I, too, noticed this bit in the Apple keynote and was trying to figure out my thoughts about it.
This article puts it’s all so succinctly I just have to bookmark it.
It is true that as smartphones become more capable and the market matures, a lot of lay people are finding less reasons for upgrading on a 1-2 year cycle. Instead of artificially limiting the lifespan of its products, Apple is dedicating themselves to creating devices that lasts the mileage.
In this age of consumerism, I think this attitude should be commended.
Of course, this comes at a cost. If Apple is to encourage people to buy at a lower frequency, they’d need to increase the cost of each individual unit.
I’m sure a lot of people would feel my way of thinking to be too optimistic and is attributing too much to Apple. And that may be true. But this doesn’t negate the fact that at the increased cost (which the other brands would follow, I’m sure), people would slow down their tech purchasing. And that, can only be good for the environment.
Edit: And I forgot to credit @bennomatic for originally linking the article.