Do iPhones slow down when a new version is available?

There is a great conspiracy theory around that Apple have planned obsolescence, ie their iPhones automatically become slower when a new iPhone is about to appear. It is, say the conspiracies, a clever way to get you upgrading.

Whilst this would be illegal and would run the risk of consumers just defecting to a more reliable phone, Google searches would indicate there is some credence to the rumours. Here’s the amount of searches for the term “iPhone slow” by date..

iPhone slow trend
What is key here is that the peaks happen around the release of the next iPhone, and that typically occurs at the same time as a new version of iOS. Certainly I remember hearing lots of people moaning about iOS 7 on the iPhone 4 and 4S when that launched.

Is this just due to customer perception that the phone is slower? Does the phone appear slower when compared to a new box-fresh model? Or perhaps it’s just because they aren’t used to the new software so it takes a little bit longer to do things.

Before anyone moans about Apple bashing, the analyst also had a look at trends for the biggest Android manufacturer – Samsung. Here there is no corresponding peak, just a general upward trend.

Samsung slow trend
Part of this may be due to the fact that Apple make both iOS and iPhone so 90% of all iPhones are on the latest version of software compared to only 18% of Android users. Whether you want to see this as a great conspiracy theory with Apple forcing people to upgrade or just a coincidence due to comparison with new phones, I’ll leave that up to you. :)