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[flagged] Harvard Study Shows Apple Slows Down Old iPhones to Sell New Models (anongroup.org)
29 points by lisper on Sept 22, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments



> Now, a Harvard University study has done what any person with Google Trends could do, and pointed out that Google searches for “iPhone slow” spiked multiple times, just before the release of a new iPhone each time.

This isn't news.


I am skeptical that apple would be that shortsighted. If there was a smoking gun here, it would likely kill their smartphone business. I will share an anecdote that I hear at every release cycle for each new idevice:

Stepson: Hey, my phone is glitching and slow. I think I need a new phone.

Me: Really? let me take a look. <tap through a few apps and settings>. Hmm I dont see anything wrong, other than you are connected to the wifi network that is about 300 feet away from you.(My inlaws have a wide open wifi network in their house)

Stepson: oh, ok, but its still glitching. I need a new Phone!!!!!!!

Me: whenever you are ready to pay for it in cash since you still owe about 600 for that one...

Stepson: :(

<a few weeks later>

Stepson: hey I dropped my phone, I need a new one...

I am convinced that apple has built a time released lubricant into their phones that causes kids to drop them when the new models are released....


It says right in the article that the most likely cause is the way Apple only makes sure new OSes work well on the newest devices. I've found this to be anecdotally true myself.


Anecdotally I've found the opposite, within acceptable terms.

I have an original iPad mini running ios9 that honestly was better on 8 - but there is no maliciousness there: it's extremely old hardware that happens to have been supported for updates longer than it "should have" because it was in a new form factor (iPad 2 internals squished into a mini size)


This sounds like the same conclusion as parent, not the opposite.


I did say "within acceptable terms" and qualify why I think it's reasonable that the iPad mini doesn't perform as fast as a new device.


Time for stepson to get a used phone no better than the one he dropped, on his own dime


>If there was a smoking gun here, it would likely kill their smartphone business.

I highly doubt it. Even if this was confirmed by Apple itself, I don't think it would hurt them in sales at all.


There's more to the "study" than plotting google search traffic and iPhone release dates, right? While it's a compelling graph, do they take metrics from devices?

Personally, when someone releases a new version or model of something I have - car, computer, phone, etc - I notice all the flaws and problems with what I have. I assume it's me attempting to rationalize "you know, maybe I should look at that new one.."


This is clickbait and (low quality) speculation. Should we allow this type of story to appear on the front page?


I was an engineer at Apple for a while and I never got the feeling that this was malicious behavior. New features and ever increasing codebase always makes things slow down, and speed of old devices was never the top priority; instead, new power hungry features were often released to take advantage of new hardware speeds, so it's not surprising to me that the biggest iOS slowdowns coincide with new hardware releases.


Apple sells their old models as the low-their versions of their phone. I highly doubt they are intentionally limiting these device that they sell.


I've wondered if the reasons why Apple changes their UX so much, in small and big ways, is so they the new phone becomes "your" phone. You're forced to learn new swipes, taps, etc. Overtime the muscle memory makes other (and older) phones feel awkward. Often it doesn't seem like Apple needs to do this, but it could explain why.


This clickbait article links to a dailymail article posted in July 2014 as the source, which links to a NYTimes article posted 2 days earlier in 07/2014 as the source.

The article in NYT is about a phd student from Harvard showing the correlation in Google Trends wrt "iPhone slow"keyword and concluding that the Google Trends show a correlation and cannot be concluded that "Apple slows down old iPhones..." as it is in the title.

So much for a "Harvard Study".


The study's methods are flawed, but I've had multiple experiences with iPhone users in bars asking me if I can do something about their recently updated iPhone being so sluggish (which they demonstrate to me, it's real), they all bitch about the inability to undo the update and how this is going to force them to replace what was a perfectly good phone.

It's too bad this study is useless since it just harms the very real upgrade treadmill case against apple.


Showing Google trends for a keyword is now considered a "study" ?

Personally I've noticed that my iPad slowed down after upgrading to iOS 10. I wasn't planning on upgrading but a restore forced me to. I believe it's because devs develop on latest devices and tend to ignore the older ones.


There isn't a gun, but there is smoke. I think the title is misleading for sure, but it seems reasonable that further testing could be done to prove this is accurate.

In fact, I'm hoping someone will followup with actual performance tests.


This is a 2014 story (and also utter nonsense.)


After buying new Apple computers for 25 years and iPhones for 10 years now I can attest that they've done this.

My wife has recently been complaining that her iPhone 6 is getting slow and has with everyone she had before it.

I will give Apple credit for not obsoleting my `09 Mac Mini as fast as they did every Mac I purchased before it, but it's definitely on that path now because it won't run their latest OS.

Not sure if I'll buy a new one. The "Mini" is the only thing they have that I'd consider and if they don't keep one in the $500 range I'll build a Linux box and use it going forward from here.


Hahahha wait so the study is just, "more people search for this"? This doesn't show anything. Show me an actual speed test pre/post software update.


Samsung doesn't update the software on their old devices.

This leads to security holes for sure, but my older Samsung devices running old Andriod versions are actually pretty snappy.

To bad there isn't a middle ground, but I guess that would be expensive to maintain old OS versions.


The study examines search queries, rather than actually examining the hardware's performance. It is quite possible that this is a psychological effect, particularly since the (rumoured) release dates of new models are well known.


Youtube video where the IOS speed is tested on all compatible iPhones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMAcZFNq0bI


Software that does more things can run slower on older devices: news at 11


That's true, but what we really need to know is what are the typical performance benchmarks that are required when launching a new software update? And does Apple change its internal performance requirements for older phones when new phones are released.

If internal documents from Apple showed that Dev's were allowed to release code that performed badly, but only at certain times of the release cycle, that news would be huge.


Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.

Comparing to Samsung is just a joke - how often do android users even get the choice to update, not to mention how Samsung releases may or may not match up with Google (Android) ones.


My 4 year old Samsung received an update to 7.0 last month, and a security patch the week after. I agree android patching is poor compared to apple, but a lot of fault lies with the phone companies refusing to pass updates onto the end user rather then the company making the phone.


Your experience is accurate and makes the point.

Android releases are not generally available at a consistent time. Apple marches software release in lock-step with hardware release.

When you write an article citing a "study" based on a spike of Google searches, the Android based metrics will be more spread out because implementation of the new software is more spread out. A "study" should control for that sort of variance.


You got an android update 13 months after it was released and a month before the next major update will be released by google? You're making my point for me.

Apple users don't have that problem, and they use the same phone companies.

If Samsung agrees to let the networks dictate when updates will be released, that is their fault.


Well maybe someday instead of hacking governments, hackers might hack Apple, and the big banks, and leak those emails!


The most likely explanation is new phone buyers googling their first time setup problems, isn't it?


Relative the the newer models the older models will be slower ...


In other news, the ocean is wet.




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