The 21st century has brought an exponentially rising technological development field. Consumerism has hit new highs when it comes to buying the latest phone, laptop and tablet models on the market. MP3 player sales have completely eclipsed those of CDs. Also, practically every profession nowadays requires the most updated computers and communication devices for the office or on the go. Naturally, corporations attempt to use this opportunity to promote their new products to technology markets. Of these companies, Apple Inc. has enjoyed enormous success in the past few years alone, up to the point that it is now common culture for everyone to own at least one Apple product for work or personal use. Although Apple may seem to continually satisfy its customers, the market is now dominated by Apple in the technological field, leaving no chance for competitors. Consequently, Apple has been able to take advantage of America’s free market by capitalizing on the consumer trends that have risen over every little update of an Apple product.
Apple products have become commonplace wherever you go, and it is all due to the widespread obsession with buying the most updated technology just for the sake of having it. Early on, Apple began with the original iPod and then gradually added more generations of iPods such as the Nano. Eventually the consumer culture accepted the presence of these iPods and found them useful for listening to music. As different iPod generations emerged, it became evident that the products were made with planned obsolescence in mind. Planned obsolescence is when a company designs its product in such a way that puts an “expiration date” on its functionality so that when that product begins to malfunction, the consumer will be inclined to buy the newer version in hopes of improved performance. This trick caused many reported software problems, especially in the Nano. But of course, that did not stop sales for the later generations. Apple realized this continued heightened interest in its products and decided to profit from the trend. Ever since that day, Apple has forced its controlling reign on the technology market.
Next came the releases of the advanced Mac laptop and desktop computers. The terrific features of the Mac, such as user-friendliness, fast processing and immunity to PC viruses, were heavily advertised. Although I cannot deny the validity of most of these features, setting the 13-inch MacBook Pro at a price of $1,300 was a pure business profiting strategy. The high cost certainly did not reflect the actual value of the laptop. A larger screen or a more advanced Microsoft Office-equivalent software would have brought up the value a bit, but at such a price, purchasing this laptop is a loss.
Then, the release of the iPhone started a long line of products that were built upon this initial innovation. The iPhone included many drastic improvements early on in its look and firmware, but as of late, the same is not true. The iPhone’s fifth generation was simply an elongated and tougher version of the iPhone 4, and yet it caused a frenzy among Apple consumers who reached the point at which they would purchase any new Apple product in order to keep up with the technological trends, no matter the actual worth of the updated version.
A similar pattern exists in the iPad series, which was being updated simultaneously with the iPhone. The iPad is essentially an enlarged version of Apple’s iPod Touch, but the usability of the iPad for reading and using apps on a big screen proved to be worth the update. However, every subsequent version featured sleeker designs and increased user-friendliness until finally, not much was left to change in the iPad. That was when the overly clever people at Apple let out word of the iPad Mini. The iPad Mini was literally a smaller version of the iPad yet a slightly larger version of the iPod Touch. In other words, it was the biggest scam Apple could have presented to its customers. Unfortunately, the sad fact of it all was that sales skyrocketed from this release, considering the Apple obsession was on the verge of reaching a zenith for company revenue.
If this snippet of insight on Apple’s takeover of the technology market doesn’t make you hesitate before purchasing the next big, flashy Apple product, then look into it yourself, and you will only find more of the same information I’ve provided. Sure, Apple products have their pros, but the tactics of the corporation as well as the stronghold held by Apple on the technology market are certainly crucial factors in Apple’s excessive takeover of modern consumer culture. If consumers can grasp this adverse trend, Apple will lose its firm grip on the technology sector.
Krunal Patel is a freshman electrical engineering major at Drexel University. He can be contacted at [email protected].