Planned obsolescence: Technology designed to fail

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Planned obsolescence: Technology designed to fail

It’s a widely-held belief that some phones, gadgets and other tech have very short lifespans. Is this something we should accept?

Your phone needs to be changed every couple of years, but a light bulb in California has shone for 118 years.

It’s a shrine to products before planned obsolescence. Many products, from ink cartridges to phones, have been accused of being deliberately designed to fail prematurely, simply to sell another product or an upgrade.

Importantly, Apple was fined €25 million in France for deliberately throttling and slowing down their older phone models. It is a small amount considering it’s the profit Apple makes in under 3 hours.

The practice is not just damaging to your wallet, but it also produces heaps of unnecessary pollution and toxic waste. The lack of non-upgradeable parts means having to discard your phone because of a broken battery or button. The only solution being: a brand new phone, pumped out every year. This is a business tactic that our society has become too comfortable with.

There are some companies however that are going against the grain. Dyson have developed a lamp that should last you 60 years. Clothing brands like Everlane strive for long-lasting and durable clothes as fast fashion becomes evermore contaminating.

It is understandable that sometimes an upgrade is necessary. However, companies should never slow down older devices or take other measures to effectively force you to upgrade. For example, phone companies removing headphone jacks to encourage you to buy wireless headphones (I’m looking at you, Apple).

Regulation from governments can take years and proving failed engineering can be difficult. The best way to fight is to protest with our personal decisions. We should not shy away from praising and supporting products that are long-lasting, and chase wasteful production out of our society.