Ever since I started intentionally writing about “obsolescence by design” way back in 2011, it’s been a regularly-revisited theme in my writeups. The reason why has a lot to do with my predominant editorial beat, consumer electronics. After all, as I’ve seemingly mentioned innumerable times since launching this blog in 2005, consumer-electronics manufacturers as a rule make scant (if any) profit on each unit sold, especially after subtracting the “percentage” taken by retailer intermediaries. Revenue tangibly accrues only as a function of unit volume, not from per-unit profit margin.
Initial-sale revenue is sometimes supplemented by after-sale firmware-unlocked feature set updates, services, and other add-ons. But more often than not, a manufacturer’s path to ongoing fiscal stability involves straightforwardly selling you a brand new replacement/upgrade unit down the road; cue obsolescence by design for the unit currently in your possession. However catchy that phrase may be, however, I realized in sitting