Obsolescence is like the weather. Everyone complains about it. Nobody does anything about it. What’s worse than obsolescence? Planned obsolescence. Who is the world’s worst offender at making products obsolete?
Or, so the story goes; perhaps more so the criticism lands on Apple because our favorite iPhone maker seems to get rid of old technology before competitors. Floppy disk drive? Gone in the original iMac. Headphone jack? It’s history. Touch ID fingerprint sensor? Replaced by Face ID. Lightning connector? Don’t look for it on the new iPad Pro models.
The rest of the technology gadget industry should thank Apple for planned obsolescence. Why?
If your perception is your reality, and it is, then nobody does planned obsolescence better than Apple. Douglas Adams:
Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. One man’s fault is another man’s lesson.
You get the idea, right?
Apple’s stance against planned obsolescence is bearing fruit.
Apple’s products last longer than competitors. Apple’s products are used longer than competitors. Apple’s products have higher resale value than competitors. Apple’s products receive more frequent updates for longer periods than most competitors.
That looks like planned obsolescence to me.
In June 2018, vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi proudly proclaimed that iOS 12 would be “the largest base ever supported by an Apple release,” stretching support back to devices released in 2013.
That is unheard of in the industry.
In essence, with every upgrade an older Mac, iPhone, or iPad actually has more functionality and capability than when it was new. That looks like the kind of planned obsolescence you want, right? How good is that kind of planned obsolescence for planet earth?
Apple’s VP of environment, Lisa Jackson, on the iPhone:
Because they last longer, you can keep using them, and keeping using them is the best thing for the planet
That sounds to me like a company with a conscience.
Obsolescence is the nature of technology. Nothing improves without change, and change brings about obsolescence.
Apple’s approach seems to be mature and beneficial to customers and planet earth. If anyone deserves some criticism over planned obsolescence it would be Apple’s competitors and cellphone companies who worry more about the quick sale than taking a long term approach to customer and product management.