Tuesday, 31 March 2015

J'accuse ...!

J accuse.jpg

"J accuse" by Émile Zola - Scan of L'Aurore. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I wanted to write a post informing the world how happy I am with my iPhone 5. I wanted to say that its comparative size disadvantage is actually working to my advantage, therefore giving me little reason to upgrade to an iPhone 6 Plus or the upcoming iPhone 6S Plus. I thought I’d be perfectly fine waiting things out for the iPhone 7, because once that is out then all the iPhone 6 phones – whether S or older, Plus or Minus – would look ancient in a second.
The reason why I was so happy with my aging iPhone 5 is my iPad. With both iPhone and iPad equipped with 4G, I find the iPad to be a great work tool. I use it for everything warranting a big, computer like screen; nowadays I don’t touch my proper computers half as much as I used to. Given this usage profile of mine, and given my iPad is on me most of the time, I do not need a big phone; with a usage profile such as mine, the small screen of the iPhone 5 is actually an advantage.
I wanted to say all of the above, but now I can’t.

You see, a couple of weeks ago Apple released iOS 8.2. As I always do, I’ve installed it on all my iOS devices as quickly as possible. Not because there’s any risk of me getting an Apple Watch any time soon (Apple Watch support was the main feature of 8.2); it was due to the security measures that are always bundled with such releases, like the fix for the FREAK vulnerability
Alas, iOS 8.2 came with a couple of extra features. The first was my phone occasionally losing it; I witnessed it resetting itself twice in one day, quite an astonishing achievement given it probably only reset itself once or twice before in its entire two and a half year long career.
Second, and more annoying, is the damage done to battery life. Whereas before I could get a day to a day and a half of intensive use out of my iPhone, with 2-3 days of casual use (say, during the weekend), now it’s all different. Now it’s significantly less than a day of intensive use and about a day of casual use. Battery behaviour is outright weird: if I set my phone to airplane mode, like I usually do at night, it loses 20% battery by morning time; if, however, I leave my phone be, it loses only 2%. Go figure.

The point about this destruction of my iPhone 5 is that it is not a random event. I have experienced it twice before: once an iOS gadget is more than 2 years old, Apple seems to destroy it with its system updates. My wife’s iPod Touch suffered from this, as well as my own iPhone 3GS (where having the 3 year old battery replaced with a brand new one made absolutely no difference to how long the battery lasted).
I think the evidence is clear: Apple may hide it under the guise of a system update, but it systematically and deliberately messes with its old devices in order to force their otherwise satisfied owners to upgrade on a two yearly cycle.
Apple, J'accuse…!

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