There was once a time, not too long ago, when the original iPhone (the "1") was considered the pinnacle of cell phone technology. It was revolutionary. And it led to a craze that culminated in the first guy to unlock one selling it for three phones and a Nissan 350z.
Six years later, the first-generation phone is obsolete—remarkably slow, fat and boxy, with legendarily bad connection problems. This is what happens when technology, especially in a field as fast-moving as cell phones, advances so rapidly.
But what if Apple is now trying to make your old phone run like a piece of crap, with sluggish loading times and decreased battery life? Several people think it's the company's new strategy. From the Atlantic Wire:
Especially with iOS 7, some users have noticed a significant difference in their iPhone's performance since upgrading. Apps randomly shut down, the battery dies quickly, and it's generally made using old iPhones a headache. Maybe you had to use one of the many guides to maximizing your iPhone's battery life after upgrading, like the "11 Tips to Keep iOS 7 From Destroying Your Battery Life," from Gizmodo's Eric Limer. The New York Times Magazine's Catherine Rampell thinks this adds up to some evidence Apple is practicing "planned obsolescence." It's an old business strategy that dates back to at least the Great Depression. A company wants to make its old products obsolete by a certain period so you'll upgrade to their latest offerings.
The write-up continues to say that Apple used to dodge charges of obsolescence by pointing to innovation in products. Now, they can't really. From the New York Times:
In the past, consumers were so excited about the cool new features, like Siri, the voice-activated interface, that they may not have minded (or even noticed) if their old phones started to deteriorate; they planned on upgrading anyway. This time around, that’s less true. The iPhone 5S and 5C offer fewer quantum improvements. Consumers are more likely to want their old phones to continue working at peak condition in perpetuity, and to feel cheated when they don’t.
Which is a lot of words for saying: If your 4s phone starts acting up—and no improvements seem to be in sight—Apple might be nudging you toward its newest toy.
[H/T: Atlantic Wire]