My iPhone is easily the thing I depend on most in my life. I take great care of it because I use it for most aspects of my daily routine. I use it for my schedule, my social media, my reminders, my phone calls, my pictures, my calculator, and my music. So the day when I dropped my phone, it cracked, and then it stopped working was a traumatic one. I panicked because I wasn’t up for an update in my cellular plan and I felt like I couldn’t go a day without my phone. I ended up ordering the same version of the phone for a decent price, and it came three days later. I thought three days would feel like forever, but it was surprisingly nice to have a break from it.
My iPhone was usually (and is now again) attached to my hand, but that three-day break reassured me that I could survive and life would go on without it. I found myself enjoying things more and noticing things I didn’t usually. I wasn’t constantly checking social media updates, text messages, or emails; I was walking with my head up and looking around for once. It was so astonishing that this object that everyone takes for granted and that manifests in most American’s lives affects more than people realize. It affects the way we see the world, how we do things everyday, and how we interact with society. I feel like most people do not realize, let alone think, about this. I know I didn’t until this object was abruptly removed from my life.
The secret power of the iPhone in my opinion is the fact that it, in a way, it brainwashes people with the idea that they can’t live without it. This is apart of the iPhone myth. From my personal experience, people who have a different phone brand apart from an iPhone are seen as a minority. It comes off as unusual to not have an iPhone. An iPhone is glamorous, sophisticated, and people always want the newest and best version. The iPhone can always be better and improved. I think my dad has had every version of the iPhone, and I’m not surprised as getting a new iPhone is exciting and exhilarating. When he gets a new iPhone, he sells his old one online, and he usually gets a pretty good deal for it. Apple has done a scarily good job of making sure that their products seem essential to function in our culture.
I have had an iPhone throughout my high school and college careers, and I don’t think I will switch to a different type of device in a long time. It is easy to sell my iPhones for a decent price because there is a market for their parts, and even though there are frequently new versions and updates, the way to use an iPhone remains the same. It is easy and low-maintenance, so just about anyone can understand how to use it.
Even though the three-day break was nice, I wouldn’t want to break my iPhone again. I have a relationship with my phone, which scares me to admit, but it is true. And this is why the myth and the secret behind the iPhone survives.
According to San Jose Mercury News (California), Apple sold 192.7 million iPhones in 2014, or 15.5% of the total smartphones sold that year, and the trends for Apple’s iPhone show for future strong replacement sales. With large profits and high customer loyalty, companies like Apple have an immense power in creating techno trash because people want to keep buying their newest products, and with that Apple has an economic stake in planning for old versions of the iPhone’s disposal.
Similar to the light bulb where the product was modified in order to increase consumption, techno giant companies “update” their products to make them “better”, when really they are striving to increase their consumption. When Apple “updated” their charger, they created a new line of products with different inputs so that consumer’s old products were no longer compatible. This is how companies hold power in creating techno trash. They are focused on making a profit and increasing consumption versus sustainability and minimalism.
Apple knows how to stay competitive with new designs, new improvements, and new advantages. The Daily Telegraph (London) refers to Apple as a “product and service ecosystem” that reinforces consumer’s loyalty. This ecosystem creates a cycle of new iPhones and products, with the end result being a pollution of techno trash. Additionally, The Daily Telegraph found that if you were to lay every iPhone Apple sold in the last quarter of last year end to end in a line, it would stretch 7,314 miles. This number accounts for only one quarter of sales, so the amount of old iPhones that have become techno trash is unfathomable.
Apple does have a recycling program, where you can send your old device to the company by mail, and they will recycle it for you. Also, they have an incentive program where the customer can bring in an old iPod to the store and get 10% off a new one. It is also possible to get an Apple store gift card for the value of your old device. When recycling with Apple, the devices are tested to see if they can be reused or if their parts can be reused. They then disassemble the device, and remove parts that can be reused in order to extend the lives and to be sold for the secondary electronics market. Glass, metal and plastic are reprocessed, and Apple usually achieves a 90% recovery rate. They also recycle Mac batteries free, and they help dispose of equipment that is not of Apple brand.
However, Apple does not administer their program, they contract with external partners in order to recycle. A recycling supplier recycles the devices and parts that can’t be reused. They claim this is done so in “an environmentally responsible manner”. Apple contracts with Sims Recycling Solutions to recycle computers and displays in a “responsible way”.
The company meets the “Basel Convention on the Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal” requirements and do so by complying with health and safety laws, not using prison labor, and they don’t dispose of hazardous electronic waste in landfills or incinerators.
Apple has been recently making strides in order to improve their environmental impact. Their program has been updated and the effort does seem effective, but this is definitely aimed at keeping up their appearances. Being environmentally friendly is seen as trendy now, and Apple’s marketing and advertising has always been about being trendy. I don’t see the program as being genuine in that they actually care about the environment and what Apple’s products do to the environment.
I emailed Apple through their website about where they dispose of their electronic waste, but I have yet to receive a response from them. I was also curious as to what recycling in a “responsible way” actually meant to the company, but again I have received no response. I do hope they get back to me eventually because I’m very interested to know more about their program. Overall, Apple seems to be ahead of the game in recycling E-waste.
“Apple – Recycling Program.” Apple – Recycling Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.
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Monterey County Herald (California), April 27, 2006 Thursday, Z_STATE, 180 words
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San Jose Mercury News (California), February 9, 2015 Monday, BUSINESS, 488 words, Troy Wolverton
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