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Inbuilt obsolescence June 6, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting post here from Slate.com on mobile phones. It’s not difficult for me to identify with Henry Grabar’s thoughts on the iPhone SE, the latest addition to the iPhone range and one which is unlike most contemporary phones adopting a design that is well used and well known, that of the previous iPhone 5.

…having a new phone that doesn’t proclaim its newness is, well, new. For 20 years, cellphones—more than cars, TVs, or any other consumer product—have been our most prominent, physical marker of technological progress. Having an old, well-kept watch or bicycle is cool. Hardly anyone has a vintage cellphone.

As it happens I had my iPhone 3GS for six or seven years just abouts. Part of that was a reaction to the crushing mobile arms race. What did I need a phone for? Well, texting, the odd phone call and a bit of browsing. Otherwise, not a whole lot else.

I’ve now fled the Apple ecosphere to Fairphone – and in one way I’m happy with that. The mobile will last for presumably as long as that 3GS. But in another being outside the ecosphere, despite using other Apple devices on a continual basis, well there’s a real dissonance and slight inconvenience with Android. It’s not impossible to bridge the gap, but it takes a little longer.

So to see Apple actually rework a classic design is indeed new. Grabar suggests that it is a design classic, almost a platonic form of the phone. Perhaps it is. The last few years have seen dozens of ideas thrown at consumers with near increasing rapidity trying to push matters forward. But what if the form is just about there, that there is no ‘new’ form waiting in the wings that is substantially or substantively better than those that have gone before?


1. Tomboktu - June 6, 2016

A post about obselesence and phones… FairPhone?


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