Largely, we trust the media. But every once in awhile, something so stupid is published we can't help but to reel. Apple is not producing phones that will falter as time wears on—but time wears on things all the same.
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Fake scandal of the week: self-destructing iPhones

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The once reputable New York Times posted a piece on Sunday that simply boggles the mind. At least for those of us with a functioning forebrain. In a nut, their claim: Apple has it setup in such a way that when new iPhone are introduced, the ones currently in the hands of consumers experience hardware problems such as flaky batteries and see performance slow down. Gizmodo, for all of their faults, responded, and disputed this nonsense.

So we’ve got a major newspaper and Gizmodo (remember Gizmodo arguably bought a stolen phone a few years back to get a scoop) duking it out and the rest of us realizing that the media in this country is set up in such a way that we will be at rock bottom soon. That’s not the point here though. Instead, we need to realize that the inexorable march of progress will introduce obsolescence. As pointed out in the Gizmodo piece, I do wish my car would last a few hundred thousand more miles than it likely will. I also hope to live forever, just like everyone else. Facing reality though, we have to admit that things don’t last forever. They just don’t.

That’s not to say that iOS could run a little better on older phones, but that’s simply not the case. Apple is experiencing such tremendous growth, that bulk of their users are on recent devices. A sad side effect of that is the fact that Apple is aiming to accommodate as many people and generations of devices as possible. With that wide target to hit, performance will likely suffer on older devices. As a company, even one of their size, they have to make priorities. Notice though, that performance is never crippling. Just annoying in comparison the buttery-smoothness we all expect from Apple.

The short version of this minor scandal of the week–batteries begin to die and software doesn’t run as well on older hardware. We all know that, and we all know that it’s coming. Those who don’t know that, aren’t going to be made happy any way you try to remedy the situation. I’d argue that they will be more pissed if they didn’t get an update at all, as opposed to one that runs a little slower. You can’t please everyone all of the time.

I’m not trying to sound like an apologist. I’m not. If there is a legitimate problem, someone, whoever is in charge, should be held accountable. Instead, what we see here is the New York Times trying to garner click-based ad revenue with fantastical headlines. For the less informed, such an article is gospel. For instance, my grandparents would buy it. But they still trust the media. That misuse of trust is the scary part of all of this.

So, remember kids, you’re iPhone won’t make it forever. But Apple isn’t trying speed up its demise either. Like most companies, I would wager that they are glad you bought their product in the first place. Apple’s reputation of customer satisfaction says to me that customers are satisfied and understand what they are purchasing. Would a company with such a track record want ruin that? I think not.

 

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  • Truffol

    This is a fantastic piece. iPhone 4 owners would be more upset if they were left out, and they should at least be partially aware of the fact that older hardware just won’t run new OS as smoothly, much like how a 10 year old desktop won’t be able to handle the latest Windows. Apple doesn’t need “planned obsolescence”. When most people’s 2 year contract is up they would likely automatically look for an upgrade. As smoothly as their old device is running they are likely a little sick of it after 2 years.