A study by the the Columbia Business School has concluded that consumers grow more reckless with their iPhones when they are seeking an excuse to upgrade to a new model. The study – jointly conducted by three professors of marketing, psychology and business – was based on both consumer interviews and a dataset showing how incidents of lost iPhones coincide with the launch of new models …

Carelessness and neglect toward currently owned products stem from a desire to justify the attainment of upgrades without appearing wasteful. A series of studies with actual owners of a wide range of different goods (e.g., durable, consumable, functional, and hedonic products) and evidence from a real-word dataset of lost Apple iPhones demonstrate how the availability of product upgrades increases cavalier behavior toward possessions. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that product neglect in the presence of attractive upgrades can occur without deliberate intentions.

Data on lost iPhones showed that they peaked immediately prior to the launch of a new one, with consumers also admitting to being less careful with their devices when a new model was available, reports Mashable.

“We would feel guilty about upgrading without a reason—but if our current product were damaged or depleted, we’d have a justification to upgrade without appearing wasteful,” Bellezza of Columbia said in a statement. “So, we use our phone in the rain or leave our laptop behind at airport security without being aware that our carelessness has an underlying motivation.”

Of course, as iPhones and other iDevices grow more waterproof, we may have to get more creative in our ‘accidents’ …


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear