Did my iPhone really need to be obsolete quite so quickly?

There’s a hold that tech companies have over us, and I for one resent it

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The Independent Online

We have seen the terrible havoc that slavish devotion to a perverted idea of religious allegiance can do, so a world in which we bow down at the altar of commercial brands may turn out to be a much better place. Let's turn our zealotry towards, for instance, Nike or Apple. We will swallow their proselytising, we'll convert to their belief system, we'll go their place of worship (ever been to the Apple Store in Regent Street in London?) and we will, in time, become self-appointed apostles. No one has murderous intent in the name of Apple.

Nevertheless, while I have a resistance to organised religion, my antipathy towards corporate hegemony may be even greater. I own an iPhone, and this column is being written on an iPad, so I am not immune to the appeal of the cult of Apple. They are, of course, aesthetically pleasing objects which define the fusion of form and function, and which inspire attachment, even affection.

The other day, I had to change my iPhone, an instrument that has been an appendage for a little less than two years. This phone had become part of me: in fact, it was me. It knew all my friends, it housed all my memories in photographic form, it would tell me where I had to be and when, and would even remind me about someone's birthday. It may have been an inanimate object, but it felt like a living organism.

Anyway, after two years of heavy-duty use, it had begun, like its owner, to show the signs of age. If dog years equate to seven human years, iPhone years must be the same as 35 human years. My iPhone had reached the equivalent of three-score-years-and-ten, and was ready to give up the ghost. Apple stand accused of designing their products with built-in obsolescence, and the battery on an iPhone can take only a finite number of charges. My iPhone found it increasingly hard to keep its charge and would pack it in always at the most inconvenient moment, which I interpreted as a form of protest, knowing that its days were numbered.

In truth, the moment of demise had been coming for some time. My phone management has never been that clever, and I have occasionally found myself in the compromising position of being out and about with a dead battery and no charger. I have an iPhone4. I have let the world go by, with its iPhone5 and its iPhone6. I am not a man who is suckered by gadgetry, and I don't have to have the newest of the new. But woe betide the person who, in an Apple-governed world, doesn't keep up with latest models. Could I find, in extremis, someone with an iPhone4 charger? No, I could not. People looked at me as if I'd just asked them if they had a spare tyre for a Penny Farthing.

So my phone had to go. I remember when things were built to last. Companies took pride in the longevity of their goods. Now, they have the lifespan of a mayfly. Apple have built an evangelical devotion to their products, but the way they exploit that is really pernicious.

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