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Anorak | Deliberate Planned Obsolescence In Apple’s iPhones? New York Times Spreads Conspiracy Theory

Deliberate Planned Obsolescence In Apple’s iPhones? New York Times Spreads Conspiracy Theory

by | 4th, November 2013

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DOES Apple lace its products with deliberate planned obsolescence? Err, no, despite the claims there isn’t any deliberate planned obsolescence in Apple’s iPhones. So much so that it’s really rather amazing that the New York Times published a piece even suggesting that there is.

Apple could be deliberately making your iPhone slower when a new model comes out, an influential tech columnist has claimed.

Catherine Rampell, who writes in the New York Times, said that Apple could be engineering the new operating system so it only works properly with the newest version of the product.

She added her iPhone 4 became a lot slower when she downloaded iOS 7 – and that the only solution seemed to be to buy the iPhone 5.

Rampell accused Apple of having run out of ideas so was trying to ‘brainwash’ its customers into buying the new iPhone 5S and 5C because they look nice.

Rampell’s claims are likely fuel conspiracy theorists who have long held that Apple engages in ‘planned obsolescence’, a term which has been around since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

It’s certainly a good conspiracy theory but there’s pretty much no evidence to support it.

As to things like batteries not holding as much charge and so on well, this will indeed be true. But only because that’s the way that rechargeable batteries work: they can only be charged up a certain number of times before they stop holding as much electricity. This isn’t a feature of planned obsolescence, this is simply a matter of chemistry. The reactions which allow a battery to pick up, hold and then discharge electricity are just not infinitely reversible.

There’s another possibility, which is that Apple deliberately bloats each new version of the software so that older models with less memory can’t handle it. And to a very limited extent this will be true of certain features. The new animations in iOS7 for example, they will take more processing power than some of the oldest chips can usefully supply. But that’s something that is simply inevitable with people continually upgrading an operating system.

Other than those two, no, there’s no reason at all to think that Apple is degrading the performance of older phones in order to get you to buy a new one. An interesting conspiracy theory rather than anything grounded in reality.



Posted: 4th, November 2013 | In: Money, Technology Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink