You know the drill, right? We live in a capitalist world and everybody is out to get your money. Advertisers now stalk us in an ongoing attempt to influence our purchases, politics, religion, and emotions.
Why? Money. Money talks. We humans are wonderful consumers. Maybe that explains why consumers is a human meme. We consume. There are times when we consume so much we become fatigued with the whole process.
Mining, Meet Mining
Humans have populated the earth with so many technology gadgets– smartphones, PCs, wearables, vehicles, appliances– that we have grown tired of harvesting the planet’s natural resources, and, instead, harvest what we created as unnatural resources.
The world is on track to hit a crucial geological milestone.
Well, not for a few decades, but we should sit up and take notice because time marches on, and tomorrow gets here differently than we expect; and usually faster.
The largest metal reserves will no longer be below ground. They’ll be above it.
Wait. What? How is that possible? Now we mine the earth for metal reserves– all those components that make up our technology devices– but now we don’t have to?
Where will all those resources be?
Embedded in smartphones, appliances, and other forms of wealth, which will “stream freely across the the surface of the planet–as if through a continuous, borderless continent.”
In plain sight, not less; right before our eyes, ready for re-consumption, redistribution, and to live another life in another gadget in another time. That sounds like a decent solution to a growing problem. No?
Alright, how do we solve this problem?
By comparison to competition and their customers, we have too many Apple products. They last too long. The former is good for Apple, but not necessarily so good for Apple’s customers. The latter isn’t so good for Apple, but tends to help customers get more value from a product.
Think about it. How long do you keep a Mac before upgrading to something new? iPhone? iPad? Apple Watch or Apple TV? I don’t know about you, but the length of ownership has grown longer in recent years, somewhat fueled by ever growing prices, somewhat stimulated by Apple’s ability to keep older models running the latest operating system version, and an inherent reluctance to move away from Apple’s ecosystem and the personal investment we made.
Recycling is a thing, but the longer my Mac, iPhone, and iPad last, the less recycling I do, and the fewer new products I buy.
Instead of mining ore from the earth, it will be “remined” from the millions of tons of e-waste that the world produces.
Already, old Macs, iPhones, and iPad get a new lease on life and either get sold at an attractive price to help reduce the device’s overall cost of ownership, or get handed down to deserving souls who will appreciate a useful device that still lives and will not go into that dark night of recycling.
My fatigue with technology– and with Apple– is simple. I appreciate longevity, but do not appreciate all the time that must be devoted to upgrading, updating, and managing applications, accounts, settings and configurations and all the effort required to keep a growing number of gadgets in good and useful health.
One day we may just hand over an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to a robot that knocks on the door and disassembles the gadgets on the way back to the storage truck, but if it’s going to be 60 more years before what I own can be mined to help grow the future, I’m just going to use what I’ve got and try not to get to bored with using it, and not too upset that each devices sucks up more time than I’m willing to allow just to keep it running and out of the landfill.