The online technology content industry circa 2017 churns out mediocre content for the sake of content, analysis or facts be damned. After all, what’s more important than a catchy headline that displays a few more advertisements?
Like a political election on the horizon, the month or two leading up to a new iPhone brings about crazy headlines that pass as news and contrived opinions that pass as analysis. Here’s a good example. A technology website writer said goodbye to his iPhone. Boy, that seldom happens, amirite?
‘Good Enough’ Math
Here’s the story, an old meme made new again in time for iPhone silly season. Rick Broida was an iPhone user and now he’s not. Why? How? He was enticed by the dark side where logic and reason enter into coitus and the resulting mashup is math you won’t recognize.
Could a model that’s less than one-fourth the price of an iPhone possibly deliver the same mobile experience? I decided to find out.
Of course you did. Because nobody in the world knows that Android smartphones cost less than iPhones.
I’ve been an iPhone user since the beginning. Occasionally I’ve dabbled in Android, but my brain just likes iOS better.
Then something is wrong with your brain because we all know it’s marketing hype that keeps Apple on top.
My wallet, however, is increasingly frustrated. Although I’ve been perfectly happy with my iPhone 6S Plus, which I purchased nearly two years ago, the $849 price tag caused me considerable pain. Today’s equivalent — the 7 Plus with 128GB — would run me $869.
OK, let’s do a little math here and mix it with a few assumptions.
Price tags for premium products often cause pain but if you can’t afford it, stay out of the kitchen (mixed metaphors were on sale at Amazon). Of course, Rick could sell his iPhone 6s Plus for as much as $300-$400, so the actual cost of a new iPhone 7s Plus would be $469, not $869.
And, if he just waits a few weeks, the iPhone 8 introduction, along with iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus could drop an iPhone 7 Plus down another $100 or so, so then Rick gets what he wants for perhaps $369 instead.
So when the time comes for a new phone, can I really justify that kind of expense again? Especially when there are countless Android-based phones that cost considerably less? The widely praised OnePlus 5, for example, starts at $479, while the similarly well-regarded Motorola Moto G5 Plus comes in at just $230.
Why would anyone buy an iPhone with that kind of comparison?
Maybe we could do a sidebar field trip to the OnePlus store or the Motorola store to see what they have on sale? Just kidding. They don’t have stores. Rick went to
the Nokia store Amazon and bought a Nokia 6 for $180 and it has positively absolutely everything you can get on an iPhone. It has a screen, a battery, buttons, speaker and headphone jack, and 32GB of storage.
As is usual, you can’t compare Apple to apples because the iPhone 7 Plus comes with base storage set at 128GB, but let’s not compare facts. iPhones are faster, better at water resistance, almost immune to malware, have better cameras, blah blah. Let’s compare value. What’s that iPhone worth next year? More than half the original price. What’s it worth in two years? Condition matters, of course, but let’s go with about half the original price tag.
What’s a Nokia 6 worth next year? Or, the year after? If it started life at $180 in a giveaway promotion let’s assume the worst. $50. Or, $150 if you trade it in on a new Samsung model. Or, you could pay Amazon $50 to get rid of the advertising it sticks onto Prime members.
Because I’m accustomed to Lightning ports, though, I was very tempted to choose a model with a USB-C connector — and very disappointed the Nokia 6 doesn’t have it. I don’t need a week to know that Micro-USB is flat-out evil, as you have to do a close-up inspection every time you insert a charge cable.
iPhone users don’t have that problem. Maybe Rick could take the Nokia 6 to Amazon and have support show him how to use the USB cable. Oh. Wait.
Android still doesn’t have icon badges that show how many unread email, text or voicemail messages you have? That’s insane.
I could go on. In fact, let’s.
Similarly, I love that my password manager (Dashlane) can integrate directly with apps, which makes it infinitely easier to sign into all the services I use regularly.
Mine, too. Imagine that.
Rick goes on to point out that after the first day he still didn’t like Android. What a shame. It’s the most popular operating system in the world after Linux (which is what Android really is). He also loved the less expensive screen vs. the iPhone which is rated at indistinguishable from perfect. Amateur.
What about speed? iPhones are fast. Nokia 6 is fast enough. What about camera? iPhone wins. But who uses a camera on a smartphone?
Don’t expect a low-end phone to offer some of the nicer perks afforded at the high end. To put it in automotive terms, you won’t get heated seats, but you can still count on reliable transportation.
A Kia is not a Lexus or a Camry is not a Tesla.
If your overriding reason for buying a smartphone is the same as the reason to buy a Kia or a Camry, don’t buy an iPhone or a Tesla.
I definitely found myself missing the responsiveness of my iPhone 6S Plus, to say nothing of its better cameras. But here’s the question: Are those things worth the extra $670?
And we’re back to math. See, it’s not $670 difference because there is a comparison to be made– price vs. cost. Many technology writers do not understand the difference. If Rick sold his iPhone every year he would recoup a chunk of the original price, which brings down the cost. See how that works?
iPhone’s have a higher price because you’re buying more capability for average users (Android device owners fall into two categories– geekerati, and average folk who don’t care about the issues, features, functions as much), higher quality components, a more secure and private operating system, and a very well cultivated ecosystem (not to mention an actual store with human beings inside), et al– but in many cases an ongoing total cost of ownership (ToC) which brings a value to the device that competitors do not have.
Mac users have known this for years. Apple’s iPad sales have slowed in recent years because they’re made like tanks and just keep working. Cost and price are not the same.
Yes, such decisions all boil down to personal choice, preference, and money, but can we stop pretending that a $180 Nokia phone is just like an iPhone 7 Plus? It’s not. Geekerati and members of the technorati politburo notwithstanding.