Only A Second Hand iPhone From Now On

Well, it’s not because of the price exactly.

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We as a society are fortunately at the point now where the computing performance of the iPhone is so good that it can replace or forgo entire traditional computers for enough people. It’s plenty enough to drive all our applications and games. What are these modern incarnations of personal computing forgetting to do for us?

Last year In 2018 I bought an iPhone Xr, it came with the fastest processor Apple currently made for iOS and the Xr is equal to the much higher priced Xs Max in day to day use.

It is perfect for what I need it for, and even though it doesn’t come with a second camera lens, I still have my iPhone 7 plus which isn’t that different from the 8+ or the Xs series. The iPhone 7 Plus is also already three years old so the iPhone Xr can clearly last just as long (with battery replacements ;-)). And whatever I can buy second hand after the Xr is going to be an improvement by default of making technological progress.

There is already a huge grey market for Apple iPhones so my idea isn’t original, other people are buying second hand already. I could have bought the 8+ this year but didn’t because I wanted the larger screen. The Xr seemed to have enough advantages over both what it replaced (the 8+) and what was released with it (Xs and XS Max). The Xr purchase has now become my stake in the ground where I had always desired to have at least one new phone every other generation. Now there is no real need, me still using the iPhone 7+ is proof of this and it’s time to enjoy life in the grey market.

I’m not buying second hand to save money per se, I’m not buying second hand to protest against Apple’s prices either. I’m going second hand because as mentioned are good enough so why pay all them dollars anymore for brand new and why pay for the extras that come with the iPhone that are essentially creating more waste.

Waste? You mean the manuals and the power adapter?

Yes, I’m talking about the barebones crap that comes in the box, the same set of manuals that barely anyone reads, the stickers you have to justify sticking somewhere (I’ve ran out of ideas to place mine) and the power adapter stays in the box. I don’t need all that stuff anymore and Apple won’t just sell me an actual naked iPhone like the grey market will. It’s to overlook the packaging when you’re only buying one iPhone, but the scale at which Apple operate today shouldn’t be overlooked when the run off from the in the box accessories isn’t going to be fully utilised

Apple sold 200 million iPhones in 2018*. Did everybody read the manual again? Are you using the weak 5 watt adapter? I didn’t, I have multiple USB cables, external batteries, and USB ports on my computer and my power sockets. Everything other than the phone is surplus to requirement. I can’t be the only one?

Apple could address this problem if they wanted to.

  1. Don’t put the adapters in the box and lower the price enough to simply reflect there is less.

  2. Don’t put the adapters in the box but offer them for free in Apple Stores to anybody who purchases an iPhone if they ask for one.

  3. Remove them entirely and gouge customers further by offering for sale only the Qi charging solutions and power solutions that already exist in the accessories section.

  4. Leave it solely to the 3rd parties to cater to this problem.

Anker the third-party solution for charging iPhones either with external batteries or with specific wall warts is on the recordas saying they would like to build the power solutions for Apple so Apple can put less in the box.

And in the latest episode of the Talkshow, John Gruber and Joanna Stern they were discussing the ideas behind what will Apple do in the future with regards to putting adapters in the box.

Their conversation implied that Apple will continue shipping power adapters in the box regardless.

Now I’m not sure Apple would split up the contents of the iPhone box to another company or have such a basic power adapter as freebie or made into a must have accessory purchase. Then again, the MacBook Pro doesn’t come with the extra length cable either because Apple either wanted to nickel and dime you from what came in that particular box or they are actually being environmentally friendly. I’ll let you decide.

But both conclusions however could easily justify their behaviour towards reducing the waste that comes with selling millions of iPhones.

Putting all the manuals and power adapters in the box is wholly unnecessary now in my opinion, and it creates huge amounts of e-waste simply because of the scale which Apple operates at. Everybody basically has a multitude of means with which to charge their iphones.

And as I get more into zero waste, I’m thinking more and more about how to lessen my impact on this planet while at the same time not necessarily giving up the things that I need with which to operate on this planet. This post reflects one of those ideas. If enough people do the same, Apple might change their practices.

I thought I’d share this idea and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to buy at a cheaper price point that’s going to be better than my phone today while lowering my environmental impact.

*But the phone market shipped 1.5 billion chargers.

It Shouldn’t Take The ‘Crazy Ones’. It Should Be Everyone

This whole iPad isn’t thing.

I wish I saved the blog post I wrote back on my Wordpress account in 2012 about my previous computer purchase. I spent some time praising the joy of owning a retina MacBookPro and I remember typing, “this might be the last laptop I will own”.


This thinking came from all the power and versatility of the device I typed the review on at the time, it was spec’ed with the highest custom options available (about $28,000 HKD at the time). I felt I wouldn’t need another Apple laptop ever again. It felt that powerful in use.

Since that time however, Apple have tried to prove my now half decade old assertion correct. My 2012 purchase still feels greatly justified against the newest iterations of the rMBP. Everything after 2015 feels like a bigger than normal compromise one would want to make with an Apple product. Normally the balance in new features against the removal of the old ones works itself out. These newest devices haven’t had their “balancing” work itself out still and Apple won’t save face by adding back some legacy just to make it easier

Clearly Apple think they’re on the right path with their laptops. Who am I to argue? Seriously though, the MacBook Pro’s are a no-go for me

What else then could I upgrade to instead? I figured the iMac, (I know not a portable) actually was the next most appropriate because the price to performance ratio was much better and I’d only need one bloody dongle to move forward judging by the peripherals I own and the legacy ports still available to the iMac.

The October Event

The 2018 iMac update didn’t come as many presumed it would, Apple updated other we were crowing about and consequently the prices on those devices rose, just like with the MacBook Pro’s. This gave me reason to be concerned; that Apple is going to do this with the iMac line. Time will tell on that front.

The iPad was also updated and judging the product from the event’s marketing, it was supposed to be faster than any current laptop (around 92% to be exact) on the market and be a replacement for a laptop.

My laptop has been off the market since 2015 so I did some mental calculations that made an iPad Pro purchase seem like the logical choice in terms of its low price (relative to what’s available and what I paid six years ago for my main machine).

Ironically those “relatives” allowed me to sidestep the conversation people were having about the increased price of the new iPads because my personal circumstances gave me different criteria to compare against. The cost of computing for me, actually got cheaper, by a third.


A 2012 MacBook Pro at $28,000 divided by 6 years of ownership equals to $4,666 per year. Using that as my baseline a $18,000 purchase (the 1TB iPad Pro* including pencil, stand, keyboard, 4TB WiFi hard drive) over 6 years would come out at $3,000 per year.

I think it’s reasonable, not just for me, but for anyone, it’s prudent to think longer term for computing purchase and it’s not out of the question to realise an iPad can be still be useful after 4 years. Heck the current iPad mini still sold by Apple hasn’t seen an update since September 2015. Apple seem to think so to. Again who am I to argue? :-)

I think I need to make another assertion :-p – “I can keep this iPad as my main machine for the next four years at least”.

The big conversation online however is whether an iPad can replace a laptop. This conversation was held previously for laptops replacing desktops and look what happened, nobody cares now.

At the moment people care again about going from laptop to tablet, while others clearly see the power of the alternative in an iPad.

What do I do on a laptop that CAN be done on an iPad?

Two things slowed my 6 year old laptop down, editing video with Final Cut Pro and browsing Reddit.

Those two things CAN and are being replaced as Jonathan Morrison recently illustrated to his large audience and Henny Tha Bizness has been showing how he works on an iPad since before this year’s conversation about whether creative work is possible on the iPad really kicked into gear.

Apart from some asides (Xcode), there really is no excuse or argument against not seeing a large subset of non-traditional (pilots, medical staff and sports tacticians) and traditional professionals (photographers, video and drawing artists) alike, using the iPad Pro in some sophisticated ways. People are proving it today, not later when iOS 13 supposedly will fix everything wrong with the iPad.

I’ve already edited my next YouTube video with an iPad and it was faster than I thought. Of course because the hardware is enabling me more than my laptop can but in addition, the capability of Luma Fusion in this case for manipulating said video is also making possible.

The desktop to laptop transition was an easy one because the UI paradigms and desktop metaphors kinda stayed the same across all the platforms during that time.

This next transition from laptop to tablet requires not only newer UI workflows, but pioneering, creative minds that say ‘yes’ in the face of a chorus of ‘no’ or ‘not yet’.

I’m saying yes, and my bank account agrees with me.

*As a general purchasing rule I believe buying the very most is the wisest thing to do when making an Apple purchase. It grants you longevity while using the computer and removes any performance doubts if you had skimped on an upgrade.

#NoinNovember 2018 Edition

Inspired by Joe Rogan’s ‘Sober October’ event, which is becoming yearly and slightly more sophisticated, I’ve followed along with great interest and wanted to continue with a second month of self-reflection. Joe Rogan is doing a workout challenge between friends to get them all into shape and sacrifice vices for the month, whereas mine began with some vices (on top of the fact I don’t really drink or smoke) and eliminating bad habits, now it’s about expanding on what I’ve kept doing since last November’s efforts, and adding to them.

My efforts are therefore cumulative.

So this year, I won’t be saying no to thirty things again like last year (30 days, 30 things), and instead saying “no” in various ways by wrapping up my self-imposed challenges into groups and theming them. Attempting it this year feels smaller in scale, but it’s actually adding to what I’ve done, enabling me to climb higher and stay on track with a more positive and meaningful lifestyle and set of choices.

So to begin with what can seem cheesy but i’m going to type it anyway, because I want to be upfront, let’s say no to negativity. For that I’m:

Not choosing the emotional route that leads to less anger (1), the daily events brought to me for example by commuting certainly make me look up at the MTR ceiling in frustration, I’m going to try and do away with that. Commuting is most definitely the most stressful part of my job. I’m also going to make no negative assumptions (2), I’ll just make an effort to ask and enquire to make sure (it’s not like I do this all the time but it’s useful to raise the skill level on that aspect of my character).

Something that really grinds me down are Twitter or Reddit comments that are misinterpreted and then getting sucked into explaining in text form which has further potential to be misunderstood or pointlessly argued because we’re all interpreting the tone of one’s texts. I’m simply not replying to anyone on the Internet via text (3), thereby cutting my engagement time with the related apps also.

Just this week for example, Jonathan Morrison (no relation) put out a video showing how people can’t tell the difference between an iPhone Xr screen and another screen that was on a technical level “better”. This video is in reaction to many people (measurebators) complaining about the low quality screen in the iPhone Xr. Turns out in a blind test everybody opted for the Xr screen because many other qualities matter beyond owning a 1080p screen. Check out the video here -

I’ll admit I replied to a few people on Reddit regarding this issue, but I consider that time first of all, wasted and second, those I’m replying too are full of shit so why am I bothering? (Though honestly, my point was that I didn’t care about the quality of the screen as the tech is the same as every other iPhone since the iPhone 4 and I’ve never had a problem prior, why should I worry now, especially as it’s so subjective).

To piggy back off not replying, I’m also going to concentrate more on reading (4). Last year I culled who I followed on Twitter and attempted to remove as much news from America as possible and not get caught up in the now of current events which I consider for the most part, a waste of time and events unfold and most opinions in the moment are reactionary, instead of informed. I’m aware reflection and long form is more important, so this year I’m refining how I expose myself on social media and considering my own thoughts more. *You can also see I’m lumping a few things together to achieve this, I don’t really want to create a list of ‘do nots’ this year.

This brings me back to focus, it’s something I’m always trying to hone in on. I want to remove all lack of focus for the month and try to build and sustain this habit beyond just November. “A good habit is just as easy to keep around as a bad one” as my lecturer used to say. Saying, “I’ll do X for 1 hour a day”, is really simple and powerful, because its *just an hour* and overall I’m devoting 30 hours over the entire month!

These are the things I want to break down into chunks to end up in a better place than next month.

  1. An hour a day of exercise (5).

  2. Stop using electronic devices an hour before bedtime (In this case, I’ve lost an hour which is good!) (6).

  3. At least 1 hour of video editing (7).

  4. One hour of going to bed early, my new bedtime is 9pm (8).

  5. At least 5 minutes of meditation and stretching each day (9).

There are two more things which are very personal and that involves someone I love, to be more mindful towards her and rein myself in: First, don’t say no to Rea (10), and the second is to show her how much I appreciate her for the next 30 days (11). 

This whole challenge isn’t just about making me better immediately on the inward, but also on the outward.

So there we have it, 11 things to bring me forward this year into the next. I did put a call out on Periscope to see if others would want to join in. The response to my efforts were few, but those few that did respond hopefully will see through whatever they want to do for the month and I hope they get back with me in December.