Intrigued by the title, wondering what jack I’m talking about? Let’s define two words (stay with me, it’s gonna be fun and provocative):
- Jack: in the context of this post, it’s a plug. There’s a good chance you are using one if you have a wired headset for your phone or mp3 player.
- Planned obsolescence: “in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time”, wipikedia.org.
With this in mind, when there’s rumor that Apple is going to drop the jack connector on the coming iPhone 7, is this planned obsolescence? Some opponents to this choice claim that yes, I think the opposite, it’s not planned obsolescence, it’s progress. From the day we are born, until the day we are dead, we tend to want to progress, to make the next day better that the one we just lived. Although there are multiple way to do this, technical progress is one of them. Do you think that the electronics used to perform cardiac surgery has planned obsolescence and this is bad?
If I think planned obsolescence, per se, is bad because it forces consumption of more and more devices and increased pollution, all this can be managed. First by managing what you do with your electronics. Almost all electronics devices can be recycled, and more will be as environment laws will become more stringent and customers will become more conscious of the impact their behaviors have. Second by taking care of all your objects. Maintenance prolongs life of any objects. For example, if you have a car, you bring it back for service maintenance so it continues to work well, do the same with all your electronics. Third, by not listening to all the commercials out there.
We all know marketing is there to make you purchase the latest smartphone, tablet, or other gadget. But YOU decide. You can decide to keep your device one more year, but just thinking about three simple things:
- It’s hype not to follow the herds of early adopters who spend a premium to get the new thing.
- Purchasing the new toy triggers a shot of dopamine in your brain, so it’s not about the new toy, it’s about the shot of dopamine your body wants. Dopamine is known as the reward neurotransmitter, it makes you feel good, it’s also highly addictive.
- The new toy, like all toys, will be old very soon and there are huge chances you’ll get bored and will use the new toy as you were using the old one.
I’m not saying you should not purchase the latest technology, I’m saying you should do it knowing what you do. You should do it understanding how to recycle the old. You should do it knowing curiosity and progress is inherent to our nature, and be happy to be able to live this incredible life. So is dropping the jack planned obsolescence? No, it’s not, it’s progress, it needs to be well managed for the present and future of mankind.
What do you think?