Monday, June 8, 2015

The Apple iWatch -- Dawn of a New Standard in Planned Obsolescence?

by Eliot Woodrich

Apple Promotional Image

Apple -- one of the largest producers of laptops, desktops and mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad have been cited as one of the most egregious offenders of industry practice to promote planned obsolescence in their product line. While the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad have had some degree of repair capability (although restricted by the warranty) the iWatch is the beginning of a new era of truly "black box" electronics that cannot be understood nor repaired or diagnosed by even sophisticated consumers.

Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'

The British newspaper, The Independent, has called out the iWatch as a flagrant example of planned obsolescence and intentional restriction of end-user repair and customization by Apple. Some cited example ares the aluminum cast components that are either glued or otherwise secured to prevent modification, which is a step above most companies efforts to ensure customers do not attempt to repair or alter their own products.

The primary danger of products like the iWatch is that the predicted popularity will further accustom consumers to replacing the hardware even at the slightest fault instead of pursuing their own, or 3rd party repairs. If the module containing most of the iWatch functionality fails, the user is left with no other choice to purchase another, and efforts to modify watches that have been released have demonstrated this difficulty.

iWatch Teardown

Is this the new standard in consumer hardware? Time will tell, but the signs indicate that companies like Apple are committed to continually reducing consumer's ability to repair and modify their products, and that there is no incentive for this trend to end anytime soon.

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