Words: Alex Firth
Feature Image:Adrian Sava
For a while now, Apple has been running its worldwide operations on 100% renewable energy. With its latest iPhone announcement, Apple has pledged to take its sustainable approach one step further.
At its annual iPhone event in Cupertino, Apple detailed its 3-pronged approach to further improve its sustainability; ensuring materials are sourced responsibly, devices last longer and are properly recycled at the end of their useable life.
It’s a universal truth that our devices slow down as they age. The battery becomes weaker and apps become sluggish. Our devices just aren’t the same after a few years of use. Much focus was brought to this issue when so called ‘Batterygate’ rose to prominence. In early 2017, Apple released iOS 10.2.1, which slowed older devices down when their battery was weak. Many users found this restricting, and confronted Apple on the controlling nature of their software.
After a class action lawsuit was filed, Apple introduced measures to allow you to see the health of your iPhone’s battery, as well as choose whether the phone will slow down or not. It even reduced the price of a battery replacement, to ensure existing devices would last longer.
However, in June, Apple went one step further, and announced iOS 12. The new software guarantees current devices will run optimally and resurrects older devices to ensure they’re usable for some time to come.
It’s safe to assume that the degradation of older devices is a money grab opportunity for hardware companies.
As your phone slows, you inevitably choose to upgrade to a newer model, investing your cash further into the business.
But with this brings another new device into the world, with more precious resources used in its manufacture.
Apple have now detailed how they intend to create ‘durable’ products, both in hardware and software. Examples of this can be seen at their most recent keynote event.
Many technology journalists rumoured prior to the announcement of the new iPhone XR, the more budget friendly offering from Apple, that the device would use older processors in order to cut costs. Apple instead utilised its newest A12 Bionic chip seen in its latest products. With a more powerful chip comes improved future proofing for the device. They even transferred many key features from the flagship iPhone Xs to the less expensive iPhone XR model. This will ensure users who purchase the budget device maintain satisfaction with the product for years to come and see less of a need to upgrade after a short period of time.
With slow down and enticing new upgrades from hardware manufacturers often swaying us from considering the sustainable option, Apple themselves said that continuing to use your old phone, and not upgrading, is ‘the best thing for the planet’.
Whilst it is clearly not the most financially viable approach for many businesses, we can all hope that other manufactures follow in Apple’s footsteps to ensure a sustainable future for our technology products.