The Apple Problem

13 Sep 14:00 by Charles Inett


That time again


Another year, another iPhone release! It’s a strange time in my life that not only excites me but also fills me with dread. It shines a light on the worst part of my personality. I may complain about not being able to pay my bills but in the same breath I will excitedly squeal for the chance to buy a phone 1mm thinner than the one I already own. It’s capitalism at it’s greatest and even though it pains me to admit, I am just another sheep queuing for a phone I don’t need, to never use features that I don’t understand. Still, I was excited to know what Apple had instore for us so instead of doing anything of real value with my day, I watched a 2 hour press release instead.

When the iPhone ‘Xs’ and ‘Xs Max’ got announced, I was watching with a childlike glee. What would be the new killer feature? Would it fix my issues with the ‘X’ or would it be a new design? What we got was a very safe and standard upgrade. Basically it is the same phone as the previous generation but everything runs faster. Arguably the ‘X’s’ is better than the ‘X’ but not by much. Having a 30 minute longer battery life is an upgrade but how much will I notice? Yes, apps launch 30% faster but I don’t remember ever saying “I wish apps loaded faster on my iPhone!”. Then when the price got announced to be both 999 dollars and pounds I decided that this will be a generation I can skip. So why, 30 minutes later am I looking at my £800 phone like it is trash? Why am I checking my credit limit and looking for deals on the new phone? Why do I even need a smart phone at all!

Smart phones, what are they good for?


Ask yourself, would you buy a new £1000 dishwasher if it washes your dishes 30 minutes faster? Would you then buy another £1000 dishwasher the year after, if that one was another 30 minutes faster? Of course not! That would be insane. When I bought a sofa for my living room a few months back I knew that it would last for many many years. I wouldn’t buy another one 9 months later because its 30% thinner, so why do we do it with phones?

Maybe it’s because technology ages quicker than a sofa so it is important to keep up to date? But now ask yourself. “What do I use my phone for”. I use my phone for connecting with people, browsing the internet and listening to music so as long as my phone can do all that then I should be happy right? I used to have an ‘iPhone 4S’ and it was an amazing phone that I used daily and I believe it brought me happiness. Does having a new phone bring more happiness? Maybe having a bigger screen and faster internet speeds makes me happier but can I put a value on it? If an app opens in 4 seconds on the ‘4s’, how much would I pay to have it open instantly? Would you rather pay £80 for a phone with a 4 second delay or pay £1000 to not have that worry? The point I am making in a roundabout way is that I do not need the newest phone as all it does is give me the same features just a little crisper. I don’t care enough to spend £1000 on a slightly faster phone every year so it can’t be the features that matter to me. Sadly I know that the real reason that I and many people buy the newest phone each year is ego!

I want it all


I buy an iPhone for the same reason I buy designer clothes. It’s a fashion statement. It’s a way to show that you have wealth without the need to really have wealth. No one needs to know that I am paying £30 a month for 36 months for my iPhone, I can just take it out my pocket as a conversation starter.

This is why each Apple conference fills me with dread as I watch them. Like many people, I already know that I am wasting my money, I understand that I do not need or even care about having a slightly faster phone and being charged £999 for a phone is crazy! The price of the ‘iPhone X’ was a major criticism of Apple but it is still the most popular phone in the world. Let’s not kid ourselves why either, it’s because if you have a £999 phone in your pocket then you must be cool right?

So after all this complaining, after writing about how unreasonable it is to buy a new phone each year and realising that a £100 iPhone 5 does all what I need it to do. I am still wondering if I should buy the ‘iPhone Xs Max’ with credit or debit. But hey, at least  is has a longer battery life