The iPhone 5 is billed as being “bigger, better and faster” than previous iterations, and if you feel like you simply can’t be seen without one, you’re not alone. But please — before you rush to the nearest Apple store to shell out $200-$700 for this new product — stop and THINK.
Just because a technology advances doesn’t mean you need it. The world is drowning in an ocean of unwanted electronics, only a small percentage of which are recycled. Most of these e-waste recycling operations are in developing nations where untrained workers, many of them children, melt toxic plastics over open flames just to get at the precious metals beneath.
New technology is great when it solves a problem or consumes less energy. New technology for the sake of buying something new is a hoax and a swindle. Apple, like all technology companies, is in the business of making and selling gadgets. For that reason, they plan for their products to become obsolete quickly. They carefully monitor the release of features, ensuring that each release has just enough “new” stuff to tempt you to buy. iPhones aren’t meant to last. They’re meant to be replaced, at a high cost to you and the environment.
Here are five important reasons why you don’t need to buy a new iPhone 5. Resist the pressure! And when someone asks why in the world you’re still using your old phone, send them a link to this article.
1. You Already Have A Working Phone
Chances are, it’s the iPhone 4S which just hit the market a little over a year ago. Even if it’s not, I bet that phone in your pocket still makes calls, sends texts and it might even let you look at Facebook while you’re supposed to be working. Here’s the thing: the iPhone 5 doesn’t even have that many new features. Sure, it boasts a big screen and a faster processor, but it won’t do your homework or work if you drop it in the toilet. In short, there is nothing surprising or revolutionary about the iPhone 5.
2. Foxconn Riots/Worker Rights
Within a week after the iPhone 5 hit the market, there have been reports of riots and worker beatings inside the Chinese factories where the phones are made. According to Foxconn, which has come under scrutiny for worker treatment in the past, it was just ”a personal dispute between several employees [that] escalated into an incident involving some 2,000 workers.” Right. And I’m sure the stress of producing millions of iPhones to keep up with consumer demand during the launch week had nothing to do with it.
3. Environmental Impact of E-Waste
Let’s say that of the millions of people who will buy a new iPhone 5, 20 percent of them actually make an attempt to recycle their old phone instead of throwing it in the trash or stuffing it in a drawer somewhere. That’s a lot of phones looking for a responsible recycling program. Not all e-waste recycling schemes actually make a point to keep all elements of the device out of the landfill. Some merely pack mobile devices into huge shipping containers and send them off to Africa for processing. See, African nations have almost no environmental regulations, so the waste can be burnt or buried for a lot less than it would cost to pay American workers to recycle and reuse it. There are some responsible cell phone recyclers, but you have to take the time to find them.
Keep reading for more reasons not to buy the iPhone 5…
4. You’ll Have To Buy All New Accessories
Still feeling the pinch of a sluggish economy? Living paycheck to paycheck? Stop and think about whether Apple is the best place to put your hard earned money. Remember what I said about built-in obsolescence? iPhone 5 finally got rid of that prehistoric 30-pin connector and replaced it with a smaller dock connector. BUT a new connector means you’ll need new adapter for accessories. Thus, you will need to repurchase all new accessories that will be compatible with this new feature. That’s just one reason why Apple is considered one of the least green tech companies in the world.
5. Apple Is The 1%
If you’ve been following or participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, you know that a major complaint of the 99% is that corporations are stifling the American economy. They lobby for self-serving tax breaks and against environmental regulation. They ship jobs overseas while making record-breaking profits year after year. And guess what? Apple is one of them. Forbes reports that Apple’s overseas cash hoard grew from $17.4 billion in 2009 to $30.8 billion in 2010, all while paying a lower tax rate than you.
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