Ron de Varona
Staff Writer

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PC: Gregory Varnum

New year, new iPhone. New year, new minor improvements with a bigger price tag. This includes all the improvements that could have been implemented to begin with, I might add.

The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. It was groundbreaking technology with a triple-layered touchscreen. When it was released, everyone swarmed to it because OH MY GOD APPLE MADE A PHONE.

There have been 16 versions of the iPhone to come out over the past 11 years. It is 2018 now. Phones can practically perform surgery, and yet somehow Apple keeps “improving” their phones with “cutting-edge” pixel rates and resolutions almost annually. The iPhone X was the newest groundbreaking phone, right? It just came out last year! Then why was it discontinued after literally ten months on the shelf?

Apple decided instead of selling one really good phone, they can divvy up the features and make different devices. Then they released three variations of virtually one phone. The iPhone XS, XS Max and XR announcement halted the production of the iPhone X simply for a higher profit.

To really stress my point, I would like to tell you about the Videonow. Videonow was a portable minidisc reader. They were incredibly neat and I loved mine. The first generation came out 2003 in black-and-white with no backlight. I was young when I had it but I knew that I felt sort of cheated. I mean, I had a Gameboy Advance SP with both a backlight and color screen! But I was young, wanted it and little was going to stop me from getting it.

I got it and watched almost every minidisc they had. Then less than a year later the company came out with the Videonow Color and I was more shook than a paint can. It featured both a colored screen and a backlight!

Now if you think that was a coincidence or that they did not have the technology at the time, you are mistaken. In less than a year you think they invented colored screens and a backlight? On top of the fact that the technology already existed? No, they knew what they were doing. They chose to withhold the feature to sell two different devices, on top of all the discs they now had to sell in color. They intentionally increased profits just by not creating the best product they could. You make more money selling several mediocre devices instead of selling one really amazing product.

I can forgive Videonow because you know what they didn’t do? They didn’t slow down their old devices once they came out with the new ones. Apple admitted to throttling older generation iPhones after the new ones came out, and were being investigated by the French government, where planned obsolescence is illegal.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is the act of deliberately slowing performance on a product in hopes of it being replaced. Ever wonder why some warranties on cars are up to a certain amount of miles? It is because they know after a certain amount of use it starts to get faulty and less reliable. Ever wonder why things usually break after the warranty expires? It is because they know it is going to do that- they made it!

Planned obsolescence is not illegal here, meaning most of the products you own have a pretty good chance to intentionally break on their own so you will by a new one. If you own an iPhone, it is almost guaranteed to perform slow right around the time the new one comes out so you will buy the next generation. This is fine if you enjoy spending $1,000 on a new phone each year that does the same thing your last one did.

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