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Thread: Planned Obsolescence

  1. #1
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    Default Planned Obsolescence

    Recently I updated my cell phone to a newer version because people kept asking why I had such an old version of it(iPhone 3 to an iPhone 4) I then decided to changed it. Went down to to the local Best Buy where I had notice that the iPod I purchased less than a year ago was already on sale and was replaced by something just slightly better. The exact same thing had occurred with my television, printer, camera, and game systems. I then started searching on the internet on why items break so frequently and why new version were released so quickly (most of the time within six months of the original) and why we have to replacement them repeatedly. I have known the definition of obsolescence for a while but never stopped to think about planned obsolescence. So here is the wiki definition of it.

    Planned Obsolescence- in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time. Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.

    It all began back in the 1920's and 30's with light bulb, and has slowly spread to different parts of our industry whether it is fashion, software, electronics, furniture etc...
    If you still fail to see planned obsolescence then just look around your room, how old is your television set? Why did you replace it? When do you think that you will get another one? Why? How long will you have that one before another you want is released?
    Now think about this in different perspective, such as textbooks, computers, cars, clothes, cell phones and ask yourself all the questions above. (Personally textbooks are extremely annoying since I cannot sell them back and I literally spend over 1000 a year on them)

    Must we really replace something the second a slight newer slight better version becomes available? Some of you might STILL doubt planned obsolescence however here is a link to light bulb which has lasted for over 110 years, now go to Walmart or something and you will see light bulbs which brag about having a lifetime of 1000 hours or even 10,000. If you're smart you might even get LED light bulbs which may last you 100,000 (you won't easily find these type of light bulbs) I have also attached another link here it is just a small YouTube documentary which explains the planned obsolescence of electronics in much better detail and the repercussion of such vast e-waste and usage of material but I digress, my question to is are you is:

    Are you aware that those material things you have come to value so much and take such pride in have become designed for the dump? Does it bother you? Do you think that making planned obsolescence obsolete will be disastrous to the American way of life(of the consumer based American economy)? And do you even care?



    Do note that is JUST up to 2006 before the iPhone or iPad etc...


    I would have posted this in Serious talk forum, but I thought I could get better informed of different user's opinion in this forum.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    While there are companies hell bent on making products that will be obsolete in a few months there are also plenty working on free versions of software or music or whatever so I'm not too muffed. I generally just spend money on major things and leave it at that. I don't need the newest gadget and get by just fine. I never shell out money for an ipod if I have one that works for example.
    This is a Sig. It's horribly out of date.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    A lot of these items are still usable in their primary fashion for years (iPhone as a phone, iPod as a music player). Personally, planned obsolescence doesn't worry me as I like my devices getting better and better and the economy would take a major kick in the balls if everything lasted forever. Who's gonna buy new furniture if their old stuff lasts forever? Who's gonna buy a new gaming device if all the new stuff works on the old ones permanently.
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    It's not just the company at fault. It's also the people.. "We want this.. we dislike this feature.. add this.. make this a different color. We want a newer version of this.. update that while you're at it."

    So the people in todays time are just as guilty. And companies make things that don't last? I have my 2nd gen ipod touch that works pretty fine besides some audio problems. Despite being ran over by a mini van a year and a half ago. The audio problem is recent and came from a aux cable that was loosely fit. It ruined my truck stereo system and a few months later ruined my left headphone line inside the headphone jack on my ipod. which was a bad aux cable not a bad ipod. If it was made to not last it would've been shattered and unplayable the minute it got ran over.
    Last edited by Rainbow Crash; 07-05-2011 at 10:30 AM.


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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    And people wonder why I hate Apple. Not only do they shovel minor revisions on the market as "upgrades" but having a dedicated MP3 player was worthless almost instantaneously with the release of the first iPood. If I actually want to listen to music and can't use my laptop I have a Sony Reader and a PSP that do the same exact function among a number of functions the iPoods suck at.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Technology is rapidly changing, so I'm not surprised. Our current TV is 11 years old. I don't think that an upgrade makes another device obsolete. Sometimes new features actually are created.

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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Well duh! Just as our technological advance is pasing at an exponentialy high rate so does the filthyness of the industry. Let me demostrate the typical industrialist's brain responses to money:

    MOAAR / today = Enough
    MOAAR² / tomorrow = Enough
    (MOAAAAR²)² / after tomorrow = Enough
    ---------------------------------
    MOAAR / after tomorrow = BANKRUPCY, WE'RE FINISHED!!!


    Anyway, what they throw at us as the "Latest In Cutting Edge..." is actually old technology that was firstly discovered around ten years ago, cancelled (because they first had to sell out their old tech) and/or employed by the military, then brought on the public market after 10 years of dormancy.


  9. #8
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    Post Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Furore View Post
    A lot of these items are still usable in their primary fashion for years (iPhone as a phone, iPod as a music player). Personally, planned obsolescence doesn't worry me as I like my devices getting better and better and the economy would take a major kick in the balls if everything lasted forever. Who's gonna buy new furniture if their old stuff lasts forever? Who's gonna buy a new gaming device if all the new stuff works on the old ones permanently.
    That was not my point at all, I did not say anything about people updating technology because the newer thing were actually better at all. My entire post was to show how people have been trained to buy something just because they give a new paint job and make there by making their previous version obsolete. Sure we do have true advances in technology all the time, but take the Windows how many version of your OS have been released since you have started using a computer?
    Here are just the Windows that I can remember
    95
    98
    ME
    2000
    XP
    Vista
    7
    Next?


    Sure have a huge difference between 98 and 7, but what about 95 and 98 and ME? Moore's law states that we can double the amount of transistors about every two years. Big Business has turned this upside down has made thing 'obsolete' whenever they release a new product. Yes I'll agree that we have new technological advances almost literally everyday but should we stop there, as soon as a slightly faster processor created should it be released? Why create false sense of our items being obsolete? Most of us have been conditioned to keep consuming and planned obsolescence is a very effective tool.

    Don't believe me? Take a product that was release two or three years ago, if something is wrong with take it to be repaired (i.e. printer) I am sure most of the time they will simply tell you to buy a new one, it is going to cheaper to replace (vs repairing the one you have) and it will so much better.

    Quote Originally Posted by blueangel06661 View Post
    It's not just the company at fault. It's also the people.. "We want this.. we dislike this feature.. add this.. make this a different color. We want a newer version of this.. update that while you're at it."

    So the people in todays time are just as guilty. And companies make things that don't last? I have my 2nd gen ipod touch that works pretty fine besides some audio problems.
    Exactly, but obsolescence has become the American way of life. For generations we have taught that extra money or time should be used consuming, people ACTUALLY say that shopping is a hobby, something they do unnecessarily and purely for entertainment. We as American have a ridiculous
    marginal propensity to consume as in we view any extra income as an opportunity to consume(screw saving, investment, charity etc) more and more, whether is due to a barrage of advertising, peer pressure, or boredom.

    And about your iPod that is because people stopped one of Apple's planned obsolescence ideas (battery life) with a class action lawsuit. Who knows how long you would have had your iPod if the battery problems had continued.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Technology is rapidly changing, so I'm not surprised. Our current TV is 11 years old. I don't think that an upgrade makes another device obsolete. Sometimes new features actually are created.
    Maybe not but we are conditioned to think that it is. It's not just the creation of new features, but the diminished durability of goods things do not last as they should so they have to be replaced. Or even with the advertisement we believe that things should be replaced the moment whenever the latest thing is released.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Mc-DJ-Doom View Post
    Well duh! Just as our technological advance is pasing at an exponentialy high rate so does the filthyness of the industry. Let me demostrate the typical industrialist's brain responses to money:

    MOAAR / today = Enough
    MOAAR² / tomorrow = Enough
    (MOAAAAR²)² / after tomorrow = Enough
    ---------------------------------
    MOAAR / after tomorrow = BANKRUPCY, WE'RE FINISHED!!!


    Anyway, what they throw at us as the "Latest In Cutting Edge..." is actually old technology that was firstly discovered around ten years ago, cancelled (because they first had to sell out their old tech) and/or employed by the military, then brought on the public market after 10 years of dormancy.
    Exactly thank you!

    People don't know that all the features currently on the iPad 2 was available before they released the first version of iPad. Same things with iPhone. (Apple is particularly bad about this, just Google it)







    Sure I do not mind sending the money for newer things, but we are not just thinking how it is effecting us, because of this we are depleting scarce resources and creating an unpresidented amount of waste (e-waste in other countries)
    As one of the most advanced civilizations in the world, shouldn't we be able to find a way to keep our economy a float without all these side effect which we inflict on the rest of the world?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jose View Post
    Maybe not but we are conditioned to think that it is. It's not just the creation of new features, but the diminished durability of goods things do not last as they should so they have to be replaced. Or even with the advertisement we believe that things should be replaced the moment whenever the latest thing is released.
    This is why I buy cheap electronics, and stick with them as long as possible. My only real complaint about electronics these days is that the hardware isn't as interchangeable as it ought to be. All devices should have interchangeable rechargeable battery packs. Small devices which need small usb ports should have standardized ports.

    Durability and obsolescence are not the same thing.

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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Durability and obsolescence are not the same thing.

    No one is claiming they are, but if something breaks most people will replace it. By that logic if you design something to only last a year rather than designing to last for 10 years you increase the demand for it (at least tenfold). Planned obsolescence does not mean they are designing products to instantly become obsolete but rather they are designing to break, thrown away and replaced much sooner than they should (could) be.

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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    By reading the comments here.. planned obsolescence is another term for making garbage.
    Products, whether made through that process or not, will always have a life cycle. From their introduction to their decline.
    Most of the stuff people buy from the store will eventually become trash for the most part. So remember to recycle people.
    ....

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jose View Post
    That was not my point at all, I did not say anything about people updating technology because the newer thing were actually better at all. My entire post was to show how people have been trained to buy something just because they give a new paint job and make there by making their previous version obsolete.
    It may not have been your point, but it's exactly why we have planned obsolescence. I've always been a hands on kind of guy and as such, two of my electives in high school were Design and Technology and Design and Technology: Multimedia (covering software design). If various industries can't make regular money, they can't afford to release products we consume. There has to be a balance as products not lasting long at all will make consumers wary of purchasing from a company in future, but if they last too long there's less demand for future products meaning less sales and less money.

    I do agree about all the waste though, we also spent time learning about ethics such as using environmentally friendly and recycled materials (complete with an excursion to a reverse cycle dump leading to assignment based on creating and documenting the creation of a product or innovation made from recycled materials. It's really too bad there's no decent ethical guidelines set, just a few environmental organisations bringing misconduct to the public's attention should they choose to give a damn.

    I have to laugh at the Apple hate from people though, EVERY major commercial organisation does it to some extent. The only real exceptions I've seen are from smaller companies passionate about their products - like those that make their own take on gaming handhelds (e.g. Pandora), specialised tobacco products and in some cases small furniture making businesses.
    victoria aut mors

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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Furore View Post
    It may not have been your point, but it's exactly why we have planned obsolescence.
    Not exactly, the entire reason we have planned obsolescence is for the sole purpose of increasing demand and forcing people contribute the economy. Not all items retain that ability, some printers have software built into them which enables it to work for only so long then it will report an error message rendering it useless. In fact, there is freeware which exist that can reset the count on the software and allow the printer to start working again. Most people do not know it so their first solution is taking to it be repaired. Repairing it might cost $50 while replacing it could (at WalMart) cost you as little as $20. A simple cost benefit analysis and most people will end up buying the new printer. People have three options available to them but only know of two and it is almost always to going to be cheaper to replace than buying a new one.


    If various industries can't make regular money, they can't afford to release products we consume. There has to be a balance as products not lasting long at all will make consumers wary of purchasing from a company in future, but if they last too long there's less demand for future products meaning less sales and less money.
    Oh really? Exactly what do you consider enough money for these operation? With the wages they play their offshore employs it cost almost next to nothing to produce those items. The only thing they are really paying for is the cost of extraction, the cost of production is completely minimized thanks to globalization. Think about it is all about externalizing the cost as much as possible. Cost of distribution is actually more than production in most cases. When you look at this way it cost almost nothing for companies to produce items yet they sell them at ridiculous prices (in some case) and ultimately designed for the dump so the linear process can occur again.
    An easy fix for the lack of demand when making items designed to last, is making them with a modular design in mind. That would greatly reduce the amount of e-waste (which is currently about 50 million tons annually) Not to mention stress of things breaking and having to replace them.

    I do agree about all the waste though, we also spent time learning about ethics such as using environmentally friendly and recycled materials (complete with an excursion to a reverse cycle dump leading to assignment based on creating and documenting the creation of a product or innovation made from recycled materials. It's really too bad there's no decent ethical guidelines set, just a few environmental organisations bringing misconduct to the public's attention should they choose to give a damn.
    Hmm, maybe. Thing is in this country at least we do not have an extended producer responsibility laws and therefore we are not really pushing companies to take responsibility of all they waste they have created. Basically we are pushing for recycling by completely shifting it on the consumer end and giving the companies who created the mess a free pass. They created the mess, they should be responsible!

    I have to laugh at the Apple hate from people though, EVERY major commercial organisation does it to some extent. The only real exceptions I've seen are from smaller companies passionate about their products - like those that make their own take on gaming handhelds (e.g. Pandora), specialised tobacco products and in some cases small furniture making businesses.
    Maybe, but Apple also sells itself as green innovative brand. Just look here and here, so I guess on Apple's part it is just hypocrisy people really do not like being lied to you know?
    Last edited by Jose; 07-06-2011 at 11:41 PM. Reason: :D

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Though they are trying to make me replace my things with newer things I, for one, will never fall for this ploy. I'm completely unconcerned with whether or not my technology is the newest. My TV is older. It's bulky but it functions and I wouldn't think about replacing it for anything. On the other hand, I do wish to upgrade my iPod but mostly for the fact that the one I have is terrible and useless. This fact is a perk of being a hippie. :3

  16. #15
    Senior Member Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna has a reputation beyond repute Ezza Obsuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    i dont really care with keeping up with the fad or whatever. like, my boyfriend for example. even if he sometimes have a hard time with touchscreen thingies, he still likes them. on the other hand, with me, i prefer mobiles with keypads, like nokia e72 which is my phone right now. not the latest version. but really it does what i want it to do. it is capable and im pretty much okay with that.
    as long as it has a cam, can read an ebook, i can put an app, can send an sms, can call, has video, blutooth, sounds, etc, i'd stick with it. unless it gets really wrecked, beyond repair or there comes out a new mobile that does far better things than my current one, i'll stick with it. even if it's 2020.

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  17. #16
    Senior Member Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna has a reputation beyond repute Aleyna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    I'm not really a materialistic person, and I barely spend my money on anything unless it's yummy food. I'm aware of obsolescence in things, and that's why I take my time to buy something, especially if it's technology, because I want to hear a lot of people's opinions about the quality of the item before I buy it. I want to buy something that will last me awhile so that I won't have to buy something like it again soon.

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  18. #17
    SES Member Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie has a reputation beyond repute Haoie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Basically it's making good products, but not good enough to last that long.

    Go figure, with a capitalist system.
    If each mistake being made is a new one, then progress is being made.

  19. #18
    Junior Member almeeraN is on a distinguished road almeeraN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Seems like planned obsolescence is happening mostly with electronics. They'll drip feed new features in to make you keep buying. I believe that certain actions should be done. It can only be solved with nothing but laws banning the practice.
    Last edited by almeeraN; 09-01-2012 at 04:22 AM.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Planned Obsolescence

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleyna View Post
    I'm not really a materialistic person, and I barely spend my money on anything unless it's yummy food. I'm aware of obsolescence in things, and that's why I take my time to buy something, especially if it's technology, because I want to hear a lot of people's opinions about the quality of the item before I buy it. I want to buy something that will last me awhile so that I won't have to buy something like it again soon.
    I agree with Aleyna on this.

    It's not necessarily a bad thing if you want to spend your money on gadgets, but I'd rather buy nice food. Also, I survey items before I buy them. If people say the items are fine, then I'd want to buy them. Also, I care about the functions. If they have features that I want, then I'll consider buying them. But not unless the old one that I'm using, for example my phone, is not working anymore. I don't spend a lot of money on technology. It's not because I don't want to, I just don't need it. I don't really care about the gadget. But I'd buy it if it's necessary.

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