To first address Apple’s utilization of planned obsolescence it is important to take a look at the current product line today. The newest additions to the iphone product cycle are the iphone 5s and the 5c. Upon their release, apple also rolled out its newly established ios7 software to be downloaded for all current mobile consumers. Although this new software is completely compatible across iphone 4 and 5 models, it was designed to specifically negatively impact consumers who still cherish their 4th generation phones. An article in The New York Times titled “Cracking the Apple Trap” by Catherine Rampell highlights how exactly this software has a negative impact on consumers. “Around the time the iphone 5s and 5c were released, in September, I noticed that my sad old iphone 4 was becoming a lot more sluggish. The battery was starting to run down much faster, too. But the same thing seemed to be happening to a lot of people who, like me, swear by their Apple Products. When I called tech analysts, the said that the new operating system (ios7) being pushed out to existing users was making older models unbearably slow. Apple phone batteries, which have a finite number of charges in them to begin with, were drained by the new software. So I could pay Apple $79 to replace the battery, or perhaps spend 20 bucks more for an iphone 5c. It seemed like apple was sending me a not-so-subtle message to upgrade” (Rampell, 1). We can evidently see here how apple utilized the new strength and capabilities of the ios7 software In order to send that “not-so-subtle” message to its current consumers. By making the new software drain old batteries, consumers are not left with much of an option if they choose to continue to be loyal to Apple. They have to replace it or make the upgrade to a new phone that will be able to successfully handle the computing strength of ios7. “Economists have theories about market conditions that encourage planned obsolescence. A company has strong incentives to degrade product durability when it has a lot of market power and when consumers don’t have good substitute products to choose from” (Rampell, 2). It is without a doubt that Apple is a company with a lot of market power and this would be something that they would zone in on. Apple consumers do not have any form of an Apple substitute. Those who have grown up with Apple and have always used Apple will continue to fall victim to this degraded product durability.
All that being said however, Apple is a serious market holder in its industry, and therefore needs to continue to incur revenue. Apple makes close to 50% of its revenues from the iphone and ipad generations of product. This makes sense because we as consumers also see the most significant and sometimes insignificant changes happen to these two product generations. Apple is realizing that by making changes to their most popular product lines, it will keep consumers involved in the product cycle of that specific line. By making older models of the iphone and ipad obsolete, it allows apple to revamp their technology for the next generation. Highlighting new improvements such as appearance, shape and speed in order to keep the flow of cash from its loyal consumer base.
Chayka, Kayla. “Apple’s IPhone 5 and Getting Angry at Planned Obsolescence.” Hyperallergic RSS. N.p., 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://hyperallergic.com/56857/apples-iphone-5-and-getting-angry-at-planned-obsolescence/>.
Crane, Kim. “Planned Obsolescence – Products Designed for Profit, Not Planet.” RSS. N.p., June-July 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://sustainablebusinessforum.com/green24/51989/planned-obsolescence-products-designed-profit-not-planet>.
Rampell, Catherine. “Cracking The Apple Trap.” The New York Times, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/magazine/why-apple-wants-to-bust-your-iphone.html>.
Watts, Jonathan. “Apple Secretive about ‘polluting and Poisoning’ Supply Chain, Says Report.” The Guardian. TheGuardian, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jan/20/apple-pollution-supply-chain>.