For me, Apple products have always been a good investment due to the lifespan of their machines. I haven’t had a Mac that’s been usable for less then five years. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t upgraded, but I’ve handed the machine down to family and friends when I bought a new machine, often converting them to Mac users. And we are talking about the company that gone through more major transitions than most. OS 9 to Mac OS X, PowerPC to Intel, 32-bit to 64-bit. And they have always made sure to make the older machines usable for years. But you still ended up in the situation realizing that it was time to upgrade to get better performance. And it was you who took that decision.
But the last couple of years Apple has slowly started to shrink down that timespan. And many of those features was not removed because of a technical reason, but to force you to buy a new machine. Anyone else bought the first gen Intel MacBook Pro? No Lion for you!
Lifetime of an expensive product, now 2 years?
I’ve been using my first generation iPad for two years, and become a total convert to using it as a replacement for a laptop in many areas. I dutifully upgraded to iOS 5 when it became available and my iPad turned into a constantly crashing gadget. Checking the logs revealed that the OS force quit apps mostly because of lack of memory. Checking the Apple Forums quickly showed that I was not alone in my predicament. So one wonders, did Apple really test the first gen machine properly with iOS 5? Yeah, they made a mistake just putting 512MB internal memory in the thing, but you fix your mistakes don’t you?
The next version of iOS, version 6 won’t work at all on the first gen iPad, making it a dead product. App developers are really quick at using the new functions and APIs available in newer app versions, thus making it impossible to keep the first iPad up to date. Should two years be the time an Apple computer turns into an expensive door stopper?
Artificial restrictions not based on actual hardware limitations
Reading the latest news on iOS 6, one of the things that I’ve been looking forward to is FaceTime over 3G. But guess what? Apple decided not to include that feature on the iPhone 4. I bought my iPhone 4 a month before the release of the 4S. What’s that, like six months ago? Is it because you need a faster chip or some other hardware restraint? No. Jailbraked iPhone 4 phones can do it without a problem. So it’s just removed to force people to upgrade to the 4S. And for me, that’s a sign of a company that screws their customers for more money, not trying to make their past and present products the best they can be. And that’s not the Apple I’ve been working with my entire life.
You get a fan base by releasing cool and useful gadgets and not trying to screw your customer.