Day 226: X is for Expensive

Day 226: X is for Expensive

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How many people actually use their mobile phones as a phone? That is, making voice calls to other people?

I know I do, but only when I need to use my white voice to get people’s attention. Otherwise, there’s txting, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Snapchat, Weibo, WeChat, Periscope… I suspect that like most other people, I have almost no reason whatsoever to make a telephone call.

The reason I point this out is that it’s important for my next little calculation: how much does life with an iPhone actually cost?

See, the new iPhone XS Max costs about $2,400.

That’s two thousand, four hundred dollars. For a phone.

Of course, like any smartphone, the iPhone XS Max isn’t just a phone. It’s the place where you keep all your apps in one tidy place. You use it to take all your photos and videos. It’s where all your music is stored or streaming.

So let’s break that down.

A portable device that gives you all your apps, messaging, connectivity, music, and social media? You can actually have that for $600 with a Microsoft Surface Go.

Better photos than anything that will ever come out of the iPhone XS Max? You can get a Nikon D3500 for $580 and pair it with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens for $130.

That brings the total to $1,310, which leaves you a cool $1,090 to spend on any of the following:

  • a holiday
  • a new ensemble for the wardrobe
  • a new set of wheels for the car
  • all the Christmas presents for friends and their kids
  • a year’s gym membership
  • ten courses for two at Quay (with all the bells and whistles)
  • whatever you fancy – even a phone, if you still think you need one.

Of course, fans will tell you this is a gross oversimplification, and that the iPhone is more like a way of life. For instance, there’s Apple Pay, which essentially takes the place of your wallet. You never have to worry about not having cash or ID. Everything is in the one convenient place.

That sounds pretty cool, like something out of Star Trek. Except this isn’t Star Trek. Star Trek tends to leave out a lot of important details, such as people going to the bathroom. But I digress.

What happens when your battery runs out after a few hours? Or when the screen gets smashed? Or when you’ve lost it under the couch or left it in an Uber? It’s all gone? All your social contacts, photos, music, money, ID, your connection to society… are you just royally screwed until you charge it, find it or fix it?

Because that’s what it sounds like to me. That’s what it means to live life through one device.

And that’s really what it all boils down to, isn’t it? Life through a single device, that is. I reckon there’s a pretty good chance that, behind closed doors, Apple talks about “real life” in the same way Coca-Cola talks about tap water being their one true enemy.

Of course, I’m not saying “don’t buy an iPhone”. Buy one, for all the joy it can bring you. With the price jump to $2,400, I’ll probably be waiting four or five years between new phones instead of three. Just please don’t talk about it like it’s a smarter way of living (which is about as specious as software pirates who argue they’re making legal back-ups, but that’s a rant for another time).

There’s only one plausible reason for buying an iPhone: you like technology.

It’s not a great reason, but it’s a legitimate one.

3 thoughts on “Day 226: X is for Expensive

  1. Relevant to my life right now. I actually just finally switched over from a flip phone (seriously). So far, I’m not sure how impressed I am. Thinking about switching right back to a flip phone and once again spending my time and money elsewhere. We’ll see! 🙂

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