This story and its implications couldn’t come at a better time for consumers.
In theory, Black Friday starts next Friday but I’m already getting notifications of Black Friday “Deals”. This whole thing started the day after the American Thanksgiving and originally kicked off the Christmas shopping season south of the border. Now, we’re doing the same thing.
A lot of the big deals come in the form of technology purchases. There was a time when this was the inspiration for making these money spending sprees to your technology store. But, imbedded in the story above was the notion that Apple deliberately slowed down their older phones to encourage new purchases. Apple’s response was that the slowdown was to increase battery life. We’ll never know the exact truth since:
its agreement with the states does not require it to admit guilt
Apple does let you know when your technology is getting older. On its website, there’s a list of Vintage and obsolete products. I’ll confess to owning an iPod, iPad, and MacBook Pro that are on this list. All of them still work fine which I think is a tribute to the quality of the original build. I can reveal that all no longer get upgrades because, well, Apple says so. The hardware is only as up to date as the operating system software wants it to be.
On the other hand, I have an old, very old, Windows laptop that is still getting updates from Microsoft. The difference? It’s a Sony box and runs Windows. Sony no longer supports it but it never created the operating system. (BTW, It also dual boots to Linux)
The Apple stuff is built by Apple and the operating system is built by Apple as well. That leaves me at the mercy of this company and what it wants to do. So, in a worst possible scenario, if it wants me to buy a new device, it could make it run really slowly or actually brick it. What’s frustrating is that there is not a thing I can do about it, short of stopping updates but they’re supposed to patch security leaks and the common wisdom is to stay up to date. Even worse is the iPhone scenario in this story.
There was a time when we looked after our computers and technology so carefully because there are bad people on the internet who would do bad things to our computer just because we’re connected. Who would ever have thought that we would have to be concerned about the manufacturer itself?
I’m surprised that the agreement was just a big fine. This is the sort of action that, in another field, would cause the government to step in and break up the monopoly.