An Android User’s Defence On The Exorbitant Price Of The iPhone

I’m currently an avid Android user; I have been since I bought a Nexus 7 tablet, and have hardly ever looked back since. Emphasis on ‘hardly’. Currently using last year’s model of HTC One (the dual SIM variant) and very happy with it. The dual SIM gives me the flexibility of using two telco operator services, considering the phone number I’ve had for years has really crappy service, and I got tired of carrying two phones everywhere.

But before I picked up a Nexus 7, I was an avid iPhone user. Similarly, I picked up the 1st generation iPad (second-hand, from a friend) before I fully immersed myself in the Apple ecosystem (and I still use a Macbook to this day). I used a second-hand iPhone 3G before I got my hands on a second-hand iPhone 4, which preceded a Nexus 4. But enough of my extravagance for gadgets — by the way, notice how many times I used the term ‘second-hand’ when it comes to my iOS devices?

I’d be the in the first line of people that say iOS devices are way overpriced, at least for off-contract sales. People rightly compare the price of an off-contract iPhone to, say, a couple of Android phones or even a laptop. Yes, the iPhone is expensive if you get it off-contract. But in most countries where the iPhone is dominant, people get it through a telco contract. But the prices are like a fuck you to the rest of the world. Yet, people buy them.

I myself? I’ve found Android to be more suited to my needs, iOS less so. I don’t really nitpick in comparing specs between the latest iPhone and Android phones, I just select what I need (i.e. I definitely need a minimum of 2GB RAM). Yet when people ask me what smartphone should they get, I would usually ask if price is an issue for them, and how they would use it. Bashing Apple or Android has really gotten old.

So every time a new iPhone comes out, there is always a string of articles saying that the iPhone actually costs, say $200, to make. That Apple is robbing you with high margins, and similar comments. That $800 can buy you 2 or 3 Android phones with somewhat similar tech components. I won’t deny that these statements are true, yet many people seem to forget that these high margins account for something else other than the price of the actual components.

Those high margins pay for the research, the industrial design and the materials processes that go into designing the iPhone, way before the components are ordered from suppliers. Those high margins pay for creation of services such as iTunes, iCloud and so on, to deliver more value to the Apple user. Those high margins enable Apple to have a long-term view for product research and development, for years in the future, instead of being stuck in the cyclic low-margin industry of commodity technology. And of course, to be fair, those high margins also go to paying a band to give out their songs for free to all iTunes users, whether they like it or not. And it’s those high margins that enable Apple to create such beautiful products of technology, on a level beyond most of their peers, that even I, as an Android user, would be smitten. And people will buy them — as bad or good as the iPhone 6 is, it is apparently breaking sales records.

There’s no question about the quality and effort put into creating the line of iPhones, since the first time they were introduced. This is what makes it so expensive. The premium charged to the user is not just for the sum of an iPhone’s parts, but for the work done before it was created, and to fuel the next generation of iPhones as well. The premium price is an investment for evermore future products that will hopefully inspire.

Back to me again — I find that iOS is not a future investment for me, but it doesn’t mean it is not valuable for others. Could Apple screw up in the future and squander all those high margins gained? Sure, who knows. But to claim the iPhone price is a ripoff, is a disrespect to all the designers, engineers and marketers that worked to make it a better product.

Originally posted on Medium.

About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

One response to “An Android User’s Defence On The Exorbitant Price Of The iPhone”

  1. Dylan Duong (@dylanduong) says :

    Nice write up! I enjoyed your piece.

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