Apple needs a reuse plan for 100s of millions of old iPhones: iOSR

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 48
    planktonplankton Posts: 108member
    There are a lot of good ideas in this article but the Japanese shaken example does not hold water for iPhones in Japan because the vast majority (99.9%) sold before the 6s are locked to the Japanese carriers who refuse (in my view illegally) to unlock even-off contract iPhones. As a result, desk and office drawers in Japan are filled with old iPhones doing nothing.

    Looking around our house, I can count two 4s, and three 5 units all of which are off-contract and none of which can use a SIM from another carrier or MVNO. This is just plain stupidity that Apple could solve in a blink by simply white listing all old off-contract models in the company's unlock database. Doing so would cost Apple and the carriers nothing, but would give this massive unused iPhone resource value in other application fields.

    Come on Apple, you're always claiming credit for your environmental steps, so here's one way to allow re-tasking of old iPhones that gives them a second life and prevents them becoming landfill.
    edited June 2016 netmage
  • Reply 22 of 48
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,583member
    plankton said:
    There are a lot of good ideas in this article but the Japanese shaken example does not hold water for iPhones in Japan because the vast majority (99.9%) sold before the 6s are locked to the Japanese carriers who refuse (in my view illegally) to unlock even-off contract iPhones. As a result, desk and office drawers in Japan are filled with old iPhones doing nothing.

    Looking around our house, I can count two 4s, and three 5 units all of which are off-contract and none of which can use a SIM from another carrier or MVNO. This is just plain stupidity that Apple could solve in a blink by simply white listing all old off-contract models in the company's unlock database. Doing so would cost Apple and the carriers nothing, but would give this massive unused iPhone resource value in other application fields.

    Come on Apple, you're always claiming credit for your environmental steps, so here's one way to allow re-tasking of old iPhones that gives them a second life and prevents them becoming landfill.
    If you took a locked iPhone and installed a Wifi IOSR profile that allowed it to turn off the modem and operate solely as a wifi/BT computer, you could move all those unusable iPhones into functional roles. 
  • Reply 23 of 48
    robogoborobogobo Posts: 378member
    E-junk is going to become a huge problem in the near future. The first step toward a solution is regulations requiring all manufacturers of phones, computers and components to accept and recycle their products at no cost to the consumer, and break them down for reuse and recycling. This will encourage them to make higher quality devices that last longer rather than the current cheap junk that's built to fail.
  • Reply 24 of 48
    jamieajamiea Posts: 7member
    I've always thought that the components could be remanufactured into cheap supercomputers by getting those A series chips en mass
  • Reply 25 of 48
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member

    crowley said:
    Don't understand this article at all.  Why does iOS need to be transformed into an iOSR to be capable of general purpose computing?  I can't figure out what that R is supposed to be doing.
    Read the article maybe
    Oh Dan, still so sensitive  :D

    I have read it.  Twice.  I still don't get it.  

    You propose a new fork of iOS, but don't give any real feel for what it would offer over and beyond what iOS already offers (pretty sure "WiFi and Bluetooth", "HomeKit" et al are already there), or where iOS is meaningfully deficient.  You mention that iOS is optimised for cellular and power management, but actually, when you remove an iPhone SIM card then the cellular just goes away, and if it's always plugged in then power management isn't an issue.  You haven't clearly set out what is currently preventing anyone from using an iPhone (new, old, whatever) for these sorts of purposes and what Apple could bring to the table that would justify an OS fork which would consume Apple OS team resources for what is probably a very small market.

    I don't really see the point of developing what is basically an embedded OS which can only be embedded in one line of devices, which already have a perfectly good OS that does everything that you're proposing the embedded OS would do.  If you're proposing that they would in some way be able to do more with IOSR then I don't think you've made it clear what that is.
    singularitytechlovernetmage
  • Reply 26 of 48
    I'd like to see a Linux distro (CoreOS?) being able to be installed on any old smartphone (Android or iOS) to act as a node in a Docker cluster.

    Then, a Cloud Provider could deploy these smartphones in the Cloud and offer secure dedicated smartphone servers at a very low price. The smartphones all have battery backup built in (to help survive a temporary power outage), are very low power by nature, have Flash storage, and would completely avoid the "noisy" neighbors problems that hosting multiple VMs on a shared server has.

  • Reply 27 of 48
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,583member
    kt walrus said:
    I'd like to see a Linux distro (CoreOS?) being able to be installed on any old smartphone (Android or iOS) to act as a node in a Docker cluster.

    Then, a Cloud Provider could deploy these smartphones in the Cloud and offer secure dedicated smartphone servers at a very low price. The smartphones all have battery backup built in (to help survive a temporary power outage), are very low power by nature, have Flash storage, and would completely avoid the "noisy" neighbors problems that hosting multiple VMs on a shared server has.

    Smartphones wouldn't make very good servers because they'd burn up doing any sort of constant load task.

    But they could make for a standard computing module for a device or appliance that just needs to monitor some sensors, drive some motors, respond to wireless, etc.
  • Reply 28 of 48
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,583member

    crowley said:

    Read the article maybe
    Oh Dan, still so sensitive  :D

    I have read it.  Twice.  I still don't get it.  

    You propose a new fork of iOS, but don't give any real feel for what it would offer over and beyond what iOS already offers (pretty sure "WiFi and Bluetooth", "HomeKit" et al are already there), or where iOS is meaningfully deficient.  You mention that iOS is optimised for cellular and power management, but actually, when you remove an iPhone SIM card then the cellular just goes away, and if it's always plugged in then power management isn't an issue.  You haven't clearly set out what is currently preventing anyone from using an iPhone (new, old, whatever) for these sorts of purposes and what Apple could bring to the table that would justify an OS fork which would consume Apple OS team resources for what is probably a very small market.

    I don't really see the point of developing what is basically an embedded OS which can only be embedded in one line of devices, which already have a perfectly good OS that does everything that you're proposing the embedded OS would do.  If you're proposing that they would in some way be able to do more with IOSR then I don't think you've made it clear what that is.
    Most of your comments appear to be a critique of the headline and what you imagine the article might say. It's tiresome. 

    If you don't get it, then look deeper into the design of iOS and how it works, and the intentional tradeoffs involved in building a portable device to be a good phone, rather than a general purpose computer. 

    The iPhone installed base is so vast that in two years the older models addressed here will be about 4x the installed base of Macs. Also, the "one line of devices" is a benefit. That's obvious when you look at how easy it is to build software that runs on virtually every iPhone, but how difficult it is to make even a basic game that reliably runs across most higher end Androids without issues. 
    roundaboutnowbrucemc
  • Reply 29 of 48
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,583member

    robogobo said:
    E-junk is going to become a huge problem in the near future. The first step toward a solution is regulations requiring all manufacturers of phones, computers and components to accept and recycle their products at no cost to the consumer, and break them down for reuse and recycling. This will encourage them to make higher quality devices that last longer rather than the current cheap junk that's built to fail.
    Cheap junk (like today's printers) isn't really designed to fail, but rather designed to sell at a price that moves units. HP knows how to make really nice printers, but nobody buys them if there are cheap junk printers for $30 that work for a year or two. Unfortunately. 
  • Reply 30 of 48
    I've thought about creating apps that target older phones to use as single purpose devices (although that feels inefficient for a general purpose computer, it's still a better use than sitting in a drawer). DED's idea fills out and addresses some of the obstacles I've seen - in particular: (i) limitations created for battery life; (ii) limitations create for security; (iii) simple lack of support for older devices; etc. The prior commenters are of course correct that older phones work nicely as wifi-only devices but I think DED is contemplating something deeper - taking advantage of iPhone as a nice package of sensors, size, connectivity, and computing power. By stripping out the default apps (calendar, contacts, etc.), older devices can gain a lot of headroom and, more importantly, could ease many security concerns (no risk of stealing contacts when there is no contact information stored onboard). Another way to think of it is to recall how speedily old iPhones ran when new and how they got burdened as iOS advanced. A fully up-to-date iOSR (for security, etc.) but stripped down (for speed) would really give new life to a lot of powerful electronics that currently sit in drawers or are just dumb media players (this is what six of our phones do in the house).
    propodroundaboutnowbrucemc
  • Reply 31 of 48
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,274member
    jonl said:
    jakeb said:
    I don't think there are enough gadget tinkerers out there to make a dent. For people who want that sort of thing, there's jailbreaking.

    I think Apple's real plan for the iPhone Upgrade Program was to refurbish them and sell them in India. Right now that's looking like it's not going to happen, so I'm wondering how they're going to unload all those leased phones. 
    What country wants to be known as the destination for Apple hand-me-downs? That idea was the most tone-deaf, out-of-touch lunacy I've heard in a long time. "OK India, you're too poor for our real stuff, but we'll be happy to dump our old crap on you. You're welcome. Love, Tim Cook."
    the issue isn't second hand products but refurbished products.  i live in the USA and my household is upper middle class.  usually i buy refurbished MacBook Pros that are a generation behind.  they have been great and look like new out of the box.  I don't have a problem with it.  why shouldn't people in other countries?

    don't project your attitudes on people in other countries.  i suspect a refurbished iPhone confers more value than a shoddily made new droid that has software that is one or two generations old.

    the build quality of the iPhone will be leagues ahead.
    brucemc
  • Reply 32 of 48
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,274member
    Thanks DED.  A great mind-expanding article.  The thing is that Apple products (if well cared for)...just keep going and going.  This is not an issue just for iPhones but iPads and computers.  I always have functional Apple devices lying around that I use for simple dedicated tasks.... it always helpful to have old versions of OS X as well.

    Whether it's keeping the old Airport Expresses working or configuring RAID arrays.

    Because Apple embraces creative destruction and leaves things behind.  It's just the way of the Apple.
    brucemc
  • Reply 33 of 48
    jonljonl Posts: 210member
    badmonk said:
    jonl said:
    What country wants to be known as the destination for Apple hand-me-downs? That idea was the most tone-deaf, out-of-touch lunacy I've heard in a long time. "OK India, you're too poor for our real stuff, but we'll be happy to dump our old crap on you. You're welcome. Love, Tim Cook."
    the issue isn't second hand products but refurbished products.  i live in the USA and my household is upper middle class.  usually i buy refurbished MacBook Pros that are a generation behind.  they have been great and look like new out of the box.  I don't have a problem with it.  why shouldn't people in other countries?

    don't project your attitudes on people in other countries.  i suspect a refurbished iPhone confers more value than a shoddily made new droid that has software that is one or two generations old.

    the build quality of the iPhone will be leagues ahead.
    Refurbished means second-hand. You really need to familiarize yourself with the story. Try googling /apple wants to sell pre-owned iphones in india/. My characterization, while sarcastic, was spot on. BTW, it is you who is "projecting your attitude on people in other countries," and right after doing so, you admonished me not to, when I didn't. Terrible post.
    singularity
  • Reply 34 of 48
    The idea is not a bad one, but the problem is there are not many users willing to tinker with their iPhones just to extend its life.For the users who are willing to(me included)there is Jailbreaking for running AirPlay servers on old iPhones ,XBMC, web server etc
  • Reply 35 of 48
    Plus the majority of old iPhones that are working are already being reused ,by reselling,and passing down to other family members
  • Reply 36 of 48
    clemynx said:
    Great article, and truly Apple should think about doing what you are proposing. Very small cost for them and huge impact for the environment and developer community. 
    Well development tools arent cheap to make ,why not let Jailbreaking take care of this
  • Reply 37 of 48
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member

    Most of your comments appear to be a critique of the headline and what you imagine the article might say. It's tiresome. 
    And most of your responses to criticism of your writing are pithy and pettily defensive.  It's tiresome.


    If you don't get it, then look deeper into the design of iOS and how it works, and the intentional tradeoffs involved in building a portable device to be a good phone, rather than a general purpose computer. 
    So can I take this as a tacit admission that in an almost 3000 word article you did not adequately cover the premise of your opinion?  Readers need to do technical homework to understand you?  

    What are you even talking about?  How is the iPhone not a good general purpose computer?  Isn't that what iPhone fans have been saying since the beginning, that it's 1% phone, 99% computer, and has inspired a mobile revolution?  Can you please just give me a single example of a use case that you have in mind for iOSR that an iPhone cannot currently accomplish satisfactorily?  Just one?


    The iPhone installed base is so vast that in two years the older models addressed here will be about 4x the installed base of Macs. Also, the "one line of devices" is a benefit. That's obvious when you look at how easy it is to build software that runs on virtually every iPhone, but how difficult it is to make even a basic game that reliably runs across most higher end Androids without issues. 
    Ok.  Not sure what I said that made you think I would disagree substantively with any of that, or why any of it is relevant.   I think you continue to overestimate the difficulty in developing for Android, but that's neither here nor there.

    singularitytechlover
  • Reply 38 of 48
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    clemynx said:
    Great article, and truly Apple should think about doing what you are proposing. Very small cost for them and huge impact for the environment and developer community. 
    Well development tools arent cheap to make ,why not let Jailbreaking take care of this
    I think that's a good point.  Given that the people who would likely be attracted to iPhone retirement repurposing are of a more technical bent, then maybe Apple could relax on their attitudes to jailbreaking after a handset has been dropped from the list of upgradables, and provide an official method to get root access to the OS.
  • Reply 39 of 48
    clemynx said:
    Great article, and truly Apple should think about doing what you are proposing. Very small cost for them and huge impact for the environment and developer community. 
    Well development tools arent cheap to make ,why not let Jailbreaking take care of this
    The development tools already exist.

    Jailbreaking would turn off legitimate developers and non-tech customers (the vast majority of people addressed by this article).

  • Reply 40 of 48
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    crowley said:
    clemynx said:
    Great article, and truly Apple should think about doing what you are proposing. Very small cost for them and huge impact for the environment and developer community. 
    Well development tools arent cheap to make ,why not let Jailbreaking take care of this
    I think that's a good point.  Given that the people who would likely be attracted to iPhone retirement repurposing are of a more technical bent, then maybe Apple could relax on their attitudes to jailbreaking after a handset has been dropped from the list of upgradables, and provide an official method to get root access to the OS.

    The whole premise of this article is to make iPhone repurposing attractive to non-techies.

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