Saturday, September 10, 2016

Do you really need to upgrade your phone?

Ah, it's that time of year when the annual new iPhone announcement comes out. I'm not particularly bothered. I've never bought into the cult of Apple products or services. If you don't think it's a cult, then I recommend your read this brilliant article about a journalist trying to get their press pass to attend. I digress. Judging by my timeline and the flurry of press releases about iPhone 7 compatible headphones and cases that I got within moments of the press conference finishing. A few people I know are upgrading the software on their existing iPhone and some have stated their aim to buy the new handset despite the high price point. I also note that Brexit appears to have put the price up due to our currency devaluation of late.
Do you really need to upgrade your phone? 
You might think that's an odd question from someone working in the industry and actively promoting mobile apps and services. But I am serious. I am conscious of the environmental impact the industry is having. And I was reminded of it this morning when following this discussion on TEN and this related article from Quartz from a couple of years ago, the reminder that the Coltan needed in all our phones, and not just iPhones, is sourced from troubled nations like Congo and Rwanda, that most of our phones are made in China where workers' rights are not necessarily a priority, putting it politely, and the retail workers selling the phones are on low wages too. And that's despite the £599+ price tag for the latest iPhone. And then there's the whole recycling issue - not just of the devices but of the cables, plugs, adapters and gizmos that we use alongside them. Is there anywhere near you where you can recycle cables and gadgets safely and easily?

My lowly Nexus One
I meet with friends from the mobile industry regularly. They joke with me that I usually have a really old phone. They're not wrong. I still use my Nexus One which I got in 2010 (although I can only use it for phone calls, SMS, alarm and, at a push, maps. It can't take the pressure of much else). It still works so why not still use it until it stops working?

I currently complement it with a Samsung S4 (3 years old) and a Google Nexus 7 tablet (also 3 years old). My laptop is also 2 or 3 years old but serves its purpose. Shouldn't our devices and gadgets be built to last? Until I actually need a new phone, I won't be upgrading any time soon.

How about you?