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Planned Obsolescence With Smart Phones. A Good Idea?

Is planned obsolescence a good idea with smart phones? Is it a good idea at all? Does this really benefit consumers? Starting with the Apple iPhone, Author Catherine Rampell explores answers to these questions in a New York Times article:

"Economists have theories about market conditions that encourage planned obsolescence. A company has strong incentives to degrade product durability when it has a lot of market power and when consumers don’t have good substitute products to choose from... A company could still be encouraged to engage in planned obsolescence if consumers perceive large “switching costs” associated with going to a new brand."

Questions about the durability of Apple smart phone arose from battery-life observations, although apps that perform a lot of background processing (or tracking and reporting) may also be the cause. In her article, Rampell likens the Apple smart phone to fashion.


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