Price points: Do iPhones cost too much?

Maybe it depends on who’s buying which phone.


Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Apple has released a low-cost phone so it is now time to complain about how iPhones cost too much.

Wait, what?

Writing for The New York Times, Shira Ovide says “Your iPhone Costs Too Much.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @designheretic.)

At $449 for his 2020 iPhone SE with 128GB, The Macalope is pretty sure you’re wrong about that. Of course, Ovide’s not talking about the iPhone SE. And possibly not the iPhone XR, either.

To be fair, maybe the Times has data showing a correlation between the people who subscribe to their paper, enjoying it for the Fairfield county wedding announcements and stories of how even hedge fund managers are “feeling the pinch” of this difficult economy and having to sell one of their yachts, and people who buy the most expensive iPhone.

But did they pay too much if they can afford it? They already sold the yacht. Admittedly, the little one. But how much should they have to suffer? It’s not like they’re going to walk into the Greenwich Country Club with an iPhone SE, even in a mask. Please. Gretchen Monte de Ville would never let them hear the end of it.

When I stare at my phone, I feel pangs of regret. For my wallet.

Why do bad life choices happen to good people?

It’s true that, on average, iPhone prices have gone up in the past few years. This is largely because Apple has offered more options at the higher end of the price scale. You could still get an iPhone for less, but you had to settle for last year’s design or fewer features (or, weirdly, a larger screen). This year, that’s changing (again), so it’s the perfect time to complain about prices being too high because they’re falling.

Yes, we’re getting more for our money, but for most other consumer products, we’re paying less AND getting improved products.

Apple has never allowed its devices to become commoditized. You cannot compare them to TVs.

Also, TVs are an interesting thing to compare to iPhones. Because while you can pay way less for a high-definition television now than you had to 10 years ago, it’s also likely to ship with software that sells information on your viewing habits. So, you’re paying for it, you’re just paying in a different way.

And while smartphones below $600, including an earlier iPhone SE, haven’t been hot sellers…

The Macalope’s buying them as fast as Apple makes them!

That’s not to say I’m dissing those pricey phones.

Are we reading the same article?

So you should feel free to buy the Lexus of smartphones if you want to and can afford it. Just know that you don’t have to.

This is very true. But the truly odd thing about this—the very, very weird thing—is that just three weeks ago Ovide was telling us the iPhone SE “doesn’t matter.” It matters a lot to those of us who have been spending less on iPhones for years.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon