Dov Bechhofer Hopes for Future Smartphones
Bronz native, Dov Bechhofer is a computer engineer who keeps a close eye on growing trends in technology and consumer products. Here, he discusses Italy’s $17.2 million fine on landmark tech manufacturers Apple and Samsung for the “planned obsolescence” of their devices.
Planned obsolescence sounds like a bad day at the doctor’s, but it’s actually a very relevant tech topic focusing on the one thing people today can’t do without their smartphones. Powering online social lives. Providing access to the internet’s reaches on-the-go. Giving consumers high-performing computers that can fit in their pockets. These are just a few of the reasons we love them.
There’s no getting around the fact that smartphones and tablets are pricey, and they keep getting pricier as “old” models fade away for newer and better ones. That’s the intention of companies engaging in planned obsolescence.
Apple and Microsoft have been accused in the past for not updating older devices. Forcing consumers to constantly buy new products.
“Even [smartphone] models from last year might not be able to keep up with software updates designed for faster, more capable devices,” Dov Bechhofer says.
Since their initial release in the summer of 2007
Apple has unveiled over 20 iPhone models. The majority following a consecutive number (such as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, etc.).
Apple fanatics can pretty much guarantee that one or two new iPhone models will be released each year. But it doesn’t seem like the phones are becoming that much more capable––certainly not enough to justify the number of models.
Yet people continue buying seasonal smartphones and tablets like they’re going out of style. To give you an idea, there are over 700 million iPhones in use around the world today.1
Dov Bechhofer thinks people should have caught on to the idea of planned obsolescence years ago. “700 million products is a fantastic achievement for an item that’s only been on the market for around ten years. And I can’t understand how a device that costs around $600 and up suffers from performance quality deterioration less than a year after its purchase,” he says.
Italy’s competition authority is cracking down on manufacturers accused of planned obsolescence. Focusing on updates in operating systems that slow down older phones. In turn, inhibiting performance.
Consumers have recognized Apple and Samsung worldwide for both frequent updates that slow down their phones. Mixed with no support once corresponding problems arise.
There has been limited Response from the two companies since authorities gave out the ruling earlier this week. In response, Apple and Samsung are expected to pay their separate fines. Alongside publishing formal apologies on their Italian websites, with links back to the ruling.
“If enough people recognize their schemes and choose not to purchase newer models, companies like Samsung and Apple will have no choice but to create devices with sustained high performance,” says Dov Bechhofer.