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It’s exciting when gadgets are updated with shinier, more advanced features. However, there can be a downside. With Moore’s Law in mind, newer and faster processors and upgraded components will likely push older gadgets into obsolescence.
It’s the tech world’s version of the circle of life.
But is it planned obsolescence? Believe it or not, all of the big hitters in the consumer electronic world have end-of-life terms for the products they manufacture. This means after a set amount of time, as required by law, they can cease and are no longer required to provide support for your favorite “antique” and “vintage” gizmo.
Apple has two tiers of end-of-life products, vintage and obsolete.
According to its support page,”Vintage products are those that have not been manufactured for more than five and less than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued hardware service for vintage products…”
Apple gadgets that have recently crossed this threshold are the iPhone 4 and the 2010 13-inch MacBook Air. This means that you can’t get hardware parts service and support from any Apple Store or Genius Bar to fix that gorgeous steel and glass iPhone 4 you’ve been rocking since 2011. If it breaks for whatever reason, third-party tinkerers will be your only option.
That is unless you purchased your iPhone 4 (or 2010 MacBook Air) in Turkey or California. In these areas, “as required by statute,” Apple is obliged to offer service and repair support for up to seven years.
After this final seven-year-period is up, Apple categorizes its older gadgets as obsolete, regardless of where you purchased them.
Apple states, “Obsolete products“ are those that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Monster-branded Beats products are considered obsolete regardless of when they were purchased. Apple has discontinued all hardware service for obsolete products with no exceptions.”
This means you can’t even get repair parts from Apple for your seven-year-old or more iPod, Macbook, iMac, Mac Mini, iPhone or any Apple peripheral you may have.
To view a complete list of obsolete Apple products, check this page.
Google likewise has an official end of life policy for their supported products, including Android and Chrome devices.
For the Nexus line of Android gadgets, Google will provide “Android version updates for at least two years from when the device became available on the Google Store. After two years, we can’t guarantee additional updates.” This means if your Android phone is more than two years old, regardless if it’s Nexus or not, it positively won’t get Nougat.
However, Google will still issue security patches for Nexus gadgets “for at least three years from when the device first became available, or at least 18 months from when the Google Store last sold the device, whichever is longer.”
Also, because of Android’s fragmentation, it still depends on the manufacturer and the carrier on how long the updates and support will be offered for a specific model.
Check out which Android phones are definitely getting Nougat.
Google’s end of life duration for education approved Android tablets is at least three years and five years for Chrome devices from the launch of hardware. This means that current Chromebooks will be obsolete within five years or less down the road.
According to Google’s official End of Life support page, “when a device reaches End of Life (EOL), it means that the product model is considered obsolete and automatic software updates from Google are no longer guaranteed.”
With other Android products, “the End of Sale date is controlled by the OEM (manufacturer) of the device model and has no relation to model’s EOL date.”
To view Google’s End of Life policy and a list of the EOL dates for Chromebooks and Android for Education tablets, click here.
For the Nexus line, check this page out.
Windows software also has lifecycles. Microsoft’s lifecycle ” begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported.”
This end of support date for Windows refers to the day where patches, service packs, updates or tech support will no longer be offered for a specific version of the software.
The life expectancy seems to vary but XP was supported until April 2014. Windows 7 will have “extended support” until 2020, Windows 8’s mainstream support ends in January 2018 and its extended support in 2023.
Windows 10 will enjoy mainstream support until October 2020 with extended support lasting through October 2025.
Check out Microsoft Window’s lifecycles and end of sales policy with OEM manufacturers with this link.
These are just a few of the major software and hardware companies who have end-of-life policies for their products. Remember, it is also for your safety. Before buying a gadget, make sure that you do your research and check the warranty, support and update cycles for your gadget. If you are not getting the latest security patches and bug fixes anymore, you will be exposing yourself to exploits and threats that may get you down the line.