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6/22/2012
02:56 PM
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Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews

Short term, Apple will make more money. Long term, it will annoy, and lose, even ardent device fans.

This just in from Apple: "MobileMe ends June 30. Although there are good standards-based ways to make your contacts and calendars available, we will arbitrarily disable those features in OS/X until you upgrade your operating system and, we hope, purchase new hardware from us."

OK, maybe that's not the way Apple put it, but that's the message I hear. In my personal life, Apple is starting to drive me crazy with planned obsolescence. And now that the iPhone is a part of many of our enterprise deployments, Apple's planned obsolescence will start to drive us crazy at work, too.

As the headline writers pithily put it on a recent David Thier blog on Forbes.com: "Every iPhone Accessory You Own Just Became Obsolete." They were referring to Apple's plans to change the dock connector on the next iPhone. "Apple is great at getting us to buy new products, and this may be one its biggest coups yet," Their writes. That's fantastic if you're an Apple shareholder, but it's annoying and expensive if you have to replace a fleet of iPhone accessories every time you replace your organization's iPhones.

The typical knowledge worker who relies on a smartphone has a charger in the car, at home, and at work. During the transition from iPhone 3 to 4, most accessories were plug and play. That's not going to be the case now.

And don't think you'll be able to get inexpensive equivalents of accessories such as car chargers. From all reports, Apple will include a proprietary chip at the port that will disallow unlicensed accessories.

And let's not forget that if you want to keep the phone you've got and not upgrade, Apple's history is to force customers to use newer firmware releases to fix security problems. The "unfortunate" side effect of these software updates is that they make the phones slower, so that your end users will want the organization to buy them new devices. Eventually, of course, Apple stops supporting the old phone altogether, so that your organization must buy new ones.

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Is innovation really supposed to work like this? I don't think so. Here's how it's supposed to work: Supplier comes up with compelling value proposition for buyer. Buyer gladly parts with cash so that buyer can benefit from innovation. This planned obsolescence thing is simply a message that not only will you buy the BMW of smartphones, but you will replace it on Apple's schedule, not yours.

When you're the only game in town, you can act like this. But in a market where there are now many compelling alternatives, not so much.

I continue to be a fan of iPhone-the-platform, versus iPhone-the-upgrade-treadmill. And I maintain that those who selected iPhones rather than Android phones years ago probably face a lower support burden and fewer defects. But I welcome competition to discourage Apple's treadmill tactics, and I'm heartened by a couple of recent developments:

>> Software provider Magnifis has released Robin, which, from what I have seen, can take on Siri, the iPhone 4S' voice assistant, head-to-head. (As I've written before, Siri has such nagging problems that it's not hard to imagine just about any competitor taking it on.)

>> Android phones are getting better all the time. My colleague Fritz Nelson reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S III a few days ago, and he's impressed: "You're going to want this phone." Android will soon have "even more momentum ahead of whatever Apple has up its sleeves," Nelson predicts. Specs aside, if it's a reliable phone with few defects and a standards-based micro-USB dock, it'll be hard for buyers, even Apple fanboys, to dismiss.

You feel that, Apple? Those are the winds of change. It may be temporarily profitable for you to force your customers into spending on upgrades, but a little thing that we call customer lifetime value means that it's stupid to annoy your customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Jonathan Feldman is a contributing editor for InformationWeek and director of IT services for a rapidly growing city in North Carolina. Write to him at jf@feldman.org or at @_jfeldman.

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

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MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2012 | 1:43:05 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Whatever happened to the EU technology movement from just a few years ago that championed mandated standard connectors (power and audio) for mobile phone devices to be marketed? The goal was to open the market to accessory producers (with competitive cost reduction) and inhibit vendor lockin.
ANON1237837896902
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ANON1237837896902,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 5:20:08 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
This might be a great idea if USB carried everything necessary for every accessary that anyone would ever want, but it doesn't. This was a stupid idea!

Along those same lines, I have not purchased a car or wall charger that wasn't simply a standard USB adapter for 5 years. All I will need are some new cables and the primary one will come with my phone.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
6/25/2012 | 6:34:47 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I agree with the buy generic USB adapters and use the cable but if USB doesn't carry everything necessary for every accessary then how is that going to help you? BTW what is it that USB doesn't carry since it is serial, the S in USB, and can carry any message you wish.
FritzNelson
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FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 4:17:27 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Jonathan -- I agree with the thinking behind your frustrations, but it is also being reported that Apple is changing the dock connector to conserve space -- either to reduce the footprint of their device to better compete with these larger, yet slimmer/lighter phones like the Samsung Galaxy SIII, or to improve the battery capability, or both. Both changes are necessary, and if a dock connector makes that possible, it puts Apple between a rock and a hard place, and us, as customers, between those two as well. Thinking of all the iHome gizmos and the $100+ Mophie cases . . . heck, I've spent maybe $500 or so over the years just on that stuff.

I do like MyWOr1d's question about standards. And one wonders whether micro-USB should be the simple answer. But at this point, I'm not sure Apple has much choice -- unless the change to the connector actually isn't necessitated by the two factors I mention.
ANON1252035144238
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ANON1252035144238,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 4:46:24 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
One question what has Apple obsoleted so far?

Has he a brain to discern before shooting from the hip hoping to catch some clicks.

Sad to read such a hitwhore of a blog.
jmineo144
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jmineo144,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 10:20:54 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Actually, Apple already did make the old iPod interface obsolete. Anyone who had a device back when firewire was popular knows how expensive Apple's fickle attitude can be. I have at least one car interface that won't charge newer iphones and ipods and that car is only a 2008. I have friends who invested $300 (US) on Bose Sound Docks that were originally wired to charge devices that were based on the firewire pinout. Now that very expensive accessory is very useless.
eric.robichaud
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eric.robichaud,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 4:56:30 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I hear your point, but I don't think is a fair statement. That dock connector has been a standard across ipod, ipod touch, and all generations of iPhones, for 10 years now. At some point you need to move forward and keep evolving. Should we still be using 8" external floppy disks and pinfeed dot matrix printers? It's not like they keep changing interfaces with each device to make you buy new stuff -- it's been TEN YEARS! Just like they dropped the floppy before anyone else, and now have dropped the CD drive in their newest machines and even hard drives in favor of SSD and dropped Firewire for Thunderbolt, it's just a matter of evolution. As an ipod/iphone user, I agree it's less than optimal. I have a bunch of now "old" interface devices too. But in the name of innovation and moving the ball forward (so to speak), I can understand why they're downsizing to make things continually smaller -- for a mobile device, that's a good thing.
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 5:34:49 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
In the pursuit of evolution is about to get even more exspensive!
Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
6/25/2012 | 6:30:54 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
TO me it doesn't look like innovation even if it has been 10 years. Other than the chip that prevents third party knockoffs what innovation is in this new connector? Please explain, oh and if it is smaller they are after then why not go with an industry standard micro-USB like everyone else?
Bizlaw
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Bizlaw,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 9:47:47 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Please stop taking rumors as fact. Apple has announced nothing regarding the dock connector or any chip which prevents third party hardware which is not approved. For all you know it's not true, or the chip is to ensure accurate power supply is presented and no overload occurs.
jmineo144
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jmineo144,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 10:25:52 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I have no problem with moving forward. If you change the format of something it is usually to bring new features and functionality. But changing things for the sake of obsolescing past technology is ruthless and in the case of Apple's devices unnecessary. I mean really, who has had an Apple portable device last more the 2 years anyway? Their devices already have obsolescence built in, there's no need to change the cable to force the very small minority of Apple device users to buy new.
DuckPondSoftware
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DuckPondSoftware,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2012 | 4:19:43 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
My iPhone was > 4 years old and I only upgraded to get new Hotspot and GPS features. Lasted longer than any of my prior non-Apple phones. Daughter's iPad is way more than 2 years.
Tronman
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Tronman,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 5:20:35 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
"Apple is great at getting us to buy new products"

I am happy to say that, for me, Apple has failed miserably.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
6/25/2012 | 6:28:04 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
For me also, I don't own anything Apple except the galas in my fridge.
ANON1237837896902
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ANON1237837896902,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 5:24:35 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Apple makes virtually NOTHING!!!! on dock connector licensing. The idea that they would transition off the dock connector (a powerful lock in for many i-Device users) to something new as a way to increase sales of cables and adapters is so stupid it makes me wonder how anyone would have come up with it. AND IT IS STILL JUST A RUMOR!!!!

I hope the dock connector gets updated soon to make even faster interfaces available (USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt) as well as higher power transfers to allow things like the iPad 3 charge faster.
ANON1242835692625
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ANON1242835692625,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 5:55:48 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
"This just in from Apple: "MobileMe ends June 30", you're kidding right? Jonathan, where have you been, Apple has announced and reminded users of this adinfinitum for the past nine months at least. I had moved all the users I support to iCloud by the end of last year. While I hear you, if we followed your logic, we'd all still be using 5.25 disk drives, so we don't have to purchase the "new" 3.5 disks, or later USB flash drives. This is technology and it changes. Quite frankly what other manufacturer has used the same connector for its mobile devices (tablet and phone) for the past five years. Seems to me, every time I got a new phone before iPhone, I always had to buy a case and new charging cables. My .02. John
rmichaels85701
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rmichaels85701,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 6:18:40 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
My businesses and I have been Microsoft users for many years. I have seen obsolescence (I can't use the word, "planned" because that just hasn't seemed to be important to Microsoft) on a regular basis that Apple users can't even imagine. Chaos! Costly! Ridiculous! Unnecessary! Always requiring new software updates that would immediately required a SERVICE PACK to try to fix all of the shortcomings of the latest software releases! I got as far as Service Pack 14! Can you imaging that level of cost when all of your computers have to be upgraded? The time your staff and support teams must be involved to make the changes and upgrades? And the fact that the upgrades then don't even work? How would you like doing that for years?

As developers, my team of programmers would work with XML programming new software to our already bloated product line. The development tools were constantly being upgraded. When the upgrades were loaded by my programming team, all of the work done to that date would immediately freeze and no longer work. .dlls would overwrite .dlls that had been used up to the new update. Microsoft never told us which .dlls were going to overwrite which .dlls. We would come to a dead halt. To get moving again, we needed to use the new XML Parser that also was upgraded. It wouldn't work with our software. We would have to go back a couple of generations to an "old" (about two weeks old) Parser and begin again. This went on for months. And people here are worried about a couple of little changes by Apple that probably will be better for every single user out there?

I'm switching to all-Apple. Why? Because I don't have to replace my entire system to keep my platform stable. And when it IS replaced, it is far from stable. Constant problems, costs, upgrades, etc. And to top it all off, the Microsoft browser becomes obsolete and support is unavailable. If you don't have the proper processor in EACH of your computers, you will be unable to download any browser that is usable. You must buy new hardware. Businesses with hundreds of computers are screwed. That's why Microsoft has the huge share of market that impresses the bankers. The users' are nailed to the floor and there is no choice but to upgrade, buy new hardware to run the new software that won't run on your old hardware. How ludicrous is that?

I will be willing to go totally Apple from here on in. I have thousands of customers and I'll be the proponent that will attempt to illustrate the difference between what they've been doing for years and what they can get from Apple.

Be grateful you discovered Apple when you did. Before you made the same mistake many of us Microsoft/IBM compatible users stumbled over and still see as a disaster years later.

That brief excursion of writing software using Microsoft's development tools cost me well over $200,000 and I finally canned the project and took the loss rather than to screw my customers by putting stuff out there that I would have to support forever because it couldn't be written properly. That's why there's so much junk out there.
redwards077
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redwards077,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 6:30:28 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I agree with the people who say that we should cut Apple some slack, it's bee ten years since they've changed the dock connector and Apple is doing it for design reasons. On the other hand, they've managed to slip a chip in so you can't use less expensive after market products. How does that benefit the consumer? It doesn't, pure and simple.

Apple always has a weak answer and the hard core Apple fanboys (and girls) wear those answers like a shield. Apple doesn't make their batteries removable so the case can be smooth and feel better in your hand. Well, there are plenty of Android phones with removable batteries that feel just as nice to the touch, for the few people who don't put their phones in a protective case.

Apple's MobileMe was a failure of epic proportion. Just ask Steve Jobs, well, don't have a seance of anything, just look back at comments he made about that product. Still, the hardcore Apple fans spent $99 a year while everyone else signed up for free products that did mostly the same thing.

As for the person who asked about planned obsolescence just compare the list of products that MobileMe supported to the list that iCloud supports and you'll have your answer.

There is no doubt that Apple with sell hardware, but there's also no doubt that Android has already taken business away. The iPhone came into a "smartphone" landscape that included Symbian and Blackberry, and offered options that no other smartphone could. Today, well the numbers tell the story, and according to Comscore for the quarter ending in February 2012, Android powered over 50% of the smartphones in the US, Apple 30.2%. Not shabby on Apples part, but alarming for a company who essentially was the first to market.

The landscape is rapidly changing with Microsoft looking for a slice of the pie. Whether they are successful or not this is not the time for Apple to be looking for a quick buck at the customers expense.
Bizlaw
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Bizlaw,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 9:56:04 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I think Apple will take its 75% of smartphone market profits anyway over pure market share. You forget that in that 50% market share for Android are versions of Android that you wouldn't even recognize as an Android phone, including Chinese knock-offs and other incredibly cheap phones.

The argument between removable vs. non-removable batteries is just silly. It's a design choice. If you have a removable battery, you need more space for the connectors, battery compartment, etc. You also restrict your battery shape. A non-removable battery can be more creatively shaped to fit inside the device, but takes away the possibility of swapping batteries if one runs out of juice.

Personally the idea of needing to carry extra batteries is silly. I would virtually never need to swap a battery in my iPhone: Just plug in somewhere (like my car or at my desk). Worst case scenario is to buy a Mophie Juice Pack or quick-charge battery pack for those rare occasions I would need it. How is that so different from a removable battery?

Your claim of list of items not supported by iCloud which were included in MobileMe is also specious. Apple realized it didn't need to offer web hosting because so many other third party vendors were doing the same, and it doesn't really fit into Apple's product lineup. So it dropped it. At least Apple didn't tout a product like Microsoft's Kin phones, only to cancel the entire thing within 6 months of releasing it.
lhassan606
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lhassan606,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 7:08:53 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
interesting all the "pithy" fanboy comments seem to be anonymous. the only thing my android phone doesn't run through the micro USB is the HDMI, which in the end I don't use. but syncing and recharge, which I do use work just fine, through my phone, my wife's company issued blackberry and daughter's phone. maybe they need a new cable for the new mapping software, that's sure to be a hit...maybe less time spent training Siri to be just another snippy fangirl or less time in court trying to stifle innovation and they could actually come up with something intelligent and meaningful.
Aden11
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Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 7:24:57 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Now a days, it is a fashion to criticize Apple. The whole article is about criticism for the sake of criticism. The quality of the articles on this site is sliding down day by day.
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 7:58:49 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I donG«÷t understand how reporting on a change to a mobile device that will affect all users of that device is fashion. My opinion is that it is not for the sake of criticism, but informative purposes. There are very valid points in the article if you let your 'AppleGuard' downG«™
I might spread that word, for all Apple users who get offended when Apple products and services are G«£criticizedG«• and feel they must defend the Apple!
I am an Apple user, but at the end of the day if I have the choice to buy a product that one company sells for a high price and one company sell for a low price, I am going with the product that does the same thing and costs less.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
mpsmart
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mpsmart,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 8:24:57 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Well not all users... Just users who upgrade to the next iPhone. Its not Iike the previous gen's of iPhones are getting different docs (same with new users who aren't offered MobileMe). As I said in my comment, this update makes the overall mobile experience better. And as for the end of MobileMe, sure there were features that subscribers enjoyed that are not yet included in iCloud, but that doesn't mean that the overall experience was better on mobile me. I think complaining about apple is necessary to make apple and others strive for excellence. However, the complaints in this article aren't worth making and are not sound. Give me some reasons to believe you rather than just saying "ugh, I hate paying for upgraded devices." Also, don't moch quote (as I just did) in the beginning of an article. Its bad form considering many readers only read the first paragraph
Bizlaw
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Bizlaw,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 10:00:10 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
The problem Paul is that Feldman is reporting the canceling of MobileMe like it's a sudden, new event. In fact MobileMe subscribers have known since June 11, 2011, that MobileMe was going to be shut down by June 30, 2012. Apple has been sending MobileMe users many, many emails for several weeks now reminding MobileMe users to move their contacts, calendars, etc. to iCloud (which is free) and to move their web sites, photos, etc. somewhere else so that nothing is lost.

This article makes it sound like Apple just decided last week to kill MobileMe when Apple has in fact gone to great lengths to make moving your data to iCloud a one-button click and has given users enough warnings to make them sick of receiving the emails.
mpsmart
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mpsmart,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 7:29:04 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Before I bought my iPhone 4, I was using the first gen iPhone for a few months as a replacement for my broken 3GS. It worked just fine. The fact is, Apple upgrades are always significant and necessary. The announcement for iCloud was huge for people without MobileMe and most MobileMe people were happy to not have to pay for such a clunky service. Also, BMW upgrades annually so I don't understand the reference... Apple's innovations continue to be worth the price. I agree that other companies can and will beat Apple at their own game, but it has yet to happen. Until then, buying new docks and chargers for a much more convenient smartphone experience is worth it.
AppleWatcher
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AppleWatcher,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 8:11:40 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Changing the dock connector is only an issue if it doesn't appear to serve some larger, long-term strategic purpose. A mini-Thunderbolt connector would be awesome, because ultimately I want my iPhone to drive my 27" display when I dock it. Apple has historically done these transitions pretty well. Any of you pined for a clickwheel lately?
stahmasebi9211
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stahmasebi9211,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 9:10:01 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I don't understand this constant Apple bashing by Mr. Feldman. It's almost as if he's a paid stooge of Microsoft's (or maybe Google's?). Apple does a lot to make sure their customers are happy and taken care of. The last FOUR iPhone releases have had the same charging mechanism. It's ok if they want to go ahead and change something for the newest release due in September. Also, Mobile Me never got the kind of adoption they had hoped so with iCloud came a much improved implementation which naturally warrants cutting ties with the previous way of doing things.
Aden11
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Aden11,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/26/2012 | 7:04:02 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Thanks for the comments, Stahmasebi9211. I am glad I am not alone, I share your feelings.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/28/2012 | 8:22:31 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
Agree 100%. Above all I question the notion of a "Customer Revolt". This sounds more like one disgruntled columnist looking for an alarmist headline to draw in readers to that he can air his pet peeves. Mr. Feldman you are brilliant. This article is not up to your highest standards.
Bizlaw
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Bizlaw,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 9:45:25 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
This article is ridiculous. Apple told MobileMe users over a year ago that MobileMe would be ending. Plus, all of your contacts, calendar, etc. is ported to iCloud if you want, or you can sync by plugging your iPhone into your Mac/PC.

This "planned obsolescence" is also a myth. Apple just announced that even the iPhone 3GS will run iOS 6 when it comes out. Fewer than 10% of Android phones can run Ice Cream Sandwich, and most can't even upgrade whatever version of Android they are running because Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc. won't make an update available. Planned obsolescence is MUCH more prevalent in the Android universe, where you can't upgrade even if you wanted to because an upgrade you find online may not work on your particular handset hardware. Yes, that includes the Samsung phones Feldman praises so highly.

Plus, there's no reason you need to upgrade your iPhone. It will keep working just fine. No, you won't have the most recent features which are part of the new OS, but that's your choice. There is no company which lets you add features to an older version of an OS, whether mobile device or PC. You have to upgrade to get the new features.
rcreager840
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rcreager840,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/26/2012 | 1:31:49 AM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
A quick look at other industries (e.g., automobile) can remind us that few people or companies have remained at the top over the long haul, and those that have remained are quite aware of customer needs, instead of telling customers what they need. Apple's reign will continue for a season but I suspect it will be troubled in the near future by Android-based equipment, and lower cost equipment.
rmichaels85701
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rmichaels85701,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/26/2012 | 3:46:57 AM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I forgot to tell the folks that my son has been one of the top ten sales people for AT&T and his favorite phone was the Blackberry -- for about a week. He not only worked for AT&T but he was recruited by Verizon and T-Mobile and he was their top salesman, too. So what? Well, he shared with me the popularity and issues with each smartphone handled by these companies. Blackberry -- unimaginative and doomed. Android -- the system that had the most returns, the most difficulties, the most refunds, the most instability.

Apple iPhone -- no issues, no problems of substance. Buy this one and forget about all the hype about android if you want reliability and professionalism overall.

Just thought you'd want to know.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/26/2012 | 5:04:16 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I happened to come into the Apple mobile device environment right before the last cable change and I thought oh GREAT. This is manipulative. Now that I've been using the same cables through multiple generations of iPhones and iPads over five years, so my grumbling days are over.

Apple puts a lot of thought into things like connections; it's in their DNA to do so. So Mr. Nelson's suggestion that there are form factor and/or technological reasons behind this change makes sense to me. I'm fine with this. I just hope that they know enough to manage this transition a bit. As Mr. Feldman points out, they are no longer the only game in town and perception is critical.

Here's what I'd like to see: First, give us a hint why you're changing the connectionand articulate that you don't plan to do this capriciously every year. Second, sell just the cables. That would allow me to swap out just the cables in my home, office, car, and flight bag while keeping my existing plugs.

Third, make one or more adapters that will sit in the iPod docks of our speaker systems, CD players, camera connectors, etc. and allow us to dock the new phone. Perhaps an adapter with a couple of collars. Want to do something really radical and much appreciated? Include the adapter "for free" with the next round of iPhones, iPods, iPads.

Re third party chargers, batteries, etc., if there is proprietary chip at the port but if there is one, then its functionality won't be new. In the past this has been all about Apple's protecting its "it just works" branding by warning about junker devices that were not up to standard. Belkin products, say, never a problem. Apple should not tigthen this policy and they should make it clear that they are not doing so.

If we want a universal standard port, then let's push for one that would make Mr. Jobs excited. (That's a good Turing test for hardware design, no?) When we get something that passes the "Jobs test" then let's put pressure on every mfr to adopt it. For now I prefer Apple's cables to micro USB, which is just too easy to accidentally disconnect.

Finally a word about upgrades. True that some security patches require firmware changes. True that that can slow down the phone. Apple should avoid it where possible and if that means re-architecting then that would be a good idea if they mean to protect their new position of respect in the enterprise.

On the other hand, smartphones are computers. Computers get slower as they are asked to work with new technology. When that slowness becomes an obstacle to working then upgrade the user and hand down or recycle the old phone. Until that point just say "no" or "on your own nickel".

apummer945
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50%
apummer945,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/27/2012 | 12:19:59 AM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
the compare Apple, BMW is not correct, the BMW is the ultimate drive machine, a long lasting technical perfection, Apple phone is one expensive jewel with many little technical issues.
Bruce300
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50%
Bruce300,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/27/2012 | 5:51:11 AM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I am no Apple fanboy, but this article reflects total ignorance of the high-tech industry. Apple is innovating by incorporating advances in technology as they become available in a market that moves at light speed.

The author cites BMW and that "Android phones are getting better all the time." Does the author honestly believe that a new BMW will last forever or that Android phones and related operating system versions will still be current 3, 2 or even 1 year from now?

Pick any high-tech hardware/software combination and a similar argument can be made. Stand still and die in your tracks.

The above having been said, changing the connector is a big deal. Perhaps Apple will create an adapter.
Malky
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Malky,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2012 | 5:56:00 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I'm a long term Apple fan since the early days. I have two desktop Macs and a laptop. Two are on Snow Leopard and one Lion. I still use my iPhone 3G and have an iPad2. The kit is robust. If Apple change connectors for the sake of it, shame on them. If they do it for performance improvements, power to their elbow. However, 10.7 is slow and bloated - feels like a creaky experiment.
Dave_Aragorn1
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50%
Dave_Aragorn1,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/10/2012 | 6:14:16 PM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
I got rid of my iPhone this past weekend... out of the Apple yoke at last... I went with an SIII... it's awesome.
anon5598560211
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50%
anon5598560211,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 3:30:07 AM
re: Apple's Planned Obsolescence: Customer Revolt Brews
A theory of "Planned Obsolescence" applied to the iPad: http://bit.ly/1bquBLO
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