Apple at it again: Mountain Lion slashes the past

by on Feb.20, 2012, under Ars Technica, Gaming, resale

Honestly, after owning a jailbroken, unlocked iPhone, it’s hard to feel any surprise at just how far Apple will go to destroy the resale market. Owning an Apple device in any other way than approved routes (READ: Buying whatever is brand new with whatever data package, carrier, software, and data Apple has deemed suitable) is nothing short of a burden.

And this is coming from a guy who LOVES his Mac and iPod. I hate that I love them sometimes, but I do indeed love them, because I can spend my time working, creating, and producing rather than fixing stuff (my inevitable fate when using PCs for many previous years).

However, what Ars Technica calls the “iOS-ification” of the OSX operating system is turning a creative platform into a digital shopping mall. Y’know, the mass consumption, dopamine-releasing pile of crap that the Net is turning into. When I work on a computer (and it is indeed work), I don’t want to consume or be spoon-fed everything from my news to my culture. But this is the seemingly inevitable fate of Apple’s upcoming operating system dubbed Mountain Lion.

Back to killing resale: it seems that Mountain Lion will not run on older hardware. This is nothing new, I realize. Good luck running the latest blockbuster video game on a five-year-old laptop; you’ll get a slew of errors. But in the latter case, it’s because the demands of the game’s graphics exceed the capacity of your computer’s hardware. This is not necessarily the case with Mountain Lion. Let’s get real here: Mountain Lion will not REQUIRE hardware any more advanced than any other iteration of OSX, even from years before.

So why won’t it run on that old hardware? That’s easy: because Apple wants you to buy newer shit. That’s it. It – like so many other companies - cannibalizes its past products to force consumption of its latest products. This is weighed against the inexorable disappointment consumers feel, but is found worthwhile for the bottom line.

Buying a new Mac is exciting, fun, and releases that sought-after dopamine like no PC can. What you don’t know is that the moment you leave the store with your purchase, Apple will expend every resource possible to make sure that your new hardware is defunct and worthless. That YOU will think it worthless, the moment the next iteration hits the shelves. Apple’s long game is cyclical consumption, not customer satisfaction or long-lasting products.

That doesn’t mean Macs don’t last long. They do. But any older Mac will have no support. Will very quickly find no possible upgrades available. And will thus have few to no re-sale buyers. That’s the key. That’s the goal for Apple: that the first buyer is the last buyer, and that he considers his Apple hardware nothing but junk the moment the next big thing graces the Apple Store shelves.

What does this reflect? A vituperation of the right to resale. Of the first-sale doctrine. Of our ability to have our hardware and software continue to operate after the latest product releases. After we’re done using it, but someone else could find all they need in it. This is what Apple has grown determined to destroy.

My response: I never buy Apple products new. Not any more. I make it a point to buy only used Mac, iPods, or other hardware. I buy my software straight from the company that created it, not from the uber-convenient but wholly unnecessary AppStore, where Apple gets 40% for railroading its own customers.

We have the right to resale. We surrender this right at our own peril. It isn’t small or insignificant or unimportant. It’s only made to appear that way by companies who want you to buy their shit.

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