It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Monday, June 15, 2009

design and sustainability: recycle vs. repair

A couple of weeks ago, the battery in my 5G iPod, an older 60G, died for the second time. The last time it died, I paid something like $75 to have it replaced and waited a week because I wanted to keep my custom-etched cover. I paid something like $400 for it new, so paying $75 to replace a battery seemed pretty reasonable, if I’d wanted I could probably have done it more cheaply myself.

This time when I visited the Apple store, there was no mention of repair — the only option presented to me was that if I recycle it, I could get %10 off of a new iPod. So, what’s changed? Why is Apple more interested in selling me a new iPod that only holds marginally more media instead of charging me a fair chunk of change to replace the battery in the old one. The rumor is they don’t make profit on the iPod and that it’s subsidized by iTunes sales. Is the hope that in selling me a larger iPod, they increase the amount of sales, and does adding half-again as much space really make that much profit?

So here’s the design issue — why isn’t the iPod designed to be easily repaired by someone at the Genius bar? It’s trivial to swap out the battery in my state of the art Android G1 and it’s been trivial to swap out the battery in almost every mobile phone or mobile HT I’ve owned. I’m trying to remember the last bit of consumer electronics I owned that didn’t allow me to swap out the battery and I’m drawing a blank.

So what’s up, Apple? As a socially responsible company, why aren’t you designing products that can be maintained by the customer instead of designing products that have to be replaced?

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posted by jet at 15:59  

1 Comment »

  1. It is evolution, as you get older the basic logical ideas (that have always worked for you) are discarded and the newest generation of ideas are installed in the brains of the next generation. Then the insanity of the newest ideas just scrambles your brain, makes no sense. I watched my grandmother struggle to “read” comics -they never made sense to her. This digital world seldom makes sense to me. It is not that we are incapable of learning, our brains do not grasp the new because the old makes so much logical sense. For myself –“my brain is analog and the world is digital”– and sometimes I want to crawl back into my safe analog world and curl up -BUT-the new generation of ideas (should I say the next generation) will not let me. To survive I have to learn and cope and throw some old logic out the window (nearly impossible at times). I have a 16 year old Nissan that I maintain, a simple cheap part to keep it on the road is almost impossible to get, thank goodness I have found a person that knows how to “make do” and “adjust” and “tinker”. So throwing out some old logic helps. If Apple comes out with NEW every other week, I call it (my old logic) “keeping up with the Joneses”, and ignore it all! You have to have it, I don’t. This Mac is the only Apple I have. Keep the old, store it away, and 50yrs you can have an antique to sell on future E-Bay, or whatever! “They” are the next generation and “their” new logic to me is -Acquire/ThrowAway/Acquire/ThrowAway –ad infinitum

    Comment by Ina — 2009/06/17 @ 13:56

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