Comment Thinking of buying a new iPhone 5 after it gets announced later today? Don't. Owning it will mark you out as an easily-led simpleton - and worse, the purchase will undermine western democracy.
Our last digest along these lines was published prior to iPhone Day last year, but as it turned out - and who are we to say just why - the masterminds of Cupertino declined to bring out their latest offering then, producing only the unexciting 4S. However this time they have written "5" all over the announcements, so they'll find it hard to avoid revealing what they've actually been doing for the past couple of years.
Indeed, as is normal, we already have a pretty good idea what's coming and it isn't much different in detail from what was expected last year - perhaps illustrating rather well just how little in the way of actual new technology one normally sees from the fruitchomp-branded darling of Wall Street.
However it would seem not exactly cricket to merely republish our piece from last year: and furthermore, ten reasons not to buy into the Fifth Coming of the Jesus Mobe, with hindsight, isn't as punchy as five. Then it's always possible, for instance, that the new iPhone (unlike its predecessors) will actually be a good phone*. So we've revamped things overall and gone for just five bullet points.
Here they are:
1. iPhone and Apple fever are undermining the bedrock of Western democracy
No, really. One of the main underpinnings of your real Western democracy, like it or not, is the capitalist economy. We're not saying it's perfect - or even all that great - as a way of doing things and making decisions, but nothing else yet tried seems to work nearly as well. One of the main things which makes capitalism function is people doing things with money which make sense.
It makes no sense at all that Apple - whose contributions have consisted mainly of good but not exceptional UI and case designs - should be one of the most valuable companies in the world. It makes no sense that the iPhone (which is in many important respects less good than other smartphones) should command such an outrageous price premium among consumers, to the point where iPhone sales can measurably affect US economic performance.
That's massive irrational behaviour - it's money being spent and invested in ways which are against the decision-makers' interests, rewarding behaviour which does little or nothing for the common good (or even in various ways acts against it). As such Apple hysteria is hurting our economies and undermining one of the main things supporting our way of life.
2. No swappable battery
This, for example, is one of the various reasons why the iPhone is just plain and simple less good. You don't need 4G data connections to run flat a smartphone battery of any reasonable capacity very quickly - turning on GPS, playing video, merely using the thing and keeping its display lit up, all these things eat up power rapidly. For the serious smartphone user, then, the ability to swap in a fresh charged-up battery quickly is extremely useful, if not indispensable. It's trivially easy to provide, and its absence on all iPhones for fairly cynical reasons should always have been a deal-breaker on its own.
By buying an iPhone you are rewarding that cynical mindset which says: let's build things so that people can't quickly and simply replace one of the most likely-to-fail parts. That way we encourage them to replace the whole phone much sooner, and maintain control of the replacement parts market too. Too bad that it makes the phone a lot less useful.
See what we mean, that this is you spending more to see yourself off?
3. No memory card slot
Another vicious slap in the face here. As flash memory prices keep plunging, microSD cards of greater and greater capacity become more and more affordable. In a proper smartphone, if you need more storage you can buy it and slot it in yourself. You can easily slot that storage into and out of myriads of other devices, copying and migrating data with ease.
The sale of different iPhones with differing amounts of memory is simply the old trick of selling the same thing at different prices: which as any economics student learns, means you make more money than selling it at one price only. Car firms and many others do it too - adding frills to what's basically the same product and bumping up the price by a lot more than the cost of the extras. With a top-end car the markup may not really be justified, but at least it's not as outrageous as charging hundreds of dollars for a quite-literally-cheap-as-chips SD card - and actually removing functionality to achieve this vicious gouging.
Again, you buy an iPhone, you are rewarding conscious and obvious decisions made by Apple against your personal interests. You are not acting as a rational consumer and as such you are introducing needless chaos into the marketplace.
4. Software lockdown and huge margin for Apple on every app
It used to be, before Apple came on the scene, that if you had a small pocket computer then you or anyone else could write programs for it and you could run them on your machine that you owned without asking the people who had made it.
Purely in order to enrich itself, Apple has gone a long way towards killing that idea. Much of the rest of the industry is rushing to follow suit. Nowadays, app developers have to accept that they'll pay a lot of the money they earn to Cupertino. In future, they may also have to pay Redmond, as Microsoft - gobsmacked at the way people actually accepted the brutal lockdown imposed on iOS - is following suit.
Who permitted that seismically negative development to happen? People who bought iPhones did. You shouldn't buy one, it only encourages more of this sort of thing.
Again, this is money moving to reward those who make things worse, not better.
5. Stephen Fry - who knows nothing about technology - really likes it
Here at the Reg we sincerely venerate Stephen Fry - as a comedian. His performances in Blackadder, Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster etc have brought many rays of sunshine into our lives. For these and many other thespian and comedic efforts, Mr Fry has earned his status as an official national treasure.
As a commentator on the sci/tech/biz scene, unfortunately, he doesn't do so well. Sadly he has shown that he has only a very weak grasp - often none at all - on how various technological things actually work. He continually advises the legions of people who hang on his every word to buy Apple products: it would not be unreasonable to say that Fry on his own has done much to help create the modern Apple frenzy - and thus, that he has helped to move billions of dollars needlessly into Cupertino coffers when they could have been providing investments and revenue elsewhere, and helping get the economic recovery going.
Taking technology advice from someone like Stephen Fry is like making decisions by rolling dice or consulting a witch-doctor. Capitalism and democracy, systems which allow important choices to be made by many people rather than just a few, cannot function if this sort of behaviour becomes too widespread.
So take a stand for yourself; for your country; for freedom and western liberalism and economic prosperity. Take a stand in defence of rational behaviour and logic.
Refuse to buy any more iPhones. ®
*One important application for Siri has been its use to compress the voice calls that an iPhone is often unable to handle down to text, which it may actually be able to deliver to the recipient.