Verizon's getting ready to change (they call it "simplifying") its upgrade policy starting Jan. 16, and it's not quite in favor of the consumer. As you can see in the above training material, customers on a standard two-year contract won't be able to upgrade in months 13 through 20 and instead must wait until the contract is nearly up. Also, the "New Every Two" program will be phased out as those customers re-up. Customers on one-year contracts won't be affected.
So it's a step backward, and it makes it that much more important to pick a good phone (and be willing to spend a few extra bucks to do so) -- and that much more important for Verizon and the manufacturers to update phones as best they can.