Joe Rogan and Marques Brownlee Talk Nonsense About Apple’s “Batterygate”

Tech guy Marques Brownlee visited Joe Rogan’s podcast and at one point the topic turned to Apple and planned obsolescence:

Rogan has a tendency to talk with authority on topics he doesn’t really know anything about and this is a perfect example of that. However, you’d think that Brownlee would be more knowledgeable on the topic and correct Rogan, but he does not. Here’s Rogan to start:

I’m so sour on Apple because of what they did with the batteries. That was such a dirty thing to me because everybody had always suspected, like my friend Brian was always like dude, I’m telling you when the new phones come out your old phone starts moving slower, it’s a conspiracy that’s all horseshit, like your phone is just old bro but then when I found out that it was real I was like you asshole, it’s pretend.

What’s being talked about here is the so-called “Batterygate” situation in which it was discovered that Apple throttles performance on devices with degraded batteries specifically to prevent them from turning off. Rogan is spinning this to make it seem like there’s hard evidence that Apple is engaging in planned obsolescence, when no such evidence exists.

Brownlee responds:

The problem was the way they didn’t tell people. Like, they could’ve just avoided, like, the whole, whatever, PR … whatever we want to call it, by just telling people: Look, this is what we do when your phone is getting older, we need to preserve either the CPU or the battery, so we need to either voltage down the CPU or save your battery, pick one, and give us the choice.

This is a bit of a nonsensical statement, the CPU performance is being throttled specifically to save the battery, but I’m assuming Brownlee meant to say you can pick between full CPU performance or preserving battery life. However, this still demonstrates that Brownlee doesn’t understand what the actual issue was. The throttling specifically happens to prevent the phone from turning off in the event that the CPU requires more power from the battery than it can currently output, in its degraded state. So, the choice is between throttled CPU performance or a phone that turns off.

Rogan: But I don’t buy it. I think it’s a trick to try to get you to buy new phones. […] Why else would they do it that way? Why else wouldn’t they just let the battery be slower? Or let the CPU be slower?

Again, Rogan doesn’t, in any way, understand what he’s talking about. Apple does, specifically, make the CPU slower, that is exactly what people are complaining about!

Brownlee: They give you the choice now, but if you never look for it, you’ll never find it, and they definitely still default to saving your battery by underclocking the chip. So your phone will still slow down if you don’t know where to find that option.

And again, Brownlee is missing the crucial information that this only happens when the phone would otherwise turn off. I am not claiming that Apple does not engage in planned obsolescence, but if you want to claim that they do, you have to provide actual proof if you want anyone to take you seriously.