Will Apple products ever load Flash?

"No to Apple's compulsory consumption": Why the petition against "planned obsolescence" is absolute nonsense

It is correct, with examples such as the light bulb or printers that have built in a meter and at some point no longer work, one can actually demonstrate “planned obsolescence”.

But in my opinion, submitting this accusation to Apple is, if not naive, at least premature and shows ignorance of the company's current products. Accordingly, I consider the petition “Stop the planned obsolescence of your devices” to be a lot, but not justified.

Consumer criticism

Just as Ulrich Beck once exposed environmental criticism as social criticism in sociology, in this case the initiators and certainly some of the supporters can also be accused of being dissatisfied with Apple's products. The petition in this case is just an expression of dissatisfaction. So am I, but the accusation that Apple uses software to deliberately slow down devices cannot be ignored. Better still, it cannot be substantiated by a few bold demands from the petitioners.

Updates are aggressively marketed to protect the customer

The most outrageous argument under the petition is that Apple would “aggressively market” its updates so that customers would have to buy new devices. The iPhone manufacturer releases a major iOS update once a year, and several small ones throughout the year. All of them close security loopholes and some include new functions or improve old ones. By comparison, Adobe Flash is such a popular target of attacks that the company is “forced” to release an update to its Flash Player almost every week.

Let's turn the tables and see what would happen if Apple only brought out an update every 5 years? Should hackers find security holes during this time, customers would be victims of Apple's inaction for the next few years.

It is correct that after a while Apple switches off the signature server so that "older" software versions can no longer be installed. That too has the reason to protect the customer. It was only recently announced that this very problem with Android means that hackers can read encrypted content themselves if the security gap has already been closed. Why? If the vulnerability is closed by means of an update, hackers can simply install an older version and are able to access the users' data again.

There are statistics on it, not from financial analysts or market research companies, but from IT forensicists and specialists, which provide information about the landscape of malware and security gaps. As Apple products became more popular, so did the number of attacks on Apple products. But even if there is malware, as a customer of Apple you are well protected in the vast majority of cases, without any action on your part. On the contrary, if you deliberately override Apple's protective mechanisms, you become a target for attackers.

Apple doesn't always make devices slower, but tries to optimize them

The accusation that software updates "deliberately" slow down devices is incorrect. It is true that in the past, some Apple devices were not as fast as they were before a software update. But to assume Apple intent is pure populism. On the contrary, the company strives to offer all users a solid user experience for as long as possible. On the one hand, some functions of operating systems are only offered gradually. Sometimes there are technical reasons for this: 3D Touch or Apple Pay cannot be offered on older iPhones because their hardware simply does not allow it. On the other hand, Apple has not integrated functions on older devices, precisely to avoid this problem and to slow them down.

But a look back at the “more recent” past also shows - Apple was founded in 1976 - that Cupertino is very keen to save resources and optimize processes. The company reduced the download volume on its last two operating system updates. This roughly coincided with the introduction of the new Swift programming language.

What happened during that time? The operating system has been streamlined on the iPhone and iPad as well as on the Mac. It takes up less memory and makes the devices faster. Apps start faster when more memory is available.

The same thing happened at the app level. In recent years, the company has optimized the distribution of software on the devices. In the past, apps on the iPhone and iPad included all data, whether necessary or not. In the meantime, app downloads have become smaller because, in addition to the base, only platform-specific files are offered. Anyone who uses an old iPhone can be happy about it because apps use less memory. That makes the devices faster.

Incidentally, it will be even faster in the future. Because Apple is now helping developers to optimize their apps. The new Xcode 8 was presented at WWDC 2016, which gives developers a number of functions to optimize apps. Bottlenecks can be recognized and the memory consumption can be analyzed at runtime. With one click, the programmer lands exactly at the point in the code that is responsible for the bottleneck or the memory spike and can rethink his logic. Because many roads lead to Rome. However, some developers tend not to question their path.

Anyone looking at the technological development of Apple's software will find that the petitioners' allegations are insufficient.

Resource-saving platforms

Some customers are annoyed by the fact that an iPhone “only” has 2 GB of RAM (previously less) when the competition offers twice as much. The iPad Pro has 4 GB of RAM and professional CAD software can load several hundred thousand 3D objects at the same time and runs absolutely smoothly. Apple and the manufacturer Autodesk show that you can do the same tasks with a tablet that has a fraction of the power consumption of a conventional desktop system. Instead, desktop systems from other manufacturers require at least twice as much RAM and 20 times as much power for the same task. If you are unlucky and actually work on very complex objects, double the RAM on the PC may not be enough. Why is that? The fact that Apple offers ways to use resources “efficiently”.

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The same goes for all modern Apple devices. Many people say that the 12 inch MacBook is not powerful enough. The device consumes 3 to 5 watts of electricity. If you put it on, the device can even get by with just 1.5 watts. Nevertheless, you can open text editors on it, IDEs, several dozen Internet tabs, additional e-mails and more, play music in the background and of course also do video editing and edit photos. It is clear that the conversion takes “a little” longer with video editing than with a desktop Mac or other Apple laptops. The fact that the user consumes less electricity and can still do the same with it is progress that benefits the environment. However, Apple is accused of exactly the opposite in the context of the petition.

Apple doesn't want to harm the environment, it wants to preserve it

In any case, I cannot accept the accusation that Apple deliberately slows down devices in order to harm the environment. The efficiency of modern platforms is enormous. Does Apple want to checkout? Naturally. As a commercial enterprise and employer of more than 115,000 people worldwide, you want to make money.

Depending on the manufacturer, a "kettle" consumes up to 1000 or even 2000 times as much energy as a 12 inch MacBook. Despite EU requirements, vacuum cleaners also consume significantly more. But Brexit was a good example of how some participants in the affluent society - pardon me - “give a shit” on the environment. In the election campaign for Brexit, it was even advertised that the EU does not want to dictate how much electricity your vacuum cleaner should consume.

Background on Apple's recycling and environmental protection

All that glitters is not gold. But Apple is trying hardest. In order not to get caught up in Apple's marketing material, you should find out more elsewhere:

Some of the petitioners and some of the signatories, I believe, tick the same way. It must be a mixture of avarice and ignorance that brings this charge to light. They still want to use the large CRT monitor in 20 years' time, with the energy consumption of which one could operate several hundred modern screens. The environment plays a subordinate role. Instead, they accuse Apple for bringing devices onto the market that are more powerful and consume less electricity in order to harm the environment. Bearing in mind that Apple can now recycle the vast majority of its iPhone.

The iPhone manufacturer relies on renewable energies and uses packaging made of 99 percent recycled material. Employees in supplier companies get the chance for school and professional training through Apple, which they might otherwise never have gotten.