Do we really need 4 types of iPhones?

The iPhone 4 was released in late June of 2010 in several countries. The body of the phone has been redesigned and is now much more durable. There were two leaks of its release, on an American and a Vietnamese website.

A question that surrounds the iPhone and its production is the fact that they are made in China and the amount of waste that is produced by encouraging people to purchase new phones so often.

In my mind, the fourth generation iPhone suggests that Apple is not only interested in providing high-quality products, but they are also interested in selling as many of them as possible. When they have completely stretched out their markets (adding carriers and countries, for example) they must do something that encourages their customers to keep coming back. The iPhone 4 only lasted as Apple’s “new” phone for just over a year. While that may be typical of their phones, it also brought to light how quickly Apple wants consumers to replace their phones.

There are only so many updates that can be made to a smartphone to make it even ‘smarter’ and more helpful. I think that capacity may have been reached with the third generation phone, and that the fourth generation was simply a holdover until they could release their 4S phone, their most recent upgrade.

Unfortunately this ‘holdover’ phone suggests that it is acceptable for many consumers to purchase a phone that they know they will be returning in short order. Rather than encourage this type of behavior, I believe that major companies like Apple should instead be encouraging people to take the best care of their devices and spending more time promoting more spread-out releases.

My fear, too, with such products that are updated and changed so quickly is that they may be made to last for only a limited amount of time. While that might not bother many people, it is important to realize that these phones take up valuable world resources- in terms of materials, the labor of production, and also the amount of space that they take up when they are discarded as waste. I personally do not like to see a major company that encourages such environmentally damaging behavior.

Please don’t get me wrong; an iPhone is an incredible device, and one that I think many people have use for in daily lives. And any device that makes modern life easier or better should be accepted and encouraged. However, I think that the iPhone 4 is an excellent example of the problems of mass consumerism and the creation of such a consumer-based culture. This is not healthy for our natural environment. Would you agree that Apple was acting irresponsibly in even releasing this version of the iPhone?


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