Apple’s Greg Joswiak dismisses planned obsolescence as ‘craziest thinking in the world’

Daring Fireball writer John Gruber sat down with Apple’s VP of marketing Greg Joswiak and VP of AR/VR engineering Mike Rockwell at the California Theatre on Tuesday for a live recording of his The Talk Show podcast,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

Announced during the WWDC keynote, was the feature that “iOS 12 more quickly ramps up peak performance when needed for a faster and more responsive experience on all supported devices, going all the way back to the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, both released in 2013,” Rossignol reports. “Gruber expressed that part of Apple’s emphasis on those performance improvements on stage must be to counter the notion of planned obsolescence, or the idea that it deliberately slows down older iPhones with software updates to drive customers to upgrade to the latest and greatest models. ”

Rossignol reports, “Joswiak quickly dismissed the idea as ‘about the craziest thinking in the world,’ and talked up iOS 12 as a ‘really good update.'”

Read more and watch the video in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course it wasn’t planned obsolescence, just poorly communicated and implemented enough to give that impression, or, in other words, just “about the craziest thinking in the world” on Apple’s part.

There’s no excusing this one. Apple deserves the ongoing headache. Hopefully, when all is said and done and paid, the company will have learned an important lesson about transparency and communication with their customers.MacDailyNews, February 27, 2018

You can see why some think that Apple wanted to keep what they were doing a secret. If people knew that a $79 battery replacement would give them an iPhone that performed like it did on day one, a meaningful percentage would take that option versus buying a new iPhone. Now that it’s just $29 this year, that percentage will naturally increase.

Then again, as Hanlon’s razor states: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Apple’s made up of people. People are imperfect. We’ll take Apple’s word for it that they “always wanted… customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible” and that they “have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” — MacDailyNews, January 3, 2018

Again, it’s Apple’s lack of communication that is the problem here. If Apple had clearly explained what was going on in the software, we’d know to recommend a battery replacement when users complained their older iPhones were getting “slow.” As it was, we were pretty much left to assume that the processor/RAM wasn’t up to par with demands of newer iOS releases and we’d naturally recommend getting a new iPhone.

Just yesterday, we had a friend complain that his iPhone 6 was acting “slow” and we knew to recommend a battery replacement (even though he instead opted to get himself an iPhone X on our strong recommendation).MacDailyNews, December 29, 2017

As has almost always been the case with Apple, unfortunately, transparency comes later, not sooner, and usually as a reaction to negative publicity. A simple Knowledge Base article would have preempted all of this Reddit sleuthing and the attendant handwringing and erroneous presumptions.MacDailyNews, December 20, 2017

Batterygate: Apple offers $50 refund for iPhone batteries replaced in 2017 – May 23, 2018
Apple facing complaints over its iPhone battery-replacement pledge – May 3, 2018
Batterygate: Israeli agency investigating Apple over handling of iPhone slowdown – April 10, 2018
Batterygate: Dozens of iPhone throttling lawsuits filed against Apple look set for consolidation – February 27, 2018
Apple now faces more than 60 class action lawsuits over iPhone batterygate – February 26, 2018
Getting a new iPhone battery is often a frustrating, weeks-long process – February 20, 2018
Apple tells U.S. Senate company may offer rebates for battery purchases amid iPhone blowback – February 6, 2018
Apple previews iOS 11.3 with new battery health features, ability to turn processor throttling on and off, and more – January 24, 2018
Tim Cook: ‘Maybe we should have been clearer’ over throttling iPhones with aging batteries – January 18, 2018
China consumer group seeks answers from Apple over batterygate – January 16, 2018
South Korean consumer group considering criminal case against Apple over iPhone batterygate – January 11, 2018
Republican Senator John Thune, Chair of the U.S. Commerce Committee, has some questions for Apple over throttling old iPhones – January 10, 2018
French prosecutor launches probe into Apple planned obsolescence – January 8, 2018
Apple’s design decisions and iPhone batteries – January 8, 2018
Apple now faces over two dozen lawsuits for ‘purposefully’ or ‘secretly’ slowing down older iPhones – January 5, 2018
Why aging batteries don’t slow down Android phones like Apple iPhones – January 5, 2018
Apple’s $29 replacement batteries expected to hurt new iPhone sales – January 4, 2018
How to see if Apple’s throttling your iPhone – January 4, 2018
Brazilian agency requires Apple to inform consumers on batteries – January 3, 2018
Analyst: Apple’s ‘batterygate’ solution may mean 16 million fewer iPhones sold this year – January 3, 2018
An Apple conspiracy theory blooms – January 2, 2018
Apple clarifies policy on $29 battery replacements: All iPhone 6 and later devices are eligible – January 2, 2018


    1. Gonna try iOS 12 right now! Sounds very exciting, people are reporting great things about it. I loved the WWDC keynote, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a genuine MUST-SEE event.

      Tim Cook made it very, very clear right near the start of the event that it was software only, so no AirPower, no iPhones, no Macs – that’s all coming this September – can’t wait!

      Certified by me for the sighted by SHARK certified.

  1. Absolutely its not the craziest thing in the world…. it is a common practice.. everywhere.

    But good for Apple to jump in and do some damage control… right move on highlighting the speed imporvments on old devices… . and of course VPs statment.
    What else would u expect a marketing VP to say?….. …. ” oh ya… just for our customers to know….. we plan our products based 2-3-4 etc year obsolescence cycles… we are just being honest and transparent. We want our customers to trust us, customer is number 1…”

    Ofcourse not.

  2. Apple doesn’t plan to make things obsolete. Apple merely fails to update hardware for 3 or 5 or 7 years and hopes that its customers abandon their antiquated Mac setups and rent iCloud and performance-limited thin clients from Apple going forward.

    The clear lack of message from Apple in reality is saying this: “Science, engineering, architecture, math, gaming, power users: Cook doesn’t like you, he doesn’t want you, there is nothing in his pipeline for you. We are a fashion company now and everything Apple does from now on, including the Mac, will be related to support status to sell more iOS portables.”

    If Apple doesn’t refute the above statement publicly this year, and back it up with some damn impressive Mac hardware releases within the next calendar year, then that will tell you all you need to know. Apple does believe in obsolescence. It is trying its best to obsolete the whole concept of personal computing and forcing everyone into subscriptions as hard as it can. Just like Microsoft, just like Adobe. For shame.

  3. I think if anything, Apple is probably the only company that tries to fight obsolescence. For an industry the changes so fast, the fact that the iPhone 5s has still had support up to this point says a lot about Apples position on the matter.

  4. I would make a distinction between Apple’s approach for IOS and Apple’s approach for Mac OS.

    IOS devices by their nature get replaced more frequently than MacBooks, which in turn have less longevity than desktop Mac computers. The next version of IOS will run on a 5 year old iPhone 5S, which is to be applauded, but the next version of Mac OS won’t run on a >6 year old iMac or MacBook, which is very poor.

    You might reasonably expect a Mac to be a fully useable computer for at least 8-10 years for non-demanding purposes and a MacBook to be good for 5-8 years. Once a Mac can no longer interoperate with our IOS devices, it’s no longer fully useable and is therefore obsolete, even though it’s still in working condition. It’s not environmentally friendly to prematurely dispose of a reliably working computer because of an absence of updated software. Macs should be supported for around twice as long as IOS devices, but at the moment, both are supported for about six years.

  5. Sorry MDN think you are off base here, while Apple could have handled this better all you need to do is look at the facts. What is the average life span of an Apple product vs the competition? Apple has always made products that people used longer than their competition because the focus on quality.

  6. No? No planned obsolescence?

    I’m typing this on a Mac Pro. A 2008 Mac Pro, a 10 year old machine. It’s got 20GB RAM, 2x 2.8GHz quad core Xeon processors, and it’s “obsolete”.

    Sure it is.

    This thing is still fast, it’s running on a homebrew fusion drive, 512GB SSD and 4TB HD. It’s got another 9TB of internal storage. It’s not obsolete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s running 10.11 right now, because I’ve not hacked 10.12 or 10.13 onto it yet.

    It’s insane that it won’t run a supported install of a current OS. It has more RAM than a current MacBook Pro. It has more processing power than some of the current shipping Mac Pros.

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