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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show 281

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-apple-fans-are-driven-by-pheremones dept.
Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan takes a look in the New York Times at interesting correlations between the release dates of new phones and OSes and search queries that indicate frustration with the speed of the phones that people already have. Mullainathan illustrates with graphs (and gives plausible explanations for the difference) just how different the curves are over time for the search terms "iPhone slow" and "Samsung Galaxy slow." It's easy to see with the iPhone graph especially how it could seem to users that Apple has intentionally slowed down older phones to nudge them toward upgrading. While he's careful not to rule out intentional slowing of older phone models (that's possible, after all), Mullainathan cites several factors that mean there's no need to believe in a phone-slowing conspiracy, and at least two big reasons (reputation, liability) for companies — Apple, Google, and cellphone manufacturers like Samsung — not to take part in one. He points out various wrinkles in what the data could really indicate, including genuine but innocent slowdowns caused by optimizing for newer hardware. It's an interesting look at the difference between having mere statistics, no matter how rigorously gathered, and knowing quite what they mean.
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

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  • Not Just Phones (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It seems like *everything* starts slowing down or breaking for no reason. I don't buy wear/tear as a reason when everyone and their grandmother suggests that you need to update the firmware to get it working again. If it worked fine with the old firmware, why is updating the firmware fixing the problem? WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY OLD FIRMWARE!?

    • Re:Not Just Phones (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:21AM (#47542471)

      When the old firmware has security issues like the Apple SSL bug it is a bad idea not to update the firmware.

      I do suspect they do not even bother compiling the binaries for the older architecture by switching a couple of compiler flags though. The performance difference is just too big.

      • Re: Not Just Phones (Score:5, Informative)

        by Karlt1 (231423) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:31AM (#47542523)

        I do suspect they do not even bother compiling the binaries for the older architecture by switching a couple of compiler flags though. The performance difference is just too big.

        Well your suspicion is incorrect. There is a separate build for the OS for each supported device. If you download the OS on the computer from iTunes you have to download a copy for your specific device.

        • Re: Not Just Phones (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @10:43AM (#47542985)

          The question though is whether they're instructing the compiler to *optimize* for each target platform, or if the only difference is the drivers, etc. included for the different hardware.

          • Re: Not Just Phones (Score:4, Informative)

            by Karlt1 (231423) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @12:42PM (#47543713)

            Do you really think they are so incompetent that they have a different build setup for each device and not have different optimization set? We know they have some different flags set because it has to be built for both 64 bit and 32 bit chips.

            • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Sunday July 27, 2014 @03:48PM (#47544871) Journal
              It's not necessarily a different build setup, provided the basic architecture is the same (e.g. all ARM, all MIPS, or all X86); build once for your base architecture, then package apps and drivers per-device. Yes, Apple has a 32bit build and a 64bit build, but that doesn't necessarily mean they build for every device. What's really being asked here is whether builds are being targeted for specific devices, or whether a single build is being packaged for multiple devices.

              A question worthy of being asked, rather than assuming the answer and looking down an anyone bold enough to realize the question actually deserves to be asked.
          • Re: Not Just Phones (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mikael (484) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @05:49PM (#47545793)

            My smartphone (Samsung Galaxy II) started running slowly. Even after I removed all the unused apps that I had downloaded, movies and photos, it was still running slow. Then I started looking through every single folder. It seems that the trash-cah wasn't actually emptying, and that there was a directory called ".faces" which seemed to archive every single picture that the AI software thought was a face. After those files were removed, my phone regained it's original speed.

    • by Frank B (3767007) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:29AM (#47542519)
      Yeah, come to think of it, my washer is a lot slower these days......
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @10:47AM (#47543011)

      Studies have also shown that as humans age their rate of recall also slows down, not because their brains are slower but because they have to navigate a database filled with entangled excess information. I've noticed that google searches by voice are vastly more word-accurate than siri searches by voice. But that's because google is doing something in the context of something else-- it has clues to context. Siri is trying to do free-form semantics over a much greater realm of possibilities. When you narrow Siri to a phone specific function, it does better than google. As the AI realm grows, perhaps to include sarcasm and slang, these services will require even more compute power to keep going.

      However, these days, phone services are done on back end servers, so there is no great reason they should slow down in "modern" times.

      • by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @11:54AM (#47543397)

        perhaps Apple and google will ration their back end service such that a user of an old phone only gets the equivalent compute power that was available at the time the phone was first sold. Newer phones thus pay for upgrades in the computing infrastructure, and thus are entitled to superior backend services.

      • Apple makes friendly human products, so I too, judge their products' performance as if they were people, with no reference whatsoever to the design of the underlying hardware. And as everybody who has studied human psychology knows, the hardest thing for a computer to use is locate the correct file. Therefore those old phones are probably just searching harder and harder just to find their own files on their drives. This is enough to explain everything: no need to fault Apple for this!
    • Re:Not Just Phones (Score:5, Interesting)

      by xeoron (639412) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @12:30PM (#47543623) Homepage
      My 2012 Nexus 7 was getting unbelievable slow, then I did a factory reset and it was speedy again. I, also use tools to tweak what programs run at start up, which has helped a lot, too.
  • by alen (225700) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:34AM (#47542291)

    speed is about the same too. i plan to use it until it dies or i can't get any new apps which will probably be a year or so after ios 9 ships

    • My Galaxy note still works fine too, though I no longer use it as a phone. High end hardware tends to remain useful for years.
    • by blahbooboo (839709) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:12AM (#47542443)

      You must not be very observant or extremely patient if you think iPad 2 is the same "use speed" as it was 2-3 iOS versions ago. It's tremendously slower under iOS 7...

    • by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:26AM (#47542489) Homepage

      What I find with my iPad 2 is that some websites have a lot more Javascript than they used to, and the iPad 2 isn't really fast enough to cope with them. Previously, those websites would have used flash, which didn't work at all, but generally you could still use the website without the flash plugins.

    • by Cochonou (576531)
      You can't really say the same about the iPad 1. It's much slower on iOS 5.1 than on iOS 3.2. Of course, these operating system revisions don't have the same features...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:35AM (#47542301)

    Apple, who continues to provide updates to older phones years after they're released. Some users find these new features slow down their older phones.

    Google, who doesn't have a mechanism to provide updates to almost any of their phones years after they're released. Some users find their phones slow down years after release anyway.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:39AM (#47542313) Journal
    The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

    It is a big leap, there could be various other explanations of varying degrees of malice. As the new release comes through, bug fixes for older releases are put on back burner, apps are changed and tuned to take advantage of new version run slower in older version.. Or the way graphics subsystem is organized in iOS might have different bottlenecks based on the display resolution. So as new releases come in, default sizes for buffers and hashtables might change deep in the OS slowing down older apps.

    And if you are going to postulate "Apple might slow down older versions deliberately", why can't you postulate, "Google might spike and skew the history of the past searches to make Apple look bad"?

    • It is a bit strange they did not correlate to iOS releases, but iPhone releases.

      I find it much more likely that when you upgrade to iOS+1, the new features slow your phone down. I've experienced that several times, my 3GS became "much slower" after upgrading it. The new iOS had more eye candy etc.

      But that's not the same as saying the old hardware is slower.

    • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:03AM (#47542417)

      The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

      Actually, the data was gathered to see if the professor's view that his phone had slowed down was also shared by other iPhone users; they found an interesting correlation between search spikes and new iPhone models but were careful to say that doesn't prove anything other than people perceive a slowdown when a new phone comes out. He points out some valid reasons why the Samsung / Apple data differs, primarily that Apple releases a new version of IOS with the new iPhone and thus the new iOS may not be optimized for older hardware while many Android users remain on an older version. In addition, since the Andriod device makers don't control Android they may find it cheaper not to spend a lot of time on the OS and rather invest in hardware improvements as the differentiator.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2014 @01:19PM (#47543961)

        Hypothesis one: users' irrational fetish/honeymoon-glow feeling about their old phone is brainwashed away by the advertising for the new phone model so that they're better able to perceive its slowness relative to laptops that cost the same amount.

        Hypothesis two: users aren't searching because they suddenly think their phone is slow. They always thought their phone was slow, but before there was nothing they could do about it. They're searching for reviews comparing the speed of new and old phones, to see if there's really an improvement.

        Hypothesis three: Apple and Google are somehow slowing down the phones without pushing software updates to them (since, except for Nexus, Google isn't even _able_ to time software update pushes).

        Possible journalist approaches: measure the speed of the fucking phones. Ask users why they were searching with a poll on the landing page for the search. Conduct a web poll trying to distinguish hypotheses one and two, shortly after the release of a new phone. Ask Google and Apple if they are slowing phones down, and if they have any historical phone speed measurements they would like to share so you don't have to do it yourself.

        To write the actual article: delete hypotheses one and two, then say "I have no evidence to confirm or deny [complicated hypothesis three scenario] but let me explain how it would work."

        Fuck this guy. Google and Apple deserve, and desperately need, better criticism than this.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        Even a perceived slowdown isn't a good metric as it's terribly subjective. I have an older computer that still runs just as well as when I purchased it, but it feels a lot slower since my new computer has an SSD and once you experience that, you can't go back without feeling like everything is painfully slow, never mind the extra cores and additional RAM. It was the same with dial-up internet back in the day. It didn't get any slower, but once you had used a cable or T1 connection, loading webpages on a 56k
    • by Shoten (260439) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @10:07AM (#47542699)

      The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

      It is a big leap, there could be various other explanations of varying degrees of malice. As the new release comes through, bug fixes for older releases are put on back burner, apps are changed and tuned to take advantage of new version run slower in older version.. Or the way graphics subsystem is organized in iOS might have different bottlenecks based on the display resolution. So as new releases come in, default sizes for buffers and hashtables might change deep in the OS slowing down older apps.

      And if you are going to postulate "Apple might slow down older versions deliberately", why can't you postulate, "Google might spike and skew the history of the past searches to make Apple look bad"?

      There's another problem with his theory as well; as we all know, Android phones don't get many OS updates, if any at all. Every study that checks (using real methods) the Android versions currently in use based on hardware, vendor, or general population finds that unless you bought your phone very recently, there's almost no chance you're running the latest version of Android. So how is it that Google is managing to slow down old phones with code in the new versions of Android in the first place?

      • Hasn't Google been moving more things under the umbrella of their much more restrictively licensed Google Play Services? Basically building much of the face of Android on things no longer/never part of AOSP?
        • by toejam13 (958243)
          Yes. The Android Play Service has become an abstraction layer between the kernel and the userland. It is how Google sidesteps many of the issues with old kernels still in the wild.
        • by Shoten (260439)

          Hasn't Google been moving more things under the umbrella of their much more restrictively licensed Google Play Services? Basically building much of the face of Android on things no longer/never part of AOSP?

          Not really; the problem is that every carrier has phones with Android images that are customized for them...so OS lifecycle responsibility lies ultimately with the carrier. Fragmentation is the main root cause here, along with the fact that the carriers frankly don't give a shit about pushing updates. They'd much rather that everyone buy new phones anyways...not for the profit of the phones per se, but because the less they have to straddle cellular standards (EDGE/3G/4G/LTE) the less money they have to s

    • by mhollis (727905) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @01:08PM (#47543905) Journal

      Exactly! The methodology is incorrect. And, after having spoken with the good people at AT&T (that's right, buy at the sign of the Death Star) it is the Telcos that are responsible for slow-downs, not the telephone makers.

      Why? The Telcos want you using the latest tech so that you will have a two-year contract with them that you cannot easily get out of without paying them lots of money. This keeps you "loyal." And it gets you on the treadmill of upgrades that ensures your loyalty. So what the telcos do is that they "sunset" technology that supports the older phones. And all of their upgrades on their cell towers (which usually aren't really towers that much any more) support new radios and signaling, not the old stuff.

      So blame Apple and Samsung all you want, but it's the Telcos that are responsible for slowing down the older tech, not the manufacturers.

  • experienced and best- Microsoft!

    Every time they come out with a new OS, the old one suddenly needs security "updates" at a faster and faster rate, and for some reason, more and more of them require reboots. Likewise MS Office- they change the file formats with each release to prevent compatibility with older versions and especially compatibility with freeware office suites.

    • by hawk (1151)

      >. Likewise MS Office- they change the file formats
      >with each release to prevent compatibility with older >versions and especially compatibility with freeware
      >office suites.

      Now *that* one did not originate with Microsoft. Wordstart and Word Perfect were doing that before MS Word was even released; each coul generally read/export the prior, but not current, version of the other.

      Word & Excel (except mac) were distant thirds. Then MS leveraged the dos monopoly to install them on every machine

  • Interesting musings but the first thing that came to my mind is the reverse - is Google sabotaging the search results? I know this sounds a bit strange but could it be possible that Google is being 'creative' with the raw Google Analytics data. Would it not serve Google's best interest to fudge the results to make Apple look bad right around the time of one of their releases trying to drive people to Android.

    My $0.02

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:49AM (#47542357) Homepage

    I don't think there's any reason to read a conspiracy into the situation. They release a new phone that's much faster, and then they release an updated OS with new features to take advantage of that extra computing power. Adding features that use more computing power makes the old phones seem slow.

    I'm tempted to compare it to the development of desktops and laptops, both of which went through similar upgrade cycles before leveling off a bit. However, there's a big difference in that desktop and laptops were developing quickly to cram features into the OS, at the cost of focus on efficiency, which serves as a partial explanation as to why things became "slow" with upgrades. Desktop and laptop software went through a period of bloat, and then in recent years, additional features traded off against speed gains from recoding things with efficiency as a goal. Meanwhile, Android and iOS needed to be written to be efficient from the start. They wanted to make the hardware as small/thin/light as possible, which meant that the power requirements had to be low. To give an example of the effects of this, a requirement for using as little power as possible has been the reason iOS has always limited multitasking.

    • So in other words, what you are saying is that Apple released a new version of iOS and intentionally did not test it against older models because, well, fuck you, that's why.

      So explain to me how this is different than intentionally slowing down older models? Yeah...

      I had a iPhone 2. It went to shit (not just under optimised) once the 3 came out. I bought a 3GS. It went to shit when the 4 came out (but haha! I only upgraded my friends phones, not my own, so my 3GS was still useful for a few more years).

      Once

      • by toejam13 (958243)

        Oh, one other thing, once I tossed out iPhones, I went to Android. You certainly do not have to worry about updates rendering your phones useless in America. The carriers actively block all updates whatsoever because they refuse to update their own "control" software that they built into the original Android software that they shipped in your phone. That means unless you are running Cyanogenmod or some other custom "ROM", you will never see an update... which means that the updates do not actually slow down your phone because their is no economic incentive to do so!

        That's not exactly true. Google has moved a lot of their code out of their kernel and into the Google Play Service in order to side-step the problem of carrier delays and refusals in rolling out new kernels. So if you update your copy of Google Play and related apps, you are getting a major update.

        Having said all that, I did not notice any major slowdowns when upgrading my Galaxy S1 from Froyo to Gingerbread. I did notice a slowdown in bootup times when installing Cyanogenmod 7, which got progressivel

      • So in other words, what you are saying is that Apple released a new version of iOS and intentionally did not test it against older models because, well, fuck you, that's why.

        They tested against it. It works. It's slower than it used to be. It leaves you with the options of (a) upgrade the OS to get new features, deal with the fact that it's slow; (b) keep the old OS to keep it fast, deal with the fact that you lack the new features; or (c) upgrade the hardware to be fast on the new OS.

        The problem is, they're stuck with a similar conundrum. The hardware for iOS becomes substantially faster with each generation. Therefore, they could (a) drop support for old phones with each

    • by hawk (1151)

      This is hardly new . . .

      I had the original G1, before they were tossing the word "android" around.

      It interestingly sprouted a navigation system one day. I thought that was nice, until I tried to use it in general. The "upgrade" needed more cpu power and ram than that thing had.

      Add features to use more powerful hardware, and they consume resources on the older phones, too.

      The only exception seems to be OSX, which tends to have at least a moderate speed increase for older hardware with each major release.

      ha

      • The only exception seems to be OSX, which tends to have at least a moderate speed increase for older hardware with each major release.

        And it's worth noting that OSX is getting faster because of the maturity of the platform. Windows 8 also runs faster than Vista. Mobile platforms are much less mature (and less stagnant) than OSX/Windows on Intel hardware.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Monday July 28, 2014 @12:08PM (#47550551)

      Well, the available CPU power increased dramatically since the original iPhone was released back in 2007.

      Back then, the iPhone and iPhone 3G used ARM11 (ARMv6) processors at 400MHz. The iPhone 3Gs used a Cortex-A8 based CPU running at 600MHz - clock for clock, the A8 was practically twice as fast as an ARM11, and the 50% speed boost doesn't hurt, either (so nearly 3 times faster). Of course, with that added speed, the iPhone 3Gs doubled RAM to 256MB.

      The iPhone 4 doubled RAM again to 512MB, and upped the speed to an 800MHz Cortex A8, roughly a 33% increase in speed, but more importantly they also upgraded the GPU to run faster. The iPhone 4s went from a Cortex-A8 based CPU to a Cortex-A9 multiprocessing CPU and upgraded graphics again.

      The iPhone 5 upped it to 1.3GHz custom Apple A6 core (faster than equivalent Cortex-A9), just over 50% faster clock for clock, and doubled RAM again to 1GB.

      The iPhone 5s went to ARMv8, where running 64-bit code is so much more efficient that 64-bit code can outrun 32-bit code by up to two times. Running 32-bit code, ARMv8 is only marginally faster than ARMv7, but 64-bit code is where ARMv8's speed really shines.

      The spread of CPU speeds is probably anywhere from 3-5x for a supported iOS.

      Me, I'm running an iPhone 4s with iOS 7. It's snappy enough - the most sluggish times are when I make a phone call and it seems to linger at the contact screen for a second or two, and when I hang up and it lingers at the call screen for a second or two.

      It won't be supported on iOS 8, I don't believe. Given it's been 3 years, well, it's probably time to upgrade.

  • Finally, we see a big limitation: This data reveals only correlations, not conclusions. We are left with at least two different interpretations of the sudden spike in “iPhone slow” queries, one conspiratorial and one benign. It is tempting to say, “See, this is why big data is useless.” But that is too trite. Correlations are what motivate us to look further. If all that big data does — and it surely does more — is to point out interesting correlations whose fundamental reasons we unpack in other ways, that already has immense value.

    And if those correlations allow conspiracy theorists to become that much more smug, that’s a small price to pay.

    And the cost is going to be paid by some company or the other for the benefit of some class action house or another.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:53AM (#47542377)

    As the author points out, each phone release is accompanied by a major OS release. With a major software release comes bugs, as well as a raft of CPU-eating new features to play with, so it makes perfect sense that there would be a spike in complaints about performance and a host of other issues. No conspiracy necessary.

  • Weird premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:55AM (#47542387) Homepage

    The article says, "phones feel slower over time as they hold more software". How does this follow? How does the phone get "slower" just because more software is installed? This sounds an awful lot like the cargo cult thinking of "well the hard drive is full so we have to buy a new computer because this one is slow."

    I know some software will start agents on boot, but they just sit in the background and do little. top reveals very little CPU time and memory consumed by these.

    • It does get slower with upgrades man. I have an iPhone 3GS and it is way slower after the upgrades than when I bought it. To the point I way forever for applications, even Apple's, to start, scrolling is jerky. Even the phone startup and shutdown are slower.

      Sometimes I feel like the graphics driver is not optimized and the binaries have been compiled with the wrong processor flags and aren't being scheduled properly.

      • It's clearly your fault for upgrading without doing extensive research, first, as another user here on Slashdot has just informed me. I have to admit, my loyalty was threatened a little by what happened to my iPhone 3G, and Apple is a great company, you see, with our best interests at heart. To take advantage of all of this enormous corporate beneficence and goodwill, you just have to remember not to trust a single update that Apple ever offers for a device without doing extensive research, first! Apple: T
    • >"well the hard drive is full so we have to buy a new computer because this one is slow

      You should know that is actually possible, I am disappointed here.

      On a spinning drive, once it gets close to full you start running out of contiguous space to write files, which of course means fragmentation occurs. Multiple seeks greatly increase filesystem latency. The end result of that latency is the system feeling slow.

      Of course hard drives don't directly correlate to flash memory, but they have their own host of

  • I have one of the first HSPA+ ("4G") phones, the T-mobile G2, and it still works 100%. But, it seems lately that getting a solid 4G connection is getting harder in the same places I've been using it for years. Shouldn't it be improving? Obviously, the carriers benefit from phone upgrades, too, as they are he primary retailers of them.
  • I'm going to go out on a limb and point out that neither Samsung, Apple, nor Google would give a rip if they DID get the rep for slowing down obsolete stuff intentionally. Each one has a long history of engaging in planned obsolescence activities and spiking performance metrics anyways, so doing a combination of the two isn't exactly something to be avoided by them. As for liabiliy? They've gotten away with Planned Obsolescence unscathed so far, what is this liabiliy you speak of?

    • I'm going to go out on a limb and point out that neither Samsung, Apple, nor Google would give a rip if they DID get the rep for slowing down obsolete stuff intentionally.

      Except it is not remotely true for Google, who want to make money from you doing more. They spend a lot of time making things faster to make more money.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @09:40AM (#47542557)

    My samsung epic 2 gps antennae is much weaker than it used to be.

    I suspect the other hardware is also designed to be "good enough to last a few years but not a decade" to save a few pennies.

    • You're right. Electronic equipment ages so fast. I've never seen a hard drive last more than a couple of years, and we are lucky if a memory chip lasts more than six months! There is nothing less reliable in the long-term than solid state electronics gear with no moving parts.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        I've never seen a hard drive last more than a couple of years

        I've got a hard drive sitting here that's pretty old. I converted it to an external drive after replacing it with newer ones in my computer.

        I'm not sure exactly how old it is, but I'm pretty sure that instead of storing the data as 0's and 1's it's using cuneiform symbols. I'm telling you, it's old.

        • That's because hard drives have moving parts, which make them more durable. That's why they can last as long as two years or more. Solid state stuff, however, like memory chips and GPS antennas, will clearly disintegrate before lunch. Therefore, Apple is not at fault for pushing slow software onto old devices -- it's a miracle those devices still run at all! Be grateful for what you have. No one promised you could own something that works for more than a year.
        • by dissy (172727)

          I still have a functioning MFM double-height 5.25" (Yes it requires two bays) 10MB hard drive here that, judging purely from scar I still have after stubbing my toe on it a decade ago, I'm pretty sure actually does contain rotating clay tablets inside its steal frame as well as a stocky overweight gnome with an actual iron chisel.
          I wonder if our drives share the same encoding scheme...
           

          • by hawk (1151)

            And that world has come full circle.

            That's not a "double height"; today's bays are half- and third- height.

            The last single/full height drive I remember seeing was a 1G scsi in about 96, although I'm certain they continued for at least a feww years after that.

            hawk

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @10:15AM (#47542761)
    The concept is called planned obsolescence [investopedia.com], and it has existed for as long as people have been buying things.
    • Thankfully for us, in the new improved version, even if your device isn't obsolescing as planned, Apple can send it a command to do so whenever it wants, in the form of a software update. This is right and good because Apple knows whats best for us, and if you end up trapped into a very-difficult-to-reverse update you shouldn't have had, then it's buyer beware. Which has always been the case, right? So nobody should complain when Apple decides their devices have had enough and its time to spend more money.
    • by Misagon (1135)

      Bullshit. Planned Obsolescence is an invented, artificial concept, not an observation of the market.

    • The concept is called planned obsolescence , and it has existed for as long as people have been buying things.

      It may have existed for millennia, but until the past few decades it was commonly perceived as "cheating" someone out of money. The assumption 50 years ago was pretty much that anything you bought could and should be repaired, until so many parts fail that it doesn't make sense repair it anymore. I still own and use my mother's kitchen stand mixer, which is nearly 50 years old. I could say the same thing for a number of things that have been passed down to me and still work even though they were manufact

  • Apple markets and prices their products as status symbols. If you don't have the latest, shiniest gadget you aren't cool anymore, especially when your hipster friends are waving their latest toy in your face. So of course you need a reason to justify a new iAnything device.
  • The default setting for most apps is to phone home every 15 minutes or at some absurdly-high interval. Once you lose 4G coverage your phone slows to a crawl. When you turn off automatic updates and notifications (which can be arduous or impossible for some apps) even older smartphones run well.

    Every time my Samsung Galaxy S3 is running slowly, some app developer forgot my preferences and turned back on auto updates. The ABC News app was the latest violator.

    There is no reason why an app can't load content on

    • Get Greenify. Permanently hibernate every damn thing you aren't planning to use within the next hour. Android's 'any installed app can run in the background whenever it wants' regime is strictly for amateurs. Drove me absolutely insane until I found Greenify. Let this post not be seen as any kind of Google endorsement. Clearly Google is just trying to spy on us all with this system of near-unkillable apps. Unlike Apple, which would never do anything as evil as what Google does. That's why when there are ho
  • by iamacat (583406) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @11:34AM (#47543249)

    If you plan to support new code base on old devices at all, development of a large project will result in hundreds of decision points where you can either have more features and faster or easier to maintain code on shipping hardware or better performance on discontinued devices. Just how much effort would YOU spend in the later, especially with a hard deadline coming up?

    A new OS is also likely to create new demands on device drivers. How much support are you going to get from the manufacturers after they have discontinued the hardware, got out of an entire area of business or simply went belly up? Anyone who has a working knowledge of the chipset could already have left the company or be engaged on other pressing projects.

    I think the most realistic solution is to release all available and legally unconstrained knowledge about the platform to community so that they can provide solutions like CyanogenMod as long as there is sufficient interest. In the meantime, try to treat free updates to discontinued hardware as a glass half full. The vendor has spent millions of dollars developing, testing and certifying it, with no commercial gains for itself besides reputation.

    • You're right. Supporting older devices is more difficult. Good thing Apple has my best interests at heart; it is that special quality of Apple, which is not like other OS companies, that allows it to make a half-assed attempt at such a difficult job and ship the update to me, regardless. That's precisely the kind of move that won Apple my heart.
      • by iamacat (583406)

        They also have a much more limited number of devices, less 3rd party hardware and continued app/music/movies/books income stream from old hardware. One result is better support, but beware of trade offs.

        • I have been falling all over myself with gratitude for Apple's better support, ever since I updated my iPhone 3G to iOS4. I was so impressed that it was the last Apple product I ever bought. I still have it today... somewhere. I'm so glad that completely user friendly fuck-ups granted themselves as much total control over my hardware as they could technologically muster. That's what USER FRIENDLY means duh
  • I don't think they intentionally sabotage them, but they are definitely slower. It's just that they keep getting pushed new OS updates, and new app updates, and the new updates expect faster hardware.

    I bought a Galaxy Nexus 2 years ago, and when I got it everything was blazing fast. By a few months ago, my phone was frustratingly slow. For a while I considered that I was just looking at newer phones and thinking "Wow, that's so much faster than mine" but just thought that it was the comparison that made
  • Would you pay $29.99 to update your device to a new version of iOS or Android? If so, I am sure you would get much better/longer support - more in line with Windows updates on existing hardware than current mobile status quo. But if most people figure they would rather get a new device as soon as their mobile contract is up for renewal every two years, why should device manufacturers care about support anything beyond this time?

    In truth, contract subsidizes are not good for users by hiding the total cost th

  • Most people are blaming Apple directly for iOS getting slow with new releases. I've seen that in some cases with built in apps, but the real problem is usually third party apps. Developers by the latest and greatest iPad and iPhones and then they target those with their apps. The apps get big and have memory usage issues and start crashing on older devices. Usually toward the end of my contract I start having problems with twitter/facebook/google apps crashing a lot and many others that regularly receive u

  • Apple does update iPhones and iPads to the point that they are slow. Try closing just about any app and pulling up the keyboard on a 3GS with iOS6 or an original iPad with iOS5. Its painfully slow just to respond to keypresses. I am pretty sure the problem is RAM. Apple was slow to go to 512MB and slow again to go to 1GB. I can see why some people might want the latest features without buying a new piece of hardware, but my two big complaints about Apple's practices are these: (1) Apple would never shi
  • No mention was made on the impact on the network of a new iPhone release. While many users upgrade from one phone to another on the iPhone release date, a huge number of new devices are also suddenly unleashed on the network on that date.

    I am thinking that the network might simply throttle back all responses until the shiny new users quit playing with their new devices and go back to their normal day-to-day usage.

    No way to tell if those searching for "iPhone slow" were new device users or old device users.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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