This past Saturday my iPhone 5c suffered a massive seizure and died. I had been having problems connecting to Verizon’s cellular network for the last two months, and normally the issue would solve itself after a few hours, but this time it wouldn’t going away, so I paid a visit to the local Verizon store. The staff there took a look at it and gave my phone a new SIM card, in addition to doing some other troubleshooting. The problem remained, so they suggested paying a visit to the nearby Apple store to have them check and see if it was a software issue. At the Apple store the staff there did some more work on the phone, but also with no success. With the other avenues exhausted, it was decided that the phone would be restored to factory settings, which would wipe out all the phone’s data and make it like it had been back when I first acquired it. The restoration process was going along fine, but then got stuck in during the final 5% of the process. Nothing done by the Apple staff or myself could get the phone working again, and it was pronounced dead on the spot.

Once invaluable, now worthless

I got a replacement phone the next day, but this incident got me thinking about how some technologies don’t seem to last as long as they used to. My first phone, which I got in 2004, lasted me nine years and was still working fine when I opted to get a new one, whereas this last phone only survived just under three years. As the type of guy who keeps his hardware well maintained and doesn’t subscribed to the consumerist culture of technological waste and expendability, I was disappointed that the phone didn’t last longer, but I can also understand part of the reason for it. As technology advances, our devices become increasingly complex, and the more complex something is, the more ways it can fail. My first phone really only served four purposes: making calls, sending/receiving text messages, telling me what time it was, and waking me up each morning with its alarm clock. The phone that died was full of apps and did so many things, but also needed regular software updates and required more protection from physical harm. I’ve experienced a similar phenomenon to this in the world of video games, in that my PlayStation 3 twice needed servicing, but my PlayStation 2 has never had any issues, and I’ve known plenty of people who own old consoles like the NES and Sega Master System that still work like they’re brand new. Newer technologies are great, but some of them seem to be more fragile than older ones.

It was an unpleasant (and expensive) experience, but after acquiring a new phone and restoring the information and apps I had on the previous phone, I was back in business. Now I have a newer model of the iPhone, and while it’s shinier and has much better internal hardware, this experience has left me nervous about its life expectancy. Hopefully it lasts longer than its predecessor.

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