sticking with our theme and avoiding the obsolete, we should more properly say, “stay connected” for more updates.