It's not about bragging rights.
BMW released a 3-Series with 255 horsepower. Six months later, BMW gave the same car 305 horsepower. Drivers of the older car were incensed. They lost bragging rights. (This happened several years back.)
Of course, both cars were still good. The existence of the faster car didn't actually stop the slower car from being fast.
Switch this scenario to the 4th generation iPad issue.
"3rd gen iPad users need to let it go," people say. "You lost bragging rights early, so what. Stop being so vain. Your iPad still works just as well as it did before."
It's probably true that some Apple owners enjoy having the fastest device. However, the issue of one iPad outclassing the other is very real. It's not merely an issue of bragging rights, like who has the fastest BMW.
A car doesn't have to "qualify" for the road, but a tech device does with software. As developers write for the A6 chip in the new (new) iPad and the iPhone 5, the inevitable slowing of older devices comes that much more quickly.
Yes, you can still surf the web on your 3rd generation iPad for as long as you want. But if you bought it to run the latest iOS software, and to be ahead of the curve for at least a full 12 months, well, you did actually lose that utility.
Tailoring software for faster devices ends up diminishing slower ones.
Apple has entered the mid-cycle refresh business. Buying top-of-the-line devices (like I did with the iPad 3) is probably no longer a smart move. We learned the hard way, but everyone laughing at iPad 3 owners for being upset should be careful, because the "it works just as well as before" argument is not true. The software makes sure of it.