I am a Mac user and have been since 2001. My first computer was an Apple IIgs. My current phone is an iPhone. Overall, I am a huge, huge fan of their products and design ethos. So much so that I follow every Apple press event in a live feed, even if I don’t plan on buying anything new for some time. One such event was yesterday, when Apple Senior VP of Marketing Philip Schiller, remarked on stage that over 600 Million people are using PCs over five years old, and that “this is really sad.”
No, Phil–Can I call you Phil?–this is not “sad.” This is a good thing. Having a computer over 5 years old is fine (PC or Mac). Firstly, your statement is pretty ironic, considering Apple spent the opening of this event talking about ecology and how your company is putting the environment first. Adding to the insane amounts of e-waste in the world isn’t a great thing.
As I’ve mentioned before, I refurbish laptops for the needy, and the amount of unused, perfectly good machines that I see makes me shake my head. Know what? There are a ton of people who are more than happy to have a machine from 2011. I would go so far as to say most machines from 2008 (or even 2007, if they are a Core 2 Duo) are more than suitable for a basic machine. There’s little to no compelling reason for anyone not involved in gaming, content creation (audio, video, art, etc.), or development to use anything more powerful. It’s not going to make a difference.
So why write about this for GeekDad? Because, as parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our kids to not be wasteful. To not want things for the sake of wanting them. My daughter knows she can get a new cellphone when her contract is up, but can does not equal should. Something is obsolete when it’s not useful for the job you need it for, not just because there’s a newer version. We need to teach our kids to get the best out of what they have, not to always desire the new. Implying–hell, stating outright–that a computer is bad because it’s older than an arbitrary date is just, to use Schiller’s own words, sad.
It’s even sadder coming from Apple, considering how one of the arguments for Apple ownership has always been the longer shelf-life of the device. A 6-year-old iMac or Macbook Pro can still run the latest Mac OS with almost every feature and maybe need a RAM update. On average, I would say an Apple device has a 7-year shelf life.
Who knows–maybe Mr. Schiller is just upset that a whole lot of people are perfectly happy not upgrading their iPad (or would be, if not for software crippling, anyway).