We are all consumers. Whether it’s the food we eat, the clothes we wear or the technology we use. We buy the goods, thus feeding the rich companies. We use our purchases until they break, which is generally outside its warranty. If something comes along that’s better we sell them.
Replacing them 12 months later because it’s faster and better than the previous model. We live in a consumerist world intertwined with a capitalistic society. A business degree is not needed in this case! Technology has advanced so much over the past 20 years does it actually help or are we tied in even further?
Consumers of Mobile Phones
Mobile Phones on a contract are a prime example. Understanding the point of view that you sign a contract to pay for your phone over a certain period. To prevent the resale of that phone it’s locked to the provider until you reach the end of the contract.
Fair enough I say. You generally pay over the odds for the said phone but it’s yours to keep after the contract has ended. For some paying £800+ in a one-off payment is rather a lot if you have a family to support. Spreading the cost is a viable alternative for most.
This leads me to the following question:
Cars. Why have I changed the subject to cars?
I’m very lucky to own one, yes, it’s paid for, yes. As a consumer, I have bought and paid for my car. I still have another year left of the manufacturer’s warranty and I’m likely to have it for a long time. My bugbear, so to speak is the technology that comes with the car.
After the warranty has ended something went wrong with it. I can use my local garage to replace mechanical parts. What about the technology, the software? Most local garages have sophisticated computers that detect errors. Can they install new software? It’s very unlikely. Can you as a consumer, who bought the car, update the software? I guess not without having to incur a £90+ an hour charge.
I love technology but have a love/hate relationship with car dealers. They are happy to sell you the car but then once you have parted with your cash the aftersales are somewhat lacking. I would mention names here but I reckon it would make this post quite long!
Dealers can’t keep track of the sheer volume of cars on the road let alone update them to make them secure/safe.
Over the past few years, thieves have targeted keyless entry cars. Thieves use scanning devices to intercept signals. Once received they can drive away in less than 10 seconds. Car manufacturers are addressing this issue in their latest models but what about the older cars on the road? Is it a case of hope and prayer that you don’t become a victim? Does the software that manufacturers use ever come out of beta? Who knows!
In its nanny state, the UK government expects us all to be driving electric cars by 2030-2035. I dread to think what will happen. I’ll come back to that in 10 years. Watch this space…
Another argument, in this case, is computers. I have ranted before about the lack of upgradeability that new Macs offer.
For example my MacBook Pro. It’s fast approaching its 7th Birthday and I’m looking into replacing it, with an iMac. If I had an option of upgrading it myself I would go with the modern version of my own Mac.
This is not the case. Even the new Mac Pro, which has a very professional price tag, of course, isn’t upgradeable. Why call it a pro model? The only DIY upgradable Mac is the upcoming Mac Pro which is likely to be 3 times the price of its predecessor. This article by Mac360 explains all.
It’s another case of consumers tied in and paying the price for more memory and storage. If the SSD or RAM in my current MacBook Pro failed I can replace it at a fraction of the price. If it was to fail and it’s out of warranty then unless you have a repair plan it’s going to cost a lot.
I get that It’s cheaper to solder the parts on the motherboard. If it gets dropped for instance it is less likely to loosen vital parts. This itself should lower the prices of Macs. No, every price is a premium.
iPads are not excluded from this either. Simple price comparison of the 2019 iPad Pro 11″ model 64GB vs 1TB
At the current time of writing. The iPad, Pro 1TB is £550 more than the basic 64GB model which is understandable as a 1TB SD Card is a hefty £464.99. In contrast, the 256GB model is £919 and the price of an SD Card is £82.99. Is your 64GB of storage going to last long as the size of apps increases in years to come? Are you likely to go higher in case? The jump from a 64GB to a 256GB model is £150. It’s a tough decision but there is nothing in-between.
Rant over. Do you know of any other manufacturers that solder components onto the motherboard? Are they cheaper as a result? Do you disagree with any of the above? Do you live outside of the UK? If so, how different is it? Feel free to have your say.