With the upcoming release of the iPhone X, and the recent release of the iPhone 8, the internet is once again buzzing with iPhone news, tech reviews of these new products, and talk of everyone saying how they want the new iPhone.
Let me clarify off the bat that I am not saying the iPhone X is a bad product. I honestly have no opinion of it because I haven’t used it. It is most likely a top notch product, which is usually the case for most Apple hardware. Now that I got that out of the way, and the reason why I’m bringing up the iPhone at all is to talk about Apple, who has to be one of the worst producers of planned obsolescence technology on the planet.
What is planned obsolescence? Well, during the 1920s and 30s manufactures started to realize that if they made products cheaper that didn’t last as long, they could make more money. Think this is a myth? It’s not, this has been researched, studied, and published that companies intentionally create products that either break or trick consumers into believing they need something new, more stylish, and more fashionable after a predetermined amount of time.
Apple likes to pretend they’re a green company with their new solar powered office. And while this is great, it hardly makes up for the billion iphones sold that have a lifespan of only 1 year, or more recently 6 months! Just take a look at the iPhone’s release history.
- 2007 – iPhone
- 2008 – iPhone 3G
- 2009 – iPhone 3GS
- 2010 – iPhone 4
- 2011 – iPhone 4s
- 2012 – iPhone 5
- 2013 – iPhone 5c
- 2013 – iPhone 5s
- 2014 – iPhone 6
- 2014 – iPhone 6 plus
- 2015 – iPhone 6s
- 2016 – iPhone SE
- 2016 – iPhone 7
- 2017 – iPhone 8
- 2017 – iPhone X
That’s 15 iPhones in 10 years! Let’s take a look at this more closely, and just how completely insane this is. In the original iPhone there’s millions times more computing power there was in all of NASA at the time of the moon missions. and somehow people have been convinced that their iPhone that’s 8 months old useless or no longer desirable! There is something very very wrong with this.
Now let’s take a look at Apple’s computers. How many of you have tried to use a Macbook from 2008 and quickly realized how useless it seemed? A 2008 Macbook has more than adequate hardware to run on today’s internet, but due to the Mac OS release schedule and their absolute refusal to back support the hardware they make, if you’re hellbent on using Apple’s operating system, you’re shit out of luck.
Just take a look at the Mac OS history for the past 16 years:
- Mac OS X 10.0 – code name “Cheetah”, released in 2001
- Mac OS X 10.1 – code name “Puma”, released in 2001
- Mac OS X 10.2 – also marketed as “Jaguar”, released in 2002
- Mac OS X Panther – version 10.3, released in 2003
- Mac OS X Tiger – version 10.4, released in 2005
- Mac OS X Leopard – version 10.5, released in 2007
- Mac OS X Snow Leopard – version 10.6, released in 2009
- Mac OS X Lion – version 10.7, released in 2011
- OS X Mountain Lion – version 10.8, released in 2012
- OS X Mavericks – version 10.9, released in 2013
- OS X Yosemite – version 10.10, released in 2014
- OS X El Capitan – version 10.11, released in 2015
- macOS Sierra – version 10.12, released in 2016
- macOS High Sierra – version 10.13, released in 2017
With Linux, at least on computers, you have way more of a lifespan for Apple’s products. I’m making this blog post on a 2007 black Macbook running the latest Ubuntu LTS system 16.04. I use this system every day for everything I do. Blogging, YouTube, Music Production, Video Editing, and photography. if you look at the amount of content I create, you can see that it works very well for me.
My DIce OS will also run just fine on older hardware. And so will many other variants of Linux. You can even get very old PPC, and 68k Macs up and running with Linux, though maybe not as well as post-2006 intel based ones. Still 11 years sure beats the 1 year that Apple wants you to use their products.
When you really think about it, what major improvements have been made on these products to justify so many upgrades? Let’s take a look at the early 2000s when high speed internet was starting to become widely available in the US. Back then a computer with an 800mhz CPU and 1 GB RAM was screaming fast. What could we do online? Well, we could send email, voice and text chat, watch videos, listen to music, play games, and buy stuff online. What can we do now? Well, we can send email, voice and text chat, watch videos, listen to music, play games, and buy stuff online. Albeit at higher screen resolutions and FPS, but still there have been very few major breakthroughs. A more unique and innovative approach in my opinion would have been for technology companies maximize usefulness with the existing hardware, rather than bloat new software to maximize usage of system resources or functionality.
Unfortunately, Apple hardware is so locked down that even if we wanted to put our own software on an iPhone to extend it’s life, we can’t, so with iPhones, they quite literally are throw-away items. The wastefulness of this is unfathomable. I’m not trying to guilt you into not buying and iPhone X, but if you do, maybe keep the one you have until it really is no longer functional, not just unfashionable.
If you have an old Macbook, don’t thow it away. Try installing Linux on it, or give it or sell it to someone who can use it. The way our society is functioning at this moment in time is not sustainable. Apple, despite their wannabe Green, Earth-Loving PR attempts, they are one of the worst contributors to the wastefulness.
Things you can do to help combat planned obsolescence
- do not buy products with short lifespans
- research and find ways to extend the life of the products you already own
- support companies that back-support their own products
- only buy new when function truly dies, not when they become unfashionable
- purchase refurbished products rather than new ones
- fix products when they break instead of buying new ones even when economically impractical
- when a product truly dies, recycle it, don’t just throw it in the trash