Is the Apple iPhone ‘Good’ Technology?

The Apple iPhone (v12) scored 4-stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ on the ‘Good Technology Index’ (GTI).

On 29 May 2021, in an initial GTI-club review (what could be considered a ‘non-expert’ public-vote using and testing a newly created Good Technology Index assessment template).

In more detail, the Apple iPhone (v12) scored +62 (out of a range of -100 to +100) from the 20-factors of the Good Technology Index. Detail on the specific 20-factor scores is included below.

Introducing the ‘Good Technology Index’ (GTI)

Before we get deeper into the discussion of whether the Apple iPhone (12) is ‘good’ technology? Here is a brief introduction of the GTI rating (assessment) model and how it came about.

In a Clubhouse room in March 2021 discussing technology, Carl Im suggested “why isn’t there a quantitative index of good technology?” It was a great question, and shortly afterwards the ‘Good Technology Index’ (GTI) Club was born on Clubhouse, with a plan of creating a model (a scoring template) for assessing the ‘good-ness’ of a given technology (field, company or product).

The ‘Club’ itself is an experiment to see if a discussion-group can come together over time to produce a usable and expanding output. Regularly debating what makes for ‘Good Technology’ and exploring specific fields, companies and products. A model that could be used for self-assessment, public-voting, and expert review, in both a detailed factor-based assessment, and a heuristic and simple representation.

You can see some of the progression, and the model from links on the GTI Page. This ‘public review’ (non-expert assessment) of the Apple iPhone (v12) is in many ways more of a ‘sense check’ of the GTI-model. As the inaugural review, it demonstrates the ubiquity of the iPhone and it’s iconography as a ‘bench-mark’, our first review and a result for other technologies to aspire to.

Is the Apple iPhone (v12) ‘Good’ technology?

The Apple iPhone (v12) scored 4-stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ on the ‘Good Technology Index’ (GTI).

Reiterating, on 29 May 2021, in an initial GTI-club review (what could be considered a ‘non-expert’ public-vote using and testing a newly created Good Technology Index assessment template).

In more detail, the Apple iPhone (v12) scored +62 (out of a range of -100 to +100) from the 20-factors of the Good Technology Index. Detail on the specific 20-factor scores is included below.

The Review Detail

Over six-meetings and two-months, the Good Technology Index Club on Clubhouse developed a 20-Factor assessment model, to enable structured and largely quantifiable discussion on what makes for ‘goodness’ in technological advancement.

The GTI 20-Factor Model, is shown in graphic form below.

The 29 May 2021 meeting, which looked at the Apple iPhone (v12) was both a public-vote on Apple’s performance, as well as more importantly, a ‘sense-check’ on the applicability of the model to what is a well-known and iconic technology, and our (the Club’s) inaugural bench-marking exercise.

Individual 20-Factor Scores – Apple iPhone v12

HUMAN IMPACT : SCORE +14 (from -20 to +20)

HUMAN BENEFIT (-8 to +8 points) SCORE 6
How beneficial is the technology to the human’s impacted by it? 
Very strong result, two-point deduction for issues relates to time-consumption, user-addiction, privacy and abuse concerns and negative impacts on personal relationships, road-safety and human rest.

What is the dominant experience for users of the technology? 
Perfect score. Although there is always inflation in the expectations of technology, Apple sets an envious benchmark for quality of user-experience and is at the apex of providers of joy and utility.

Is the technology equitable in its human inclusivity and diversity? 
Apple continues to improve, although two-points deducted for socio-economic (cost) barriers, residual disability issues, and the indirect consequences for cultural and language centricity and bias.

HEALTHY (-2 to +2 points) SCORE 0
Is the technology beneficial to human health outcomes? 
Neutral score here. Major health benefits from access, integrations and health-tech, counterbalanced unfortunately by sleep, back/neck, mental-health and other direct and indirect negative consequences.

ENVIRONMENT IMPACT : SCORE +4 (from -20 to +20)

SUSTAINABLE (-8 to +8 points) SCORE 3
Are the development and environmental outcomes for the technology sustainable? 
Respectable score from efforts to recycle rare-earth, plastics and other components. Five-points deducted for the residual significant environmental requirements, packaging, obsolescence, and power impacts.

PROTECTIVE (-6 to +6 points) SCORE -1
Is the technology protective of its environment at large? 
Although there are significant ‘apps’, access benefits, and (indirect) environmental protection outcomes, there is little direct focus on environmental protection and some clearly damaging impacts.

BIO-DIVERSE (-4 to +4 points) SCORE 1
Does the technology recognise, encourage and protect bio-diversity? 
Significant benefit comes indirectly from remote connectivity, camera-tech and specialist bio-diversity apps, however the iPhone is homogeneous and human centered with little direct positive impact.

PRECAUTIONARY (-2 to +2 points) SCORE 1
Does the technology take precautions to ensure unintended or collateral harm is prevented? 
Although far from an internal or expert review, credit has been given for environmental progress which is indicative of taking a consultative approach and listening to challenging environmental concerns.


POWER AND UTILITY (-8 to +8 points) SCORE 7
How significant is the technology solution in overall functional power and utility? 
Apple has been at the forefront of mobile phone innovation, device utility and technology effectiveness. One point has been deducted for progressive role-out, costing barriers, versioning and deliberate limits.

Does the technology have significant impact from innovation, novelty or advancement? 
The iPhone is a collection of individually novel and innovative components. In combination it has its own significant and transformation novelty and innovation. One-point short of a perfect score.

What is the production quality of the technology? 
Apple is also highly regarded for production quality, design and technical quality. One point has been deducted for screen replacement, battery replacement and other modular/repair and maintenance costs.

Is the technology flexible, adaptable and changeable to suit its range or purpose? 
The majority of the flexibility and adaptability is expressed in a strong model upgrade path. One point deducted for the monetization of what could also be delivered with more direct user utility.

TEMPORAL MEASURES : SCORE +16 (from -20 to +20)

Is the technology effective and efficient in delivering its intended benefits? 
The Apple iPhone has given the world and its users significant effectiveness and efficiency improvements, allowing dramatic societal change. Two points deducted for gamification and innate waste/inefficiencies.

LASTING IMPACT (-6 to +6 points) SCORE 6
Will the technology have a significant duration and scope of impact? 
Perfect score. The Apple iPhone is an iconic demonstration of disruption, transformation and innovation resulting in societal change. It has already has a lasting and ubiquitous impact that is likely to continue.

Is the technology available for use and reliable in its delivery of benefit? 
Smart Phones, and specifically the Apple iPhone are readily available, accessible and generally reliable. One point is deducted for some fragility, residual battery-life issues and socio-economic exclusivity.

MAINTAINABLE (-2 to +2 points) SCORE 1
Is the technology easy to maintain, retain, upgrade and support? 
Generally the iPhone scores well. One point deducted for difficulties for elderly and neurally-diverse audiences, the monetized model-based upgrade path, and cost/access to support. Good result.

ETHICS AND VALUES : SCORE +12 (from -20 to +20)

MORAL INTENT (-8 to +8 points) SCORE 6
Are the values and ethical intent of the technology beneficent or maleficent? 
Apple has generally expressed and exhibited positive humanist and moral intent. Two points deducted for low-cost economy production, resulting safety issues, excessive tax minimization and profit focus.

TRANSPARENCY (-6 to +6 points) SCORE 4
Is the technology, its benefit, its aims and ownership clearly and accurately communicated? 
Similar to moral intent. Apple has a solid track record on communication, corporate honesty and transparency of purpose and actions. Two points deducted for some residual shortcomings.

GOVERNANCE (-4 to +4 points) SCORE 2
Is the control, sovereignty, and governance of the technology of high integrity? 
There have been management, human-resources, production and outsourcing issues and other moderate failures or shortcomings in governance, however in general Apple scores well on this metric. 

ACCOUNTABILITY (-2 to +2 points) SCORE 0
Is there quality oversight, accountability and review processes for the technology? 
The sheer scale of Apple and its international power has created issues in relation to taxation, other contributions and use of corporate power, with largely only internal and limited market accountability.

For slightly more detail on the metrics themselves (without the Apple descriptions), refer to the GTI-Rubric Summary from a previous GTI-Club meeting.

Summary of the Result

The Apple iPhone (v12) is the first technology to be reviewed using the Good Technology Index assessment model (rubric). So the score of 62 (from -100 to +100) which translates to 4-stars (from a possible 5) has no comparative context as yet.

However this would seem to be a very positive result, as one would expect from this ubiquitous, successful and mostly highly-regarded product.

The Apple iPhone (v12) scored best on Functionality (16 points) and Time Benefits (16 points) and also scored well on Human Benefit (14 points) and Ethical Performance (12 points). The only area that did not score well was Environmental Benefits (4 points), a challenging area for smart-phones and personal-tech equipment, and an area that could still be improved further.

Where to from here?

Since this was the inaugural review, by the Good Technology Index (GTI) club – on Clubhouse – we will be reassessing these results during the next meeting (Saturday, 5 June 2021, 9am AEST) – hearing reasons to adjust both the assessment template and this preliminary Apple iPhone (v12) result.

In future meetings, the club will be assessing other technology and over-time this will create better comparisons, within similar areas of technology. We will also be welcoming self-reviews by technology providers (Apple experts invited), other public-votes, and expert reviews and commentary, that will also find a home outside of the Clubhouse discussion environment.

It is also expected that existing and ongoing technologies will be ‘re-reviewed’ periodically.

Join the ‘Good Technology Index’ Club on Clubhouse and make any comments below.

David Warwick
Convenor – Good Technology Index Club
31 May 2021


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