Why Apple's Planned Obsolescence Business Model Can't Go On Forever

Apple's Planned Obsolescence

Apple Inc. has long been admired for its innovative products, sleek designs, and a loyal customer base. However, beneath its shiny exterior, there has been a growing concern over the company's business model – planned obsolescence. In this article, we'll explore what planned obsolescence is, how Apple has employed it, and why this strategy may not be sustainable in the long run.

What Is Planned Obsolescence?

Planned obsolescence is a business strategy where a company intentionally designs and manufactures products with a limited lifespan. This means that after a certain period, these products become obsolete, prompting consumers to replace them with newer models. While this approach can boost sales and revenue in the short term, it has raised ethical and environmental concerns.

Apple's Planned Obsolescence Strategy

Apple, known for its cutting-edge technology, is no stranger to planned obsolescence. The company has implemented several tactics to ensure that its products become outdated over time, thereby encouraging customers to upgrade.

  1. Software Updates: Apple regularly releases software updates that are incompatible with older hardware. As a result, users of older devices experience slower performance, reduced battery life, and limited access to new features, forcing them to consider purchasing a new device.

  2. Non-Replaceable Batteries: Many Apple products, such as iPhones and MacBooks, have non-replaceable batteries. When these batteries start to degrade, users have no choice but to replace the entire device.

  3. Limited Repairability: Apple's products are notoriously difficult to repair or upgrade. The company discourages third-party repairs and often designs products in ways that make it challenging for users to fix them themselves.

  4. Marketing Tactics: Apple's marketing campaigns often emphasize the latest features and improvements, making older models appear outdated and less desirable.

Why Apple's Planned Obsolescence Can't Go On Forever

While Apple's planned obsolescence strategy has proven profitable, there are signs that it may not be sustainable in the long term.

  1. Consumer Awareness: As consumers become more conscious of environmental issues, there is a growing backlash against wasteful practices. Apple's planned obsolescence tactics have come under scrutiny, leading to negative publicity and potential damage to its brand image.

  2. Legal Challenges: Apple has faced legal challenges in various countries for its approach to planned obsolescence. This could result in costly legal battles and regulatory changes that limit its ability to employ these tactics.

  3. Market Saturation: The smartphone market is becoming saturated, with fewer new customers to acquire. Apple relies heavily on existing customers upgrading their devices, but as people hold onto their phones for longer due to economic reasons and diminishing innovation, this strategy may face challenges.

  4. Competition: Rival companies are continuously improving their products and offering more affordable alternatives. If Apple fails to adapt, it risks losing market share to competitors who prioritize sustainability and affordability.

  5. Environmental Concerns: The electronic waste generated by discarded Apple products contributes to environmental degradation. As environmental awareness grows, consumers may seek out companies with more sustainable practices.


Apple's planned obsolescence business model has been a double-edged sword, providing short-term gains while risking long-term consequences. As consumer attitudes shift toward sustainability, regulatory pressures mount, and competition intensifies, Apple may find it increasingly challenging to maintain this approach. To secure its future, Apple must adapt to a changing landscape and prioritize consumer needs and environmental sustainability over planned obsolescence. Only then can it ensure its lasting success in the tech industry.

How can Apple's planned obsolescence be moral or justified?

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