Apple assumes you'll toss the Watch after three years

And bin kit running 'MacOS', whatever that is, after four


Apple has dropped a little hint about the expected working lives of its products, suggesting its Watch will only be used for three years.

The three year timeframe gets a mention in a document Cupertino released today titled More answers to your questions about Apple and the environment. One section of the document answer the question “How does Apple conduct its Product Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment?” The digested answer is that Apple considers the greenhouse gases made during manufacturing, transport, recycling and power consumed when the product is used.

For the latter assessment, Apple says it does the following:

“Daily usage patterns are specific to each product and are a mixture of actual and modeled customer use data. Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for MacOS and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.”

The Register reads that as suggesting Macs and Apple TVs are typically used for four years before being Shut Down for the last time, while iPhones and iPads generally last three.

But the three year figure for watchOS is interesting, because the device has only been around for a year. Yet Apple's already using “actual and modeled” data to suggest users will ditch it after three years*.

That's not a terrifying refresh cycle – plenty of organisations turn over their PCs on three or four year cycles and the bill of materials for a computer probably exceeds that of a smartwatch handily. But the Apple Watch costs US$300, a price band normally associated with timepieces built to last.

Apple's smartwatch, however, doesn't appear destined to become an heirloom to be passed down through the generations.

The quote we've highlighted above also mentions “MacOS”. Apple's a company that pays great attention to detail, so we're assuming that's not a mistaken contraction of “Mac OS X El Capitan”. Apple fanbois are frothing at the possibilities of what an intentional name change might mean. ®

* Or the first owner will pass it on to someone else. But why measure only the environmental impact of one user? Hardly rigorous!

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