Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, talked about the new environmentally-friendly aspects of the new iPhones, like recycled tin in the processors. She also mentioned how iOS 12 could lead to more sustainable iPhones.
Apple realizes that customers are holding on to their iPhones longer, and Ms. Jackson says this is a good thing. The company made sure that iOS 12 could be stable enough to run on older devices.
…we also make sure to design and build durable products, that last as long as possible. That means long lasting hardware, coupled with amazing software. All of these devices, including the iPhone 5S, run iOS 12, and iOS 12 is designed to make your iPhone and iPad experience even better, even more responsive, faster… just better! And because they last longer, you can keep using them. And keeping using them is the best thing for the planet.
The old product cycle is changing your iPhone model every two years or so. But the increased prices of iPhones, combined with the longevity of iOS 12, means that people will be less likely to upgrade as often.
The new upgrade cycle might start to look something like every four to five years instead. In that cycle, spending US$1000 every 4-5 years instead of US$600-700 every two years is cheaper, and better for the planet.