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Here’s how often Apple assumes you’ll upgrade an iPhone, iPad and Watch

Although Apple likes to push its annual hardware updates like the second coming, it is under no assumption that most people are updating every year… or even every two years.

According to information published on Apple’s environment website (via CNET) the company assumes first owners of iOS and watchOS devices will hang onto their gadgets for an average of three years.

Meanwhile, it expects Mac OS X and tvOS (Apple TV) devices to be used for four years at a time.

The information comes in a section explaining how Apple conducts its Product Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment.

The company writes: “Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices. More information on our product energy use is provided in our Product Environmental Reports.”

Related: iPhone 8

Apple’s numbers are definitely food for thought. We’d expect Macs to remain in the hands of their first owners for longer than four years.

However, given the structure of mobile phone contracts, we’d also expect iPhone use to average less than three years.
Perhaps the comparative longevity of iPad use is evening things out?


If you’re wondering what other metrics Apple uses to determine its effects on the environment, allow us to summarise

In production, there are measurements of the entire product with data on part production along with yield loss.

Transportation data is accounted for by tallying land, sea and air shipping of single product and bulk runs. It also accounts for transporting from manufacturing sites to hubs. Recycling is also tallied through treatment steps to reclaim materials.

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