Regular readers will know we try to keep readers informed about all the latest developments, rumors and insights about the Apple iPhone 5, the next-generation iPhone that it’s widely believed will release in the fall. Following our story a few days ago about a new iOS device connector it seems that the iPhone 5 feature could be an example of planned obsolescence and we wonder how readers feel about that.
To recap, our report the other day focused on a new 19-pin dock connector that could replace the current 30-pin connector on Apple iOS devices and could also be magnetic, as in the current Magsafe connector used with Mac Notebooks. A smaller dock connector has been widely rumored for some time and although not yet confirmed for the iPhone 5 certainly seems increasingly likely. While this would have some benefits, such as even smaller devices possible, more room for other components and making the device more water resistant, not everybody was pleased at this news, which has caused quite a bit of controversy.
Comment boards were flooded with angry protestations that this would mean that plenty of current iPhone accessories. such as chargers, docks, in-car entertainment, clock radios and speakers, would become obsolete and would not be compatible with the next iPhone. Meanwhile accessory manufacturers could be either rubbing their hands in glee at the amount of new accessories users will need, or despairing about being left with stock that will soon become obsolete and having to come up with a whole new range of accessories in time for the iPhone 5 arrival.
It certainly seems likely that these changes are on the way though as in our original post on the new connector we told of a TechCrunch report saying they had independently verified that it’s on the way and that three independent manufacturers have said the connector will be changed. Now a report on IBTimes suggests that if this new connector does in fact come to the iPhone 5 then it could be that Apple is using a planned obsolescence strategy again, which certainly seems to make sense. Planned obsolescence has been used in marketing for years in the electronics industry and in a nutshell means that customers are urged/duped into purchasing new products more often than strictly necessary, led by the strategy of continually upgrading devices.
IBTimes points to the yearly upgrades to iPhone and iPods as examples that Apple already engages in this practice but of course as consumers we don’t have to fall for this constant upgrading. Nevertheless there are plenty of us who simply enjoy having the latest and best designs and devices available. If the stories of the iPhone 5 having a new 19-pin connector are accurate then there’s a kind of double-whammy of planned obsolescence as not only will people be enticed to upgrade their current iPhones but they will be forced into changing their accessories as well. We should point out that it’s not only Apple that uses planned obsolescence but most other large electronics manufacturers have at one time or another sold products with built-in obsolescence.
It’s also noted that Apple was unlikely to be changing to smaller connectors unless there was an exceedingly good reason for it and it could be that the purported new connector could not only improve the device in the ways we mentioned earlier but it could also be cheaper as well as faster. We don’t know many details of the planned connector yet but if it were like the Apple Thunderbolt it could mean increased speeds. Whatever the ultimate results of of a redesigned connector it’s more than likely there’s a very credible reason why Apple is making the change and of course that could mean the next iPhone is a massive improvement with maybe the radical new design that everybody is hoping for.
We’re really interested to hear your stance on this. Are you hopping mad that upgrading to the iPhone 5 could make all your accessories defunct? What do you think of the planned obsolescence strategy? Maybe you’re willing to ignore the inconvenience of obsolete accessories if Apple makes it worthwhile and come up with an amazing iPhone 5? Let us have your comments on this.