Slowness Isn’t The Issue

Apple didn’t apologise for slowing your phone down. Not because of arrogance, not because they don’t care, but because they really didn’t have to. A phone getting slower over time is really not the issue here, the issue is transparency and communication (and perhaps a little bit of urban legend).

As each new operating system upgrade hits devices, the belief is that older devices become unusable to force you to upgrade your device. It’s a tale that doesn’t need to be true, because it is already believed by the masses. Planned obsolescence is a phrase routed in marketing but popularised in modern day through Apple devices. The general consensus is that through Systemic Obsolescence or prevention of repairs, the company pushes you to abandon older devices and purchase a new one.

In fact it doesn’t matter in what way they do it, but to maintain growth they must push users to upgrade. So when Apple first confirmed it slowed down older device with degrading battery performance, and thenapologised for it lack of communication, many people took this as a conformation of what they already believed to be true.

The truth is Apple did this to maximise the battery life users will get from their phone. Smaller capacity batteries and an optimised OS only goes so far. As the battery degrades the capacity shrinks even more, it happens to every phone but most others have much bigger batteries to start with. Unfortunately not communicating that the OS was doing this to aid the user have come back and bitten Apple – Hard.

This is an issue that will run deeper that the tech press and more savvy users. It is one that has already bleed into the mainstream media, and no doubt into the purchasing decisions of average consumers. I wonder how many people will have that feeling at the back of their mind that Apple might slow down their phones. The tech sphere know the reasons, and most seem to understand why they do it. However slowness really isn’t the issue.

Greg Morris @gr36