the slow iphone
The conspiracy theorists are convinced: Apple is deliberately slowing down your devices!
Every time you hear a bell ring, it means an angel’s just got their wings. And every time you hear me invent new and frightening swear words, it means somebody’s misquoted Hunter S Thompson. A few lines he wrote about the TV business – “a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs” – have been wrongly applied to the music business and an extra bit (“There’s also a negative side”) added.
The fake quote has long since eclipsed the original, and it’s a great example of people believing what feels right over what’s actually right. Just like the Apple iPhone conspiracy.
If you haven’t encountered the conspiracy yet, it goes something like this: every time Apple makes a new iPhone or iPad, it deliberately sabotages existing devices so you’re forced to buy the new product. The sabotage could be date-activated time bomb inside iOS, or it might be delivered in the guise of a sneaky OS update.
Neil “Dr” Fox infamously said on BrassEye, “there’s no evidence for it, but it is scientific fact”, and this month the scientific fact of slowing iPhones hit the headlines. The reason? A study by a US student who found that Google searches for “iPhone slow” spike whenever a new iPhone is released.
That was more than enough evidence for the clever commenters at Mail Online, who suggested that “software updates that can be filled with processes or bugs that just use up more memory is probably the simplest way” and that “you have to be pretty stupid or naive to think they don’t do this. I saw it with the iPhone 3 and stopped buying them after that.” Coverage pointed out that you don’t see similar Google spikes when Samsung brings out a new phone. That’s true, and it’s why rumours start that iPhones are getting slower.
Unlike Samsung, whose approach to existing customers is essentially “Screw you guys!” when it launches new kit, Apple attempts to update as many existing customers as it can. When iOS 8 ships, Apple could keep everyone else on iOS 7 and hope they’ll buy new iPhones and iPads, but what it will do is offer iOS 8 on as many existing devices as it can. Unfortunately, a more advanced operating system means some older devices have to work harder, and those devices feel slower as a result.
Unlike other manufacturers, Apple isn’t a cruel and shallow money trench whose devices die like dogs. However, there is a negative side. Freelance writer Gary Marshall knows full well that conspiracies don't exist. Or is he just saying that because the little green men told him to?