back to article Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

In the late '90s, Eric Schmidt was an accessible tech CEO with a problem. Novell's product was so good and so reliable nobody needed to upgrade it. If one day people decided to stop using their current version, they wouldn't switch to another version of Novell, the one that Eric was trying to sell, but something else entirely. I …


        1. Franco Silver badge

          Apple sells media content via iTunes, and wants to also produce it's own content apparently. Are you seriously suggesting that Apple would not use the data they have on existing purchasers to suggest new content that they might be interested in for example?

          Just because Apple say they don't do it and like to take the moral high-ground doesn't mean they aren't doing it too. Google's motto was don't be evil, yet they slurp everything and dump zero days exploits in other companies software on to the internet if they aren't patched as quickly as Google would like. Facebook are quite simply pure evil, and Microsoft have many questionable practices that are, if not as bad as the other two at least in terms of data mining, are certainly in the same ballpark.

          Let us not forget Apple themselves have done some pretty shady things, with conditions at their partner manufacturing plants, their tax arrangements, excessive vendor lock-in on accessories and maintenance, pushing out new pieces of software as a "recommended update" and forcing the download of a U2 album that no one wanted.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Of course Apple could use narrowly focused data like your iTunes example, but that's a far cry from collecting anything and everything. There's also nothing stopping them from having that data collected and processed locally so it never leaves the device. There's no reason it needs to be uploaded off your phone, other than to combine it with other devices like an iPod, Mac etc. which would be of limited utility unless you listened rarely on your phone compared to other devices.

            Please spare me "just because Apple says they aren't doing it doesn't mean they aren't doing it". Just because Google's stated policies don't allow them to make every scrap of info they collect on you available to all governments of the world, as well as selling it on eBay for your neighbors to buy doesn't mean they aren't doing it, right?

            1. Franco Silver badge

              "Please spare me "just because Apple says they aren't doing it doesn't mean they aren't doing it"."

              Why, have Apple done something to make you trust them implicitly? It's clear that once one company gets away with something the others will follow. Apple were the first to risk non-user replaceable batteries and were slated for it, now it's the norm across almost all devices.

              You asked why Apple might do such a thing, the article gives you the answer. If their devices are lasting longer then they can't make the same amount of money from people upgrading constantly, so they will need to find another way to maintain their revenue stream.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was there when they promised to stop 1984 from happening.

    Instead, of course, they are a major stakeholder in the THX Project.

    I still have my flip phone c'ause it's a phone, CrApple can go screw itself, so can android.

    I feel sorry for the last few generations bound to the grid, they'll fit in well when Chinese style Social Credit systems are unleashed upon them, unable to dodge the collar.

    I may be a dinosaur but I can master it all so I'm still here, chugging away...

    Ditch your phone the way we ditched our watches.

    Maybe if you used half the time you spend on your phone on your wife, child or dog the world might avoid the coming storm.

    End rant.

  2. Chris Evans


    "You've behaved ethically, putting long-term consumer concerns first"

    If they were ethical they'd make them easier to repair and whilst they may support their obsolete products better than most, they don't support them long enough to entice me, I would call it "Mid-term consumer concerns first" at best

  3. Jim 59

    "Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade"

    ...except a replacement purchase by the seller ?

    "Apple represents a strong alternative to people creeped out by Google's disconcerting data slurping."

    The implication being that Apple is better than Google in this regard. If true, it is an excellent reason for Android users to make the switch, and could be Apple's salvation.

    Like Microsoft, who were workstation based and just never "groked" the network, Google is network based and cannot grok people's privacy concerns, and never will. And there is the key to Google's eventual downfall. If Apple or another FAANG can make privacy their main product, they will dominate into the future.

    1. Neil Anderson

      "Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade"

      Apple gets any app purchases or services the new buyer opts for.

  4. ida71u

    Ethical you say ?

    So the company that has put the price of their product up by the same number as the phone edition in dollars, then sold it to us mugs in the UK in the same number but in pounds & tried to make old phones run slowly until they were taken to court, is ethical ??? WTF you must be smoking Androids :)

    So my 3 was £300, the 4 was £400 the 5/6/7/8 were the same in pounds & the 9 was skipped & went straight to the X (10) at £1000 due to poor sales of the 8. Now its does not cost anymore to import from China to the UK or the rest of Europe than it does to the USA, so a $999 phone should have been about £765 +VAT, so circa £920. Highest taxes in the USA are around 10% so the $999 would have been worst case $1100 !

    So I would not call a company that charges customers in one country more than another just because they can, ethical.

    But given the choice of the Malware hell that is Android & its disparate lack of commonality, I'll stick with my iPhone.


  5. IGnatius T Foobar !

    No sympathy

    Apple still skims off a third of all revenues which go through the iStore. They're still making boatloads of money whether people upgrade their phones or not. I have no sympathy for them here.

  6. MWH

    Built in obsolescence?

    My experience is that my Samsung S7 keeps chugging along in spite of many firmware updates, while my IPad got slower with each revision till I binned it as unusable. A simple "Don't take this update - you do not have enough memory" would restore my faith in Apple. Till then, I'm cynical.

  7. Semtex451 Silver badge

    After all these years

    Does AndrewO still have to point out to you that when the word 'Ethical' appears in a sentence in relation to Apple, one of three situations has occurred

    a) it's sarcasm foo

    b) the word is being used comparatively

    c) AndrewO needs an ambulance

  8. Roland6 Silver badge

    Time to change the business model.

    Currently, Apple (largely) relies on new hardware sales. Clearly, it would seem they are several years behind Microsoft - who themselves aren't known to be market leaders, and moving from product to service and subscriptions.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Time to change the business model.

      They already are, they set a goal a couple years ago to double their services revenue by 2020, and they are ahead of schedule on it, seeing growth of 20-30% a year.

      Having older phones last longer and get sold second hand is increasing their user base by 10% a year in the US (probably similar everywhere) which means more people to sell services to, even if their yearly sales of new phones begins to decline due to people waiting longer before replacing them.

    2. Neil Anderson

      Re: Time to change the business model.

      "several years behind Microsoft"

      Funny how pundits often think that ... till Apple leapfrogs the competition. Like the Apple watch, for example.

  9. Neil Anderson

    "Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade"

    Apple will buy certain iPhone models as a trade-in, refurbish them, and sell them for a profit.

  10. Extra Fabulous

    Are you sure?

    Apple still deliberately throttles old iphones and has had an issue on many older models. I don’t know what makes you think they’re made to last.

    Iphone x has screen burn and colour shift due to the way OLED screens work.

    Iphone 8 has logic board issues.

    Iphone 7/+ has audio ic issues and no service issues.

    Iphone 6/+ has touch ic issues.

    Iphone 6s battery randomly dies.

    There’s quite a bit of material on all the iphone issues online and a few ongoing class action lawsuits. You should check it out. I’ve never heard anyone ever claim the things last a long time before. That’s really not their spiel.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Are you sure?

      If you sell 200+ million units of ANYTHING in a year, you are going to have some issues with a certain percentage of them. I haven't had the issues you list and I've owned an iPhone X since launch and before that had an iPhone 6S plus since launch. Google has had a long list of problems with each Pixel and they sell 1% or 2% as many as Apple. As far as I'm aware, no one I know has had any of these problems with their iPhone (not that all my friends tell me about every problem they have with their phones, but I do hear some of them and except for broken screens those issues are universally Android related)

      If you don't believe iPhones last longer than Android phones, you are being willfully ignorant. Go look at the resale value (either in absolute terms or as a percentage of original sales price) and compare to ANY Android phone. If they were as poorly built as you seem to believe, no iPhones would last long enough to be resold!

  11. Billy7766

    2nd hand....

    I think I disagree regarding 2nd hand phones - a quick google says that an S9 is around £500, roughly the same as an iPhone X with half the memory, if you go down a bit the previous generation S8 is around the same sort of price as an Apple 8....all in all I'm not sure your argument stands up. I abandoned Apple after my 2nd iphone 6 went kaput in 18 months due to battery issues and I became aware of the S8 and it's MicroSD slot, meaning I could buy a much cheaper phone, that looked good and then upgrade it's memory to whatever I wanted for next to nothing.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: 2nd hand....

      Look at trade in values, not second hand pricing. Find me a site that shows the same value for an iPhone X or iPhone 8 as a Galaxy S8. I'll wait. For a long time, because there isn't one.

  12. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    well the best phone i've ever had is my current one - an iPhone 5. I've had it for at least 2 years , battery lasts 48hrs. Given to me for free , i declare myself the winner of the $$$ / functionality ratio contest

  13. MMR

    Killed the golden goose

    Apple got greedy and killed of the SE which was £300. Now the cheapest model is what, £750?

    Good luck trying to sway the SE owners to that deal.

  14. Lordbrummie

    Well, we were an apple house through and through.

    4 iphones, 4 ipads, IMAC desktop, AppleTV and an Air. multiple iterations over the past 7 years or so, not anymore, Apple has priced us out of their eco system.

    Now we're down to just the 4 phones, the IMAC just got replaced by a touch screen laptop, no matter what folks think of Win10, for what my family uses them for (Youtube, Netflix, school work) they are more than functional and a fraction of the price.

    As soon as the phones start to give up the ghost then we'll be off to android, just cannot justify the prices, they are beyond silly now.

    It's not just the hardware either, no itunes and appstore sales, that is the real long term killer for Apple, no more regular monthly impluse sales, how did Apple let it come to this....

  15. Anonymous Coward
  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The fact iPhones are well made and continue to chug along so well brings along an ancillary benefit: they retain their value much better than Androids. Which, again, makes them attractive to buyers in the second-hand market. Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade."

    It is a total fallacy that this is costing Apple lots of money.

    New iPhones are so expensive that only a niche market can actually afford them, even considering operator tarrifs which include a premium that pays for the handset over time. The fact that those lucky few have a market to sell on the older handsets is of benefit to Apple because it provides an upgrade path for its existing customers and also goes a long way in promoting its brand.

  17. Sil

    If Apple behaved ethically, it would not try to kick out third party repair shops.


  18. werdsmith Silver badge

    "Apple sees nothing from second-hand trade."

    Yes they do, that's some of the point of your article.

    The fact that they can sell on for good retained value is a selling point that helps shift phones therefore contributing to Apple's business.

  19. Aseries

    Apple Ethics? Really?

    Along with John Deere, Apple Service Center scamming consumers over ultra expensive repairs to push upgrades, lack of transprarency about self-repair and increasing use of monolithic device design has brought on themselves the cry for Right To Repair Legislation in the USA.

  20. FlamingDeath Bronze badge


    Are the best at planned obsolescence

    Their target market appeas to be the moron masses who demand features such as lasers in text messages and snapchat style augmented reality, as opposed to more useful features like laser measurements or dare I say it, a thermal camera

    CrApple have lost their way, if they even had it to start with.

    Whenever I visit their CrAppStore, I just despair at all the junk mobile app developers pushing out shitcode loaded with adverts and trackers. The amount of abandonware on there is incredible, and programs you've paid money for will magically disappear with no refund from CrApple. They're a bloody awful company, and thieves to boot

    Let's just say, "Smart" phones have not lived up to my expectations, and I am very disappointed

  21. mgrds

    data is all that matters ..

    There is only one thing that really matters - my data ! Is it secure, can I export it and transfer to another platform easily>

    Any platform that does not keep my data secure and give me total control and ownership of it is basically obsolete and only for fools!

    At the end of the day bevels on phones , or bells and whistles, or OS updates are just window dressing. And what is best one year can fall behind the next !.

    What matters is how compatible is the ecosystem with other platforms. And how independent , compatible and tranferable is my data This is increasingly the MOST important and only issue to me !

    1. __sky.captain__

      Re: data is all that matters ..

      To make your data* even remotely secure, the most important component is not your phone or its OS. It's you. The easiest device to hack is a person. And you have to get pretty well-educated on how breaches actually happen just to understand how and why your OS and anti-malware tools aren't enough. At that point, you are ready to start learning how to keep your stuff secure.

      * I assume you mean your sensitive information like IP address, email address, name, physical address, phone number, bank/cc account numbers, and so on.

  22. karlkarl Bronze badge

    You still need to activate the damn things over the internet each time they are factory reset.

    This DRM measure gives Apple the perfect chance to effectively disable them all within the period of 1-2 years.

    non-ethical scumbags!

  23. __sky.captain__

    You're kidding ... right?


    We should be applauding Apple for shooting itself in the foot, as it's done the Right Thing by consumers. Who else relies so heavily on an upgrade cycle, but then goes out of its way to avoid forced obsolescence?

    My response:

    The only reason Apple is doing anything different from their historic pattern of forcing obsolescence is that they got caught slowing old devices down so that people would have to upgrade their hardware. C'mon, you guys reported on this - why are you giving them angel's wings now that they are merely doing what they've been forced to do?


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