Planned obsolescence just got busted. Bad news for tech giants. Great news for the e-waste problem?
Has it always just been a coincidence that Google searches for ‘slow iPhone’ peak around the time that a new model comes out? Well it looks like the rumours were true after all. Apple has deliberately been slowing down your iPhone so you’ll get fed up with it and buy a shiny new one. Underhand tactics? Or just good business sense? After all, delivering maximum profit through steady sales is how the tech giants thrive.
“We live in a disposable, ‘cast-off and throw-away’ society that has largely lost any real sense of permanence. Ours is a world of expiration dates, limited shelf life, and planned obsolescence. Nothing is absolute.” Myles Munroe
Through ‘planned obsolescence’, manufacturers reduce the time between our upgrades, and therefore enjoy additional sales revenue that more than offsets the extra costs of research and development.
Apple has recently admitted slowing down earlier iPhones to protect against problems caused by aging batteries. They explained that when a battery is failing, it may not be able to deliver the maximum current required by the phone’s processor when running at full speed. When this happens, it can cause the iPhone to shut down unexpectedly in order to try and protect the internal components.
“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions.” Apple spokesperson.
Whilst Apple may have admitted to slowing down certain models, it insists that it has “never – and would never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product.” And it has apologised for the “misunderstanding about the issue” and pledged to be more transparent in future.
Whatever the truth, recycling is incredibly important, to keep up with the amount of e-waste created through planned obsolescence. Because it’s not just our pockets that this strategy hurts. The increased demand for raw materials such as gold and copper takes a heavy toll on the environment as its extraction is so energy intensive and leads to environmental damage as toxic e-waste is shipped from industrialised nations to poorer developing ones.
So now that consumers are becoming wise to these tactics, can we foresee a future where we may no longer be forced into buying new products as soon as a new model is launched, and will be able to repair our tech rather than tossing the old equipment out? This will certainly be good news for the environment and the growing e-waste mountain problem. We’ll just have to wait and see…
Remember to choose secure, environmentally friendly computer recycling when saying goodbye to your obsolete tech.
If products aren’t designed to last, remember that when it comes to upgrading or disposal of technology, the importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to play your part in reducing potentially health and environmentally damaging e-waste, as well as keeping your data secure. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers, handhelds and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998.