Stop wanting smarter phones


Jean Melvyn Espinosa, Guest Column

Not a single soul can say that the invention of smartphones hasn’t changed the way society views time, activity, and media. The sheer capability of smartphones today eliminates the need for mindful scheduling, the presence of an alarm clock, and the lack of a handy calculator. The modern utility of what used to just be a form of auditory communication far surpasses whatever room-sized computer put men on the moon.

The time has come to wonder whether that shiny rectangle in our pockets can do enough for us. What more can people ask their phones to do that can justify a higher price tag and planned obsolescence? Ask whether you really do need bigger, bulkier, less mobile “mobile-phones” with four cameras (that barely improve picture quality), when the phone you already own likely already does what you need it to.

Take for example the iPhone X. Released in 2017, half a decade ago now, the X does everything a newer iPhone can. It takes photos of good quality, records videos at 60fps and 1080p, renders face-to-face calls at great quality, runs video games, has a virtual assistant, and can even be your wallet. All those features for an iPhone X would cost around $200, while the new iPhone 14 has the same features and costs almost $800. Does it really do it that much better?

The technological specifications of the iPhone 14, as listed on Apple’s official website, state it has “Advanced” Dual Ultra-wide cameras over the X’s Dual Telephoto, 7 more hours of video playback time, and compatibility with new wireless chargers and security cases. The 14 also comes with a third inch increase in size, which doubles in the 14+. Five years’ worth of mobile phone development adds up to three times the price, according to Apple. Additionally, those fancy new accessories that come compatible cost extra.

Smartphones don’t need to do everything for you. Yet, people wonder why there’s a new model every other year that costs marginally more than the last one. Smartphones replace calendars, calculators, televisions, and wallets. They’ve done so since iOS6 in 2012, when Apple first included their wallet app. The urge to stuff all types of software into smartphones means including the hardware to support it, creating a more expensive and larger vessel.

After every new release, you have to seriously consider whether purchasing can’t be put off for another couple of years, since the phone you have right now may last you quite a while, doing everything you need. The demand for smarter phones leads to higher prices, and as the older models inevitably go obsolete, dependency is created under the guise of brand loyalty. Stop wanting smarter phones, you’ll only make them less accessible.