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A person takes a photo with an iPhone before the start of the keynote presentation of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference on the campus of Apple’s headquarters in California. Photo / AP
I bought a brand new iPhone13 last month, and it’s bloody fantastic. So powerful. So beautiful. The best phone I’ve ever owned. I can’t wait to throw it away and get the new
one. The iPhone 14 isn’t available yet, but I already want it. It’s not the advanced features that attract me. I don’t even know what they are.
The reason I and millions worldwide because this new phone is much more pathetic than that. We are excited because it has a higher number in its name — a 14 when mine is only a 13. The announcement of an iPhone 14 makes the 13 feel less special. Soon it won’t be the latest one, creating powerful desire in the weak. The 13 does more than anyone could rightly expect from a phone. That’s good enough for now. It won’t be in September when there’s a 14.
Planned obsolescence has been working on idiots like me for at least 100 years. In the 1920s, the American automotive market hit saturation point. Cars lasted a long time back then. Once you had one, you didn’t need a new one for another 10 or 15 years. Alfred P Sloan Jr, an executive at General Motors, decided the best way to get people to buy cars they didn’t need was to release annual model changes with the following year in their name.
In 1922 Chevrolet restyled the body covering of a nine-year-old vehicle and called it the 1923. They experienced a massive spike in sales. Henry Ford hated the idea of model year changes. He focused on design integrity, engineering simplicity and quality production scaling. Huge mistake. In 1923 Ford was by far the biggest seller of automobiles in the US. GM quickly surpassed them because people want the new thing, with the new number, not the thing they need.
Apple became the world’s first US$3 trillion company during intraday trading on January 3, 2022. It has a new iPhone launch in September. Many people who already have great phones that are going well are looking forward to upgrading up one number.
We have out-of-control inflation in our country. Many families are looking to cut back on unnecessary purchases. But how do we curb our powerful desires?
William B. Irvine is a professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and the author of A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt, and The Guide to The Good Life.
Professor Irvine, why do we desire expensive things we don’t need?
“You’re wired by your evolution never to be satisfied with what you have because your ancestors who sat around easily satisfied didn’t make it through many days. While we have outgrown our survival wiring, we are left with a phenomenon called hedonic adaption You really want something. You buy it and enjoy it for a short while, but soon you take it for granted, and it stops bringing you joy, so you look for something new. . You think the next thing, the new thing, the new version, will bring you happiness. It won’t for long.”
So how do we stop the cycle?
“This is where I believe negative visualization can help. Give yourself a moment to imagine being without the thing already in your life. It has a remarkable effect. You realize, gosh, I am lucky to have it. Look at it; imagine it broken, lost or stolen. This way, you can get back the feeling you had when you first got it. place. You can learn to want what you already have if you simply imagine it gone.”
I am writing and researching this article on my iPhone 13 while it sends music streamed from the internet to the speakers in my home. It’s an amazing piece of technology. I couldn’t do anything with the family phone when I was a kid. It was plugged into the wall, and my sisters were always on it. My current one is amazing. The screen isn’t even smashed yet. Looking at it now, imagining it gone, I feel grateful to have it. So screw you, iPhone 14. I will love and appreciate my 13 with all my heart for as long as I can. So, another 12 to 18 months at a stretch.