Instead, Apple chose to see the handwriting on the wall and react to the future by reading technology tea leaves. It was mixed metaphor day here in Manhattan. Jobs chose to ditch the floppy in the original iMac. Apple chooses to make certain functions and products obsolete. Planned obsolescence, right?
Save As… Icon
To this day I run into applications which use the floppy disk icon as the icon for Save. When was the last time you used a floppy disk? The last I had was on a PC from about a decade ago, but it took PC manufacturers nearly a decade after the iMac was introduced– without a floppy disk drive– to get rid of it.
Apple gets accused of planned obsolescence more than any technology company I know. Yes, I have friends who still use a PowerMac because they don’t want Intel Inside. Some still have iPhone 5 because new iPhone displays are too large. Apple has been fined for planned obsolescence.
Italy’s competition authority has issued fines of €10m and €5m respectively to phone-makers Apple and Samsung following a months-long review of consumer complaints in the country… an investigation launched early this year found that software updates designed for newer Apple and Samsung devices had a negative effect on older phones’ performance, effectively pushing users toward a replacement.
I’m not certain how the investigation was conducted but I’ve read plenty of reports and watched videos which counter that notion. Regardless, do not such upgrades actually improve an iPhone, Mac, and iPad’s capabilities? If you don’t want to upgrade, don’t. If you do, the upgrades usually give devices more capabilities than they had when new.
Planned obsolescence is a thing and it will not go away.
Certainly Apple’s approach to annual upgrades for iOS, macOS, watchOS et al is beneficial to customers and the very nature of progress means upgrades– planned obsolescence— can and should be undertaken. Yet, Apple to the unusual approach with iOS 12 to ensure that the upgrade ran faster– improved performance– on older devices. Jason Koebler on Apple’s announcement:
The most exciting thing about Apple’s WWDC keynote wasn’t about new hardware, it was about old iPhones. Apple vowed Monday that the new iOS will not break old iPhones and will in fact make them faster, directly addressing the planned obsolescence conspiracy theory.
Apple was given applause for the move, then castigated because it did not see customers would not upgrade their devices as frequently as in past years. I know, right? Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. Just remember; no good deed goes unpunished. Especially for Apple Inc.
Obsolescence is the nature of almost everything on earth; from people to institutions to trends and ideas to everything we build and use. Planned obsolescence seems like a good idea– versus chaos– and few technology companies do it better, the right way, than Apple.