On September 9 Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a press event and Bloomberg News reports that this will coincide with a launch of the next generation of iPhones. When we look at previous years and notice that the company made us used to seeing a new iPhone every autumn, we can say that in all likelihood they have another smartphone up their sleeve.
The higher model number always goes together with a new housing, improved quality and reinvented applications. Although the iPhone 6 remains shrouded in mystery and its new features are subject of rumors, we can be certain that the new smartphone will be marketed as a much better version of its predecessor, probably until next year.
According to Steve Shankland, a CNET writer, the smartphone industry has moved from an era of revolutionary improvement to a much blander era of incremental refinement. It means we should not expect a breakthrough invention but just another product of the same quality with slight alterations.
Apple's hopes and prospects for success are high which is indicated by the increased sale of iPhones every year during an opening weekend. Launching a new product every year seems to be a part of a well-judged marketing policy aimed at increasing the company's profits. A new shiny phone makes an almost irresistible buy and may also be a luring social status symbol. In the era of consumerism and prevalence of I-want-it-I-get-it attitude one may not have time to stop for a while and ask
themselves an important question: do I really need this? Not even because of the financial aspect or cluttering our life with unnecessary possessions, but for the sake of the environment.
Why should we be concerned about old electronics? It is estimated that the over 140 million cell phone users in the US change their phones every 14 to 18 months. Just imagine that pile of unwanted cell phones, not to mention other electronic appliances. The United Nation's Step initiative, which was established to deal with the world's growing e-waste crisis, predicts that the global volume of electronic waste is expected to grow by 33% in the next three years when it will weigh the equivalent of eight great Egyptian pyramids.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that only a small percentage of e-waste will be sent to recyclers and recycled the proper way. Most of the obsolete equipment is either dumped or burned, not without impact on the environment. Electronic appliances are packed with some very toxic substances, such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead or brominated flame retardants. Once they get to a landfill, in most cases in one of the developing countries overseas, they leak into the environment polluting soil and drinking water. They can cumulate in the food chain and the biosphere thus affecting the global ecosystem and an individual's health in particular.
In the light of the afore mentioned facts, it is disappointing that many companies opt for shortsighted thinking and design and we are falling prey to planned obsolescence. Nonetheless, the ultimate decision is ours: is getting a new gadget our need or a desire fueled by advertising?
Author: Agnieszka Roszczak / pr-controlled.com ©
Photos: Apple Inc.