As many of you know, the new iPhone was just announced, and with it came a new mobile operating system, iOS8. We are now conditioned to expect a new phone every year by Apple, announced around the end of summer and then released about a month later. This year it was 2 shiny new phones, a 4.7 inch iPhone 6, and a mammoth 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus.
And every year, when new models and new operating systems get released, the previous ones that everyone owns become unattractive and sometimes unusable. iOS8, when downloaded on older models of the iPhone, noticeably decreases the speed of the software, since the hardware on the older versions isn’t suited to run it. Often consumer electronics are accused of “planned obsolescence”, which is the deliberate limiting of the life of a product so consumers will have to upgrade it. Unfortunately, it seems as though this is the case with the rechargeable batteries on the iPhones, which have a finite amount of charges and are almost as expensive to replace as a normal upgrade. Apple’s strategy has been a combination of updating software to include more advanced features and regularly releasing newer versions of their phones every year to further antiquate their own products.
The market for smartphones has continually expanded, and they have permeated into almost every aspect of people’s everyday life. Phones have changed how we interact with friends, family, and the greater community. Social networking applications, many of which only are offered on smartphones, help us reach out to people that we would not have otherwise connected with. Looking at mobile phone technologies can also forecast economic growth, especially in developing countries. GDP growth is expected to range from 1.8% in the UK to 24.9% in Egypt over the years 2010-2020, compared with today’s GDP.
Worldwide, the smartphone market grew 25.3% over the last year in the second quarter, recording over 300 million shipments. While Apple seems to be the standard that other competitors are attempting to dethrone, iOS only holds 11.7% of the global market, while Android has 84.7%. Most of Android’s strengths lie in the fact that they hold low and ultra-low end prices (<$200). However, these statistics have not accounted for the new release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The difference between the competition of smartphone competitors is that there are a multitude of Android manufacturers all competing against each other trying to top the others, while Apple exists by itself, only releasing one (or two) similar products every year. Since they have no one to compete with, Apple is limited to a smaller market, but is also able to dictate what happens in that market. The sheer volume of devices at a wide range of price points combined with Google’s backing and multiple big-name competitors all working towards better products will keep Android on top of the market. Samsung remains the world’s top seller of Android smartphones; LG and Sony have both made a resurgence with the release of their own premiere smartphone.
While it may seem easy to unsubscribe from that way of thinking, to simply not conform and purchase the latest model every time it is released, it is harder than one might expect. Even the most granola crunching Whittie can be seen on their iPhone 5 updating social media, and it will be a while before we are able to move past the incessant upgrading.