Every couple of years, our phones begin to function improperly and we are forced to purchase a new phone. Is this a coincidence, or is it part of a larger plan? Planned obsolescence is the design of a product to only last a certain period of time. It would make sense to design iPhones in this way, to encourage consumers to buy the latest and greatest devices more often. Not everyone is enthused by the latest gadget, but by rendering their previous device useless after a period of time, even those individuals are forced to take part in this trend.
In addition, many newer gadgets are made more difficult to repair. An ink cartridge, for example, could have its lifespan expanded by using a simple paperclip in a tiny hole. Don’t count on this trick now, as those reset holes aren’t seen on most modern ink cartridges. Ink cartridges nowadays have computer chips that tell the printer when ink is low. This leaves a great deal of ink that you can never use. In regards to phones and other devices, tamper-proof screws and expensive replacement parts are a couple culprits. When the cost/effort of repairing a device is so high, most people would obviously cave and buy a new phone.
There are multiple ways a device can be altered to shorten the lifespan. One way is the physical makeup. By using cheaper materials, the product will be cheaper to manufacture and wont last as long. Why do iPhone screens break so easily? Because of how thin the protective layers of your phone are made. Another factor is software/programming, which is another culprit for the iPhone calling quits so early. There is even talk that those iPhone updates can alter your phone’s performance by slowing it down.
Are companies designing their devices to break on purpose? What other explanation could there be? Why else does a washer and dryer from many years ago function fine, while DVD players, iPhones, etc. only last from a matter of months to a couple of years?
Planned obsolescence isn’t the only explanation for the short lifespan of an iPhone. As a variety of designers/engineers have noted, products are made with cheaper materials nowadays to keep prices low. Keeping prices as low as possible is crucial for these companies to remain competitive.
Another argument for planned obsolescence is the possibility of omitting features from the old models on purpose. This would be to encourage consumers to buy new models for the better features. But is planned obsolescence the only possible explanation for this? Is it is possible that features are simply being released as companies perfect them?
So the verdict? Unfortunately without Apple making a statement on the matter, there is no fool-proof way of knowing for sure whether the decline in device durability is intentional. There is evidence showing this is a possibility. The motive is there. But there’s no proof that this isn’t coincidental. As for myself, I do believe that planned obsolescence is a strong theory. In any case, it is clear that cheap materials and less-than-ideal design makes for bad quality gadgets. We rely on these items and spend much of our hard-earned cash on them. Most products, however, are not made as well as they should be.
This begs the question, what can you do to increase the lifespan of your gadgets?
Invest in a protective case for your phone One of the most common problems with the iPhone and other devices is how easily they break. Fractured screens make them difficult and sometimes impossible to use. The damage is expensive to repair, usually leaving people buying a new phone. To prevent this, consider buying a protective case for your phone. I personally prefer a wallet case because it covers both the front and back of the phone. This goes for any other gadget; be sure to store them properly and handle with care.
Research updates before installing Before you install an update, take the time to read reviews online of what other people think of the update. If there is anything exceptionally wrong, you will know about it before installing it.
Keep your phone protected from heat Heat can cause elements in your phone to deteriorate quicker, so be careful of how long you are using your phone without shutting it down. Also be aware of outdoor elements your phone may be exposed to. Do not leave your iPhone in a hot car!
Let your phone power off One reason your phone may be acting funky is not allowing it to shut down completely. To shut down an iPhone, hold down the power button until a power button shows on your screen. Slide the on-screen button to power off. To turn your phone back on, hold down the power button and give your phone a couple of minutes to completely restart. Ideally, this should be done once a week.
Pay Attention to Product Reviews Before Buying For any new gadget purchase, always look for online reviews. Research products before you buy, and hopefully you can save yourself some strife in the end.
Thank you for reading! Do you think companies are using planned obsolescence to increase sales? And what are your tips for getting the most out of your devices? Let’s talk in the comments below.