iPhone Slowdown Conspiracy Revealed

A new study out of Harvard University claims that Apple may be deliberately sabotaging its older iPhones prior to the next release.

Writing for the New York Times, Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan outlined Laura Trucco's findings on the Apple conspiracy. "I often grumble to my graduate students that every time a new iPhone comes out, my existing iPhone seems to slow down. How convenient, I might think: Wouldn't many business owners love to make their old product less useful whenever they released a newer one?" wrote Mullainathan. Trucco, one of Mullainathan's Ph.D. students, wanted to find out if the iPhone slowdown was real or not after Mullainathan had voiced this theory. Trucco took to Google Trends to do some research, cross-referencing release dates of new phones against user searches for "iPhone slow." The results were "striking," said Mullainathan. There are six distinct spikes in searches for "iPhone slow" that directly correlate with the release of a new iPhone.

While this data does not mean that the phones are actually slowing down, it does show that users all feel as if their phone becomes suddenly slower following a new release. To test if this data was merely a feeling, or a psychological effect, that translated across all smartphone brands, Trucco examined the Samsung Galaxy phones. When she looked up release dates in relation to "Samsung Galaxy slow," the trend did not continue; there were no defined spikes for each new release. While this may lead many to believe that Apple is trying to pull one over on users, it is worth noting that every new iPhone release has come with a major operating system release which may cause slowdown on older devices. The question here is: Is Apple intentionally slowing down its older devices or is it merely a side effect of optimizing the operating system? Apple has declined to comment on the matter.

Photo: © Creative Commons - Flickr: mikecogh.