In The Story of Electronics, Annie Leonard explains how today's electronic gadgets are "designed for the dump" -- made to be used for a little while, then thrown away so you can buy the next year's model. And as I pointed out in an article, some Android smartphones seem especially dump-worthy, as they're confusing and underpowered and not really worth holding onto.
Not all smartphones are like this. I'm personally an Android fan, and I love my HTC Aria that I bought last year. But what about iPhone owners? The iPhone's still the most popular smartphone, and easily outsells any one Android device. How long will you be able to hold onto yours, and what'll get you to buy a new one?
The upgrade cycle
Apple fans are stereotyped as being sheep, who drink the Kool-Aid given out by Steve Jobs and rush to buy each new Apple device. The irony, though, is that Apple products are often better-designed and better supported than anything else on the market. I had to reinstall everything on my phone and use a Windows app, to upgrade it to the Froyo version of Android. But in the time since I purchased my smartphone, iPhone owners have seen numerous iOS updates. These upgrades add new features for free, and increase the value of the iPhone you already own.
The thing is, after awhile Apple stops supporting its older devices. iOS simply becomes too advanced to run on older, slower iPhones, and so if you're still using one you're stuck on the old version, the way that I am with my Android phone. That not only means no more new features for free, it also means certain apps will stop working.
A closer look
If you don't mind a bit of technical jargon, Marco Arment, the developer of the popular Instapaper app, wrote an article about how and why he's planning to "break" his app on older iPhones.
First he shows graphs and charts, which show that very few of his customers are using his app on older devices anymore; fewer than 5% are using devices older than the iPhone 3GS, which was introduced in 2009. And fewer than 1 in 200 customers are using first-generation iPhones and iPods, which will no longer be able to use his app soon.
Next, he explains why he's breaking compatibility with older devices: "Development and testing of the new release with iOS 4's luxuries has been more productive and efficient than ever. My code is cleaner, I've deleted a lot of old hacks, and I'm able to do a lot of new features with far less code (like gesture recognizers)." In a nutshell, using Apple's new technology makes things easier on him as an app developer, just as it makes things more convenient for iPhone owners. And that productivity is worth more to him, and to Apple, than continuing to support the 2007 iPhone.
Four years, tops?
In the footnotes, Marco explains how he hopes not to lose iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod Touch owners until late 2012. That gives them -- at least for his app -- a lifespan of roughly four years.
Even before that time, though, you'll start to notice new apps coming out that won't work on your phone, just because it's not powerful enough. And if you bought it on contract, you'll have been offered an upgrade after only one or two years; even a $199 iPhone 4 is only as expensive as three months' wireless fees.
If you're attached to your smartphone already -- or you're short on cash, or concerned about the environment -- an upgrade might not be such a tempting prospect. If you do decide to purchase a new phone, however, consider recycling or donating your old one. The Story of Electronics' website has helpful links, that will show you the most environmentally conscious way to recycle your old iPhone.
Just remember that the greenest phone is the one you already have ... and the second-greenest is the one that you love so much that you don't part with it, 'till it's worn out.
From : news.yahoo
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