The media is full of the latest phone craze, the iPhone 5.
Yes, I agree that it is a good looking phone (that’s it on the left). Yes, I agree that it is a very useful device, as are iPads, Kindles, Android phones and other tablets. To have all the functions of a larger computing device in one small object is just simply amazing, and I am being very sincere.
Think about holding many hundreds of books in the palm of your hand without the need to cut down any trees for paper. It is an amazing environmental benefit. I realise that mining some of the rare earth metals that are required for the phone/devices has an environmental impact, such as the coltan mining which is driving mountain gorillas out of their habitat, but otherwise this benefit is impressive.
Whilst I have resisted many times to purchase a tablet type device, and still do, I have however succumbed to a smartphone, in the form of the iPhone 4S, simply out of necessity. After all, there are not many options for just a plain old phone any more. It may sound hypocritical, especially when I abhor consumerism so much, so let me share with you what I have learnt from first hand experience.
Smartphones and Tablets are some of the best marketing devices ever! Yes, that is what they are primarily designed for. As content consuming machines.
After you have played with all the free stuff, and there is not much of it, what is the next thing that you do? You go and buy some content. Apps, or newspapers, or even eBooks like the ones I publish, then maybe some music or a movie, or even a TV series. There literally are millions of content items to choose from. The range is endless.
So, the main goal is to entice you to buy content, and lots of it. Why do you think the iTunes store or Google Play looks so cool and helpful. To entice you! In the end the content could cost you many more times the price of the original device.
The secondary goal is to create a desire in the buyer to consume more devices. My last phone, a Nokia died after 7 long years of faithful service. It became unrepairable. I did not want for a new phone during its lifetime. However, I must be a rare breed indeed, especially since I work in the IT industry. Many people upgrade their phones as soon as the next model is available.
All computer manufacturers design electronic devices with a specific lifespan in mind. However, Apple is one of the supreme masters of designed obsolescence due to their non-user replaceable battery in all iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices. The battery has a limited lifespan and soon degrades in as little as 18 months. You can replace it yourself, but not without some considerable heartache because you have to buy a special screwdriver to dismantle it and it voids the warranty.
The designed hardware capability is no better. I recently found that when I upgraded to iOS 6, my phone’s operating system is now double the size of the old one, and the phone is slightly slower in its operation. Each version of the operating system is designed to add new features that the older devices just cannot handle, which forces or convinces the user to upgrade to the new hardware, hence making more profit for the said company.
All companies try and manufacture demand for their products. Apple seams to have a knack at doing it better than all the others, and I am not sure why. Is it because they market simplicity and sexiness in their products. Can a phone be sexy? I am not sure, but I have noticed that at the launch of each of their new products, there is a mass marketing campaign like no other, and an associated consumer craziness that goes along with it. Release little additional features like a slightly larger display, or thinner body, or better camera at each model release is one way, but there is an even more subtle way.
Why, I ask you, that upon release of a new Apple product does there always seam to be a sudden shortage? Is this created on purpose to stimulate an artificial demand? Surely Apple would know how high a demand the last product release had when they release a new one? Learning from past releases would be in a companies best interest, would it not? Or would it. A limited supply creates an artificial demand in the minds of the consumer, some who would sell their first born child to get their hands on one! Yes readers, this is simply a marketing technique from the marketing masters.