Why Your iPhone Won’t Live for Very Long

Apple, the massive tech giant, the monopolistic advanced, hitech company that has taken over the world: and yet it can’t design iPhones or MacBooks that have exceptional battery lives. How can that be?

If Steve Jobs wanted to design eternal technology that lives for years, he would have done that 10 years ago. But if you visit an Apple manufacturer, you will be surprised.

  • Foxconn: The manufacturing of Apple devices is not expensive

Taiwan-based company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd, also known as Foxconn is a major supplier for tech giants like Apple, HP and Nokia. The largest employer in China has about 1 million workers manufacturing devices. The highly profitable company outsources young Chinese workers to build devices for long hours at cheap rates. 

 
Then & Now: Can you spot the difference between the two scenarios of ‘cheap labour’?
 
Apple devices are designed in Silicon Valley in California, but manufactured by hand in China.
  • The working conditions speak for themselves

Immense stress, harsh managers and dull dormitories are but a few of some causes for the reported suicide rates at Foxconn.  Between 2007 and May 2010, 17 young workers committed suicide. The company dealt with the situation by hiring councellors and requesting workers sign pledges declaring they would not attempt suicide.  Another way of dealing with the situation was to insert nets outside the windows to catch falling bodies.

 
A typical dormitory at Foxconn fits 8 beds.
 
Anti-suicide nets installed catch would-be jumpers

More intricate details about Foxconn’s dark factory can be found in the following article by The GuardianLife and death in Apple’s forbidden city

 
  • Apple deliberately doesn’t want your device to last

Ever bought an iPhone, iPad or MacBook that was so expensive yet reassured you because of its one-year guarantee? Once you see the Apple Care pack sitting flat on your hands right before making that big purchase, you are comforted with the decision you are about to make. But in all of your Apple experiences, have you ever had to use the guarantee before it expired? Chances are quite low, and that’s no coincidence.

Apple deliberately designs its devices to have ‘built-in, or planned obsolescence’ so that a year after you buy your device, everything goes downhill from there— its battery life starts to worsen, it decides to turn off at random moments (even if it’s at 40%), its applications start to crash often, it fills up its memory and most importantly, abuses you with daily reminders to update to the latest software version — which is, most of the time, a common source of frustration and regret by iPhone users.

The coincidence of everyone’s shared issues with their iPhones? Apple’s branding strategy.

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If everybody had iPhones that lasted for up to 5 years, Apple wouldn’t gain half the revenue it has today.

  • Technically, when we buy an iPhone, we are buying the brand. Not the technology, nor the intangible software. But the name Apple.

Because of course, there’s that tendency to conform to new trends, no matter how similar the device looks or what its features are. Human beings are easily deceived and lured into anything that is ‘new’. So every time a new iPhone is launched we are so appealed by the concept of something new and fresh. But come to think of it, the features are not always that much fancier or more advanced. Just because a button on the iPhone 6s turns into a touch button on the 7, doesn’t mean the newer version of our iPhone is going to be revolutionary. We are being deceived into an industry that just aims to make money out of our conformity.

Also, Apple already knows its next devices, they’re in the factories.  But it won’t simply give it away in one go. The process must be gradual — by the time we get used to iPhone 8, the X comes out.  But Apple probably already has the next iteration ready by now and will launch it just when everyone’s over the novelty of the iPhone X.

So the next time you forget to leave your home without your spare power bank, your iPhone ‘cannot take a photo’ because of lack of memory or it suddenly crashes on you at 40% battery life, take a moment and think about how much happier you were when you had a classic Nokia that changed every 4 years and lived through the toughest moments, yet still survived every incident an iPhone wouldn’t today.  A quick game of snake, anyone?!

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