Apple Executive Greg Joswiak Dismisses Planned Obsolescence as 'Craziest Thinking in the World'

Daring Fireball writer John Gruber sat down with Apple's VP of marketing Greg Joswiak and VP of AR/VR engineering Mike Rockwell at the California Theatre on Tuesday for a live recording of his The Talk Show podcast.


MacRumors was in attendance during the interview, which reflected on a wide range of topics, including augmented reality, privacy, the latest software updates, and other announcements from the WWDC keynote on Monday. A replay of the event is also available on YouTube, starting around the 29:40 mark.


One of those announcements, revealed by software engineering chief Craig Federighi, was that iOS 12 more quickly ramps up peak performance when needed for a faster and more responsive experience on all supported devices, going all the way back to the iPhone 5s and iPad Air, both released in 2013.

On an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 12, for example, Apple says the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster, apps launch up to twice as fast under heavy load, and the camera opens up to 70 percent faster from the lock screen.

Gruber expressed that part of Apple's emphasis on those performance improvements on stage must be to counter the notion of planned obsolescence, or the idea that it deliberately slows down older iPhones with software updates to drive customers to upgrade to the latest and greatest models.

Joswiak quickly dismissed the idea as "about the craziest thinking in the world," and talked up iOS 12 as a "really good update."

"Which is about the craziest thinking in the world, where I give you a shitty experience so you go buy our new product," quipped Joswiak. "But, to your point, there's been so much that people forgot about how great software updates are. First of all, we have a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate with iOS 11… it's great. We have delivered through the years amazing features, from the App Store to iMessage."

"Software updates are super important," he added. "You have got to remember, we're supporting devices that were introduced in 2013. Devices that are more recently introduced… iPhone X… are a lot faster than those, just by the nature of how fast our chips have gotten. We've got the fastest chips in the business. Our chips last year are faster than theirs this year."

Joswiak said Apple wanted to pay "special attention" to older devices that may be experiencing "slowdowns" under heavy workloads.

"Craig was making a point of showing, look, we did a lot of engineering, and a lot of testing… to show that we're going to double the performance for those people on iOS 12," he said. "iOS 12 supports the same set of devices that iOS 11 did, again going all the way back to 2013… all the way back to the iPhone 5s, and it's going to be a really good update for those people."

"If we only wanted you to buy new hardware, we would only have updates that support like six percent of our users," he joked.


The first beta of iOS 12 was seeded to registered Apple developers on Monday, and a public beta should follow in the coming weeks, ahead of an official release in September. The software update is compatible with the iPhone 5s and newer, iPad Air and newer, and the sixth-generation iPod touch.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
30 months ago

iOS: We care about your older devices.

MacOS: Please throw away your MacBook (Late 2009), MacBook (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Early 2011), MacBook Pro (Late 2011), iMac (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2010), iMac (Mid 2011), Mac mini (Mid 2010), or Mac mini (Mid 2011).

What a great company...

Why would you have to throw away your old Mac? Will High Sierra, a 1 year old operating system that will still be supported for years, stop booting in a couple of months? Also, the newest Mac on your list is 7 years old. Should Apple support it with new software forever?
Score: 91 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
iOS: We care about your older devices.

MacOS: Please throw away your MacBook (Late 2009), MacBook (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Early 2011), MacBook Pro (Late 2011), iMac (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2010), iMac (Mid 2011), Mac mini (Mid 2010), or Mac mini (Mid 2011).

What a great company...

(Sorry for the repost, but this is definitely relevant here.)
Score: 77 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
Oh, MacRumors wrote a bad word.

iOS: We care about your older devices.

MacOS: Please throw away your MacBook (Late 2009), MacBook (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Early 2011), MacBook Pro (Late 2011), iMac (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2010), iMac (Mid 2011), Mac mini (Mid 2010), or Mac mini (Mid 2011).

What a great company...

(Sorry for the repost, but this is definitely relevant here.)

So, you want indefinite free OS support for older Macs?
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago
I am less concerned with planned obsolescence as it pertains to their software than I am as it pertains to hardware; User serviceable batteries, RAM, Hard drives, etc. All gone from their once flexible and expandable Macbook Pro line. Now, instead of simply upgrading my '13 MBP with a newer, bigger SSD and some more RAM, I get to throw it out and buy a new one.

Apple, tell me more about how you don't not engage in planned obsolescence!
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

iOS: We care about your older devices.

MacOS: Please throw away your MacBook (Late 2009), MacBook (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Mid 2010), MacBook Pro (Early 2011), MacBook Pro (Late 2011), iMac (Late 2009), iMac (Mid 2010), iMac (Mid 2011), Mac mini (Mid 2010), or Mac mini (Mid 2011).

What a great company...

(Sorry for the repost, but this is definitely relevant here.)

How's not getting an OS update to the 8-year-old devices telling users to throw them away? They still run fine with High Sierra right?
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
30 months ago

I am less concerned with planned obsolescence as it pertains to their software than I am as it pertains to hardware; User serviceable batteries, RAM, Hard drives, etc. All gone from their once flexible and expandable Macbook Pro line. Now, instead of simply upgrading my '13 MBP with a newer, bigger SSD and some more RAM, I get to throw it out and buy a new one.

Apple, tell me more about how you don't not engage in planned obsolescence!

Your line of thinking doesn't make sense. People want smaller, thinner devices and part of doing that is making things as compact as possible. Look at TVs, there are very few user serviceable parts these days on them and people aren't complaining about that. Notebooks go the same way. You want thin, fast and light, you have to work to get most of the stuff on one board, not spread throughout.

There's only so much space to fit stuff and I'd rather take performance over a slower system that is user serviceable.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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