If I Needed a New Phone or Computer

screenshot of my laptop's battery status that says "condition replace soon"

Besides the little stud earring that never leaves my right lobe, and the metal bar adhered to my bottom teeth, no objects are part of my life the way my laptop and phone are.

My laptop is a late 2013 13-inch MacBook Pro retina purchased in 2014. My phone is an iPhone X purchased in 2017—the year it was released.

I can accomplish all the writing, thinking, reading, editing, making, and researching I need to do with them*. They function. I am so grateful for both of these devices every day. When the below message appeared, fantasies of purchasing something New formed in my brain.

screenshot of my laptop's battery status that says "condition replace soon"

A battery replacement might cost $100, but I don't think I could fix it alone, would the end-cost including labor even be worth it? Let's fantasize, research, and overthink a little.

What laptop I would buy if I were buying one today

It probably wouldn't be another Apple laptop. I would and maybe will probably buy a Framework laptop. It's a laptop designed to be The Most Easy Ever to repair, with replacement parts easily available from their site. Neat! My fantasy would be to buy a mid-range model, run Ubuntu on it, and live out my free software only fantasies. Given the repairability I wonder how does one know when to get a fully new laptop? Once you buy it, do you keep upgrading the parts that break until you die, when someone else will inherit it? Shouldn't that be how all manufactured things are built? Haven't enough can openers been constructed to serve humanity?

The next phone I'd like to buy

The Fairphone, currently isn't available to be purchased in the United States, but maybe my friend Gabriel who lives in Dublin could buy and ship me one????! The draw here is that the company is setting out to manufacturer phones in an ethical way, mining, manufacturing, everything! While there is sometimes a feeling I have of poor taste about companies that intensely market their "environmentalism" I'm glad there's at least one company setting a bar somewhere. With this phone you can buy replacement parts from them, and easily fix problems yourself—or even upgrade! Replacing your portable device's battery, woah!!

How much should one spend?

At times when I think about society's near-requirement to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on these devices needed to access life (the things that are online are life, not separate) I say to myself "how unfair this world of ours is."

Then I remember that I use these things nearly all day every day.

a screenshot of my iphone homescreen with a weekly report notification that says i've spent an average of 24 hours a day on my phone.
this is impossible, right?

The things I use the most also being the most expensive things I own, in a way feels appropriate.

Or just I just buy something secondhand?

This is where I really start to spiral. Why ever buy the newest thing from one of the largest companies in the world, when on eBay or BackMarket last year's model is available half the cost? When the state of the world is what it is, don't we have enough? I buy white shirts brand new because I need them to be but most of my other clothes are second hand? Do I even own anything? It feels as though I am simply licensing, renting from Apple as soon as one device is paid off it's time to get a new one, and then what?

Although Apple's anthropomorphic propaganda about recycling implies that like composting, when you're done with your phone it can be restored to be like its pre-manufactured, raw material state and turned into the future's products...we know it's not true.

In Conclusion

Capitalism and its false scarcity, is so terrible. I am going to cherish my devices, and I hope you do too. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, or felt like it didn't fulfill what you needed, give this essay a peep-through.

* The only major exception here is livestreaming with OBS but that's OK at this moment.