Planned obsolescence is expensive, to the environment and the consumer.
According to the website PCPro, the lifespan of an iPad is two years, and similar lifespans for MacBooks, iPhones and iPods are estimated at.
Early adopters and quick upgraders may be looking at lifespans of their products being considerably less than this.
So – how much are these items costing us?
Ethics and environment aside, here are the maths for entry level Apple items purchased in New Zealand, according to Apple.com.
These prices are the base level products with no added extras at all – they’re the “starting from” price advertised on the site:
MacBook Pro from $1799.00
iPhone from $999.00
iPad from $749.00
iPod from $279.00.
A total of $3826.00 for all four items, which is pretty typical ownership for many people. Especially considering a median income in New Zealand is typically between $30K and $40K.
How much is that per year? Per day? Pushing the figures…
Working on the two year lifespan model, these items would cost a user $1913.00 per year. Not cheap.
Cost per day for ownership is $5.24 per day.
These figures are, of course, also excluding any credit card interest if a loan was taken out, as well as any costs of iPhone plans, wifi and data etc.
None of these extra costs have anything to do with Apple or planned obsolescence, but it’s clear that ownership of these short life expectancy items is pretty pricey.
Cheaper alternatives in tech gear
Much cheaper alternatives do exist.
- Laptops: Run Ubuntu and buy an older secondhand machine, or a cheaper new machine. My daughter’s laptop is a secondhand machine that is six years old and only now starting to fail.The electronics are fine; it’s the casing that is cracking and the keyboard that is failing, due to heavy use by children. It is running Ubuntu and it works speedily.
- Phones: Question what you need and why, and don’t buy a plan. You can buy smart phones as cheaply as $49 in discount stores and they work fine.Don’t expect an eight megapixel camera included, that’s all. If you like photography, get a separate camera – you can grab great secondhand digi cameras cheaply from all those people buying iPhones who no longer need their cameras! 😉
- Tablets: Do you really need one? Personally I view them as a computer with all the useful parts missing! They’re an expensive, unnecessary, fragile toy. Having no tablet costs exactly $0.00 over an eternal lifespan 😉
- iPods: Go cheap – buy a nameless brand mp3 player or a shuffle. My shuffle is three years old, was bought for $30 duty free, and works a treat.Even if I replace it every two or three years it won’t break my bank.
I believe we should vote with our feet. If we don’t like being screwed over, don’t let companies screw us over. It’s as simple as that.
We live in a technological world, and I enjoy technology as much as the next person, but I like technology that is robust and good value. That makes sense for me and for the environment 🙂