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  • Apple sued in Portugal over iPhone 6, iPhone 6S 'designed obsolescence' battery patch

    DECO (from Associação de DEfesa do COnsumidor, i.e. Consumers’ Defense Association), originally created as a sort of institutional ombudsman, publishes Proteste (from proTESTE, as in testing, it has nothing to do with protest), a mostly decent magazine equivalent to Consumer Reports, but eventually devolved into this sad peddler of junkware to their members.

    How can anyone take them seriously when they always pester people with offers of “great” products such as really janky Android tablets and useless plastic gadgets in exchange for attracting more members? Products that, mind you, would be completely destroyed under their own testing parameters? My mom used to be a subscriber, and the previous owners of my flat are at least members and never got around to update their address, so I always knew of and keep getting their stupid advertising in the mail. While their recent work regarding electrical bills is commendable, when it comes to consumer products they completely lost their way and should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Apple objects to app's pear logo trademark application

    Objectively and geometrically speaking, the leaf design is way too similar and it’s on the same side. Also, its angle is similar, only mirrored. Apple does have a bit of a leg to stand on here, I’m afraid.

    And no, I’m not (just) a fanboy, but a future PhD in design, and even an undergrad with a keen eye would spot the similarities right away… This isn’t much different from spotting plagiarism in typography, you just have to overlay the curves and see how well they match. Do you want me to?
  • CBC Video claims Apple's repair policies are abusive, but 'proof' falls far short

    AppleZulu said:
    dysamoria said:
    Also: Apple’s policies may be great for Apple and convenient for customers who need replaced devices ASAP, but they’re not good for our environment, materials usage, and the average consumer who isn’t demanding an immediate replacement (due to costs). It’s a shortcut process that makes for a lot of unnecessary waste of materials and the added impact of materials shipping.

    There was nothing wrong with having multiple Rossman-level technicians in service centers, back when it was more common in electronics repair work. Corporations making the products saw a way to increase profit margins and acted accordingly. That’s all this is about. It’s not about best serving the average customer in any way but speed. Defending the service model by saying that it’s the most efficient and cost effective for how the product is built completely misses the point.

    This business model is unsustainable and a massive level of cultural normalization of this unsustainable model has occurred. It’s being defended by people who don’t directly (or at all) reap financial benefits by supporting it, and people who argue against it are characterized as extremists, uninformed, irrational, or, like here on this forum, communist!

    Have you seen the Max Headroom TV series? A world where nothing new is made, because there aren’t enough new raw materials (or extraction of them is so wasteful and costly that society cannot tolerate it anymore)... that world is coming. It’s an inevitability, because recycling isn’t being done much at all.

    Most materials go to feeding abusively-contracted, privately owned & operated, municipally paid, toxic pollution-generating incinerators (with some of them having the gall to be called “renewable energy”), or into landfills. The regions that have banned landfilling of electronics waste have seen collection & materials-selling businesses crop up, but the waste just gets shipped out of those regions into less regulated places.

    Those “recycling robots” (the two promoted by Apple) are mere marketing curiosities that don’t actually do the real work of materials reclamation, when and where reclamation is actually done. Look outside your first-world comforts and witness the backside of the electronics waste system, operating in low-wage, low-safety workplaces. These are the places to which American corporations ship the materials and where human beings do the dangerous tear down work (or toxic incineration, once the most sellable materials have been extracted). The companies collect and ship the material for profit, not for reuse or for any environmental concern.

    The component-level refurbishment being done by electronics sellers in the USA pales in comparison to the waste they ship out of country. The material that is ultimately reclaimed is fractional.

    As an aside: Repairability isn’t some “communist” plot to rob you of your freedom (unless you feel you have a “right” to contribute to destroying the environment and wasting materials). It’s depressing just how entrenched and thoughtless the USA’s Cold War anti-USSR propaganda has been; entire generations of people (including those who didn’t live in the Cold War), are acculturated into slamming pro-society, pro-consumer, pro-environment ideas with rhetoric about “communism” and “anti-freedom”. The sheer amount of mindless, knee-jerk responses still coming from people out there, responding to issues like this, are frightening.

    Maybe CBC is promoting articles with sensationalism (which is bad, and I’m sick of seeing every media entity resorting to being little more than an ad space-selling agency that justifies click-baiting), but, in this situation at least, the issue isn’t a made up one; it’s actually in everyone’s best interests. Do you have children, or siblings whose children are planning to have children? It seems grandchildren are the extent to which people give a damn about the future. Beyond people’s grandchildren, few people in positions of power in public policy seem to care about the long term impact of the policies they enact or promote (in government or corporations), and even fewer seem to be motivated to vote for long-term sustainability. It’s like most people are simply incapable of thinking about it. I would suggest education is at fault here, but I know better. It’s attitude and belief. Being confronted with actual hard data and facts just tends to make “belief-motivated” people solidify their positions.
    The complexity of the devices we use makes ‘right to repair’ not so clearly the best option for the environment. Consider cars as an example. Yes, a car built in the 60s was highly user serviceable. The quality of those cars almost made that an imperative. Here’s the thing about that. While it was easy for you or your local shade-tree mechanic to climb under the car or under the hood and change the oil or pull a water pump (I’ve done both) in order to effect comparatively inexpensive maintenance or repair, it’s also true that this resulted in vast quantities of oil, antifreeze and other toxic stuff to be dumped straight onto the ground or into the storm drain. (I never did that, but collecting the oil and taking it somewhere for recycling was a pain in the ass and a significant disincentive for most people to do the right thing.) It was cheap partly because there was no accountability. Those cars were built to lower tolerances than current vehicles and therefore met their end at 100,000 miles or less, and ended up as toxic junk.

    Modern cars have twice the lifespan or more, but are far less user serviceable. Computer controls, tighter tolerance specs, and more tightly packed engine compartments make for longer life, better mileage, and greater reliability, but they also make home repair and shade-tree work largely a thing of the past. On balance, I think this is a vast improvement from an environmental perspective. Cars last longer, need fewer (but more expensive) repairs, and work done at dealers and certified shops is more expensive, but results in more responsible containment, recycling and disposal of toxic automotive wastes. 

    Why am I writing about cars? Because the same principles are at play with iPhones. Before their introduction, cell phones and PDAs came with user-replaceable batteries. Sure, that’s less expensive, but those batteries were often cheap, third-party replacements, and consumers would buy several and most assuredly not dispose of them carefully and in an environmentally sound manner. Likewise, the devices themselves had a shorter shelf life than iPhones, and weren’t particularly repairable. This was o.k., because they were cheaper and easy enough to dump in the trash when replacing them. 

    I don’t believe Apple’s recycling robots are just for PR. They appear very serious about deploying them widely to implement a disassembly and recycling regimen that will result in significantly higher recovery of usable materials than the traditional shred-and-sort-by-hand operations, and therefore be of great environmental benefit. Their phones also are more reliable than the competition and have a longer lifespan. Android refers consumers to recycling centers that undoubtedly are part of the process of shredding and shipping electronic waste to deplorable operations overseas. Non-certified electronics repair shops also use cheap aftermaket parts that can crap out and reduce the ultimate lifespan of devices, and chances are also good those shops are not being particularly careful with waste disposal, either.

    So I don’t think a return to the halcyon days of third-party and consumer-serviced devices is necessarily such a great thing. I think the issue is clouded by the sort of nostalgia that only looks at the good side of the ledger. 
    That's where education comes in. I've disassembled Apple batteries (and even those crappy non-OEM fakes) by now, and I always put them in my local recycling point, just as I did back when we all used alkalines in our Game Boys. Because in my country there were strong educational campaigns and I'm not an idiot. I'm guessing a non-AASP akso has to adhere to strict waste disposal codes and ensure those materials are properly disposed of.