back to article The grand-plus iPhone is the new normal – this is no place for paupers

So. The £1,000 iPhone X was not an aberration – Apple wants it to be the new normal. A grand is the new "mid-range". Yesterday Apple discontinued its budget iPhone SE and unveiled new models costing £1,500. Since relatively few people switch between platforms, Apple's growth relies in part from making more money from people …

  1. Craigie Bronze badge

    Apple ecosystem

    What is that exactly? iTunes? I honestly don't know what Apple offer in way of an 'ecosystem'.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Any accessories, content and services you use with the device all add to Apple's revenues and make it harder for you to leave. You'd think this might discourage people from choosing Apple but it seems to encourage them because choice is hard.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Peripherals, services, and 3rd party software. The high street is awash with 'made for iPhone' headphones from Sennheiser etc al. There are also more niche hardware such as external microphones, Leica survey equipment, 3D scanners and cameras that work over Lightning.

    Games and software tend to come to iOS first, because the platform is less fragmented, iOS users have more money and so spend more on apps, and Android software is easy to pirate.

  4. greenawayr

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    "iOS users have more money and so spend more on apps"

    Correction - A fool and his/her money are soon parted.

    It's a status symbol.

    And given today's world of now, now, now and credit, credit, credit. I'd suggest it is a huge mis-judgement to assume that someone is rich because they own an iPhone, more that they are easily fleeced.

    You know how rich people become rich? They don't spend all their money.

  5. J27

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    iOS software is just as easy to pirate, but less people do because most Apple users don't care about spending a few pounds on an app because they have the money. Most Android piracy is done by people who can't afford those few pounds, so how could they afford the iPhone in the first place?

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    > . I'd suggest it is a huge mis-judgement to assume that someone is rich because they own an iPhone

    It's not an assumption. There have been reports on the Register to that effect, and testimony from app developers on other websites to the same effect. Depending how varied your social circles are, you can support this anecdotally.

    I'd suggest, no, state, that your assertion that I made an assumption is itself an assumption.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Any accessories, content and services you use with the device all add to Apple's revenues and make it harder for you to leave.

    I'm not sure that you can call something that actually works well a "lock in". What matters for me most is that all Apple gear talks open standards so it talks to almost anything Linux too. Integration is easy and the costs of the gear vanish when you compare it against hours saved.

    Unless, of course, you use MS software on it. From a usability perspective that's like driving around with a Porsche with the handbrake left on. The only reason we have a few installs is Excel..

  8. anothercynic Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    The user experience in the Apple world is more consistent between releases, and as much as it is tightly controlled, it helps stability-wise.

    Going from Cyanogenmod on Oneplus One to their horrible own-brew OS, to Samsung's special brews, to Android generic, Android experiences are in some instances jarring and discombobulating. If Nokia manages to make their Android UI experience as consistent as Apple's, I am very tempted to switch to Nokia instead.

  9. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    "iOS software is just as easy to pirate, but less people do because... " it involves jailbreaking, and you have no idea if your jailbreak is sponsored by the Chinese or by the NSA.

  10. jmch Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    "Integration is easy and the costs of the gear vanish when you compare it against hours saved."

    That's a very important point for many users. I'm not saying that Apple is necessarily saving users time, I don't know enough about Apple products working together to know that... but it's not inconceivable that good integration and things working first-time with little or no configuration required will save - hours over the lifetime of a device.

    Also look at it from an enterprise POV. Employee costs are by far larger than capital IT costs, so why wouldn't a business spend say 1k/yr to optimise it's HR investment of 100k/year*

    *An employee with 50k/yr is typically costing that business 100k/yr

  11. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Correction - A fool and his/her money are soon parted.

    It's a status symbol.

    Of course it's not a status symbol. Every chav has one, they are everywhere and there is nothing special about them.

    The reason that Apple phones sell so well is the alternative. If Android was half decent Apple would be nowhere.

  12. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    "Of course it's not a status symbol. Every chav has one, they are everywhere and there is nothing special about them."

    Exactly, it's a status symbol to chavs, they all need one. A bit like burberry or Audi.

  13. Joe Gurman

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Pretty much everything Apple makes plugs and plays together. For those who like them, being able to display that mobile game on your TV via an Apple TV or play music on any speakers that support AirPlay(2) and so on and on, without any user configuration, is a plus and, yes, a selling point.

    I know its a hard sell to people who regularly read this site, but most punters really do not want to be bothered with fiddling with configuration.

  14. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Most Android piracy is done by people who can't afford those few pounds

    what an odious pile of shite.....

    most software piracy is done by people because they can or because they are fed up of buying shitty software that does not work as advertised so will try it, if it works will buy it...

    even kids don't bother pirating software because most games on mobile devices are free and you just pay for extras....

    music piracy is near enough non existent now that music streaming services are a reasonable price so not worth the effort of piracy.

    piracy has never really been about price, its mostly because you can.

  15. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Of course it's not a status symbol. Every chav has one, they are everywhere and there is nothing special about them.

    I guess you don't understand what a status symbol is. but one thing it is not is something that is "special".

    every chav may have an iPhone because it is a status symbol among chavs, but dont think the chavs go and buy them from the crapple store, its an overpriced contract, that gets defaulted on and a payg sim installed in it...

    and lets face it, the iphone has always been a premium priced product. anyone who was going out to buy one, it would make little difference if it was £1000 or £800. The price of other handsets is not ever going to come into it.

  16. mickm

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    But I've got an Audi and a Galaxy S9+!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    "If Android was half decent Apple would be nowhere"

    Android is just fine, though as with everything, buyer discretion will reap better results.

    I wouldn't claim Apple is nowhere, but your dismissal of Android is slightly odd, given how many sales of Android phones there have been.

    You seem to be presuming that 1) Android is shite and 2) Apple are the market leaders.

    The only thing premium about iPhones is the price. They're not even the top selling phone in terms of hardware.

  18. greenawayr

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    @Dave126

    I've read those same reports.

    There's no financial background to give credence to them. It's all based around the fact that people who own iPhone will more readily part with their money. That, by no means, makes them rich.

    I know lots of iPhone owners, I've been one in the past. Some are in well paid jobs, but spend all their money on these material items, some have plenty of money, some have borrowed to the hilt.

    It takes all sorts, but I maintain, that until someone actually does a full asset check on a good sample of iPhone owners, that these "reports" are no less anecdotal than my previous paragraph.

  19. Fred West
    FAIL

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Android marketshare 86% Apple marketshare 14%

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    > The reason that Apple phones sell so well is the alternative. If Android was half decent Apple would be nowhere.

    Apple has 12% of the smartphone marketshare. There's a list of features that I've come to really appreciate on Android phones. Apple doesn't seem interested in "innovating" those. I couldn't care less about Face ID. My wife and I would both love an Apple Watch, but not enough to want to switch to iPhones.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/28/gartner_smartphone_sales_q2_2018/

  21. CaptSmegHead

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    Meanwhile, over in Hong Kong, customers are limited to 3 devices in a single purchase

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    I'd love to know how you get an iPhone to talk to Linux! There's no iTunes for Linux, nothing similar that I'm aware of that can speak to an iPhone, and you can't even beam files, etc over Bluetooth (yes, I really hate AirDrop, a solution looking for a problem).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Apple ecosystem

    iOS users have more money

    Not once they've shelled out for the phone...

  24. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Jesus Tapdancing Christ.

    £500 was a justifiable luxury. £1500 for a phone is ludicrous. That's £62/month just to repay the capital for a 2 year contract. at 20% APR, that's £90/month.

    Plus a phone plan and you're looking at over a hundred pounds a month.

    For a phone.

    On the average salary, after tax, that is roughly 6% of take home pay for something which will depreciate almost completely over the two years.

  25. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    "On the average salary, after tax, that is roughly 6% of take home pay for something which will depreciate almost completely over the two years."

    No, it doesn't depreciate almost completely after two years. iPhones hold their value remarkably well. Everything else you say is spot on though.

  26. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Agree with everything you say except the depreciation on iPhones (and most apple tech) is substantially less than nearly any other brand. So whilst you might depreciate it fully as an accountant, in the real world 1 year old iPhone X's are going for north of 700 quid for a BIN auction. Refurbed iphone 8's are going for 75% of new prices. (All on ebay).

    If you are smart and careful with your iPhone you can probably get away with a £300-400 investment every year to stay "hip".

    Not for my tastes I went Android (phone only everything else is Apple) years ago but a lot of people may care enough to do it.

  27. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    @disgustedoftunbridgewells

    Jesus Tapdancing Christ.

    The grandson of a friend is an apprentice Motor Mechanic, aged 19, he does not earn much. His biggest out goings are his car insurance - around a £1000 with a black box, but, he is fed up with it and is thinking of renewing without a black box - apparently around £2500. And then his other big outlay... whatever the latest, all singing all dancing, iPhone. Why an iPhone - because all his friends have one. He certainly has money to burn

  28. anothercynic Silver badge

    £1500 *is* ludicrous, agreed. I already had this argument last year with friends who just *had to* have the X... Oh the first day. Despite complaining how expensive living in Los Angeles was.

    However, I disagree with your depreciation argument. When did the iPhone6s come out? Have a look on eBay for a decent-condition iPhone6s and you'll find that their value remains still surprisingly high for a phone of its vintage. It's holdouts like me who probably keep the market alive! ;-)

  29. Adam Jarvis

    The depreciation/value after two years will vary on use, depends on how well you look at and you really need to add AppleCare to those prices if it's a 'real phone' used day in, day out for business purposes.

    Remember too, there are unlucky folk that drop this phone in the same week they bought it and will break it, who will have to continue to pay that contract for 2 years until paid off.

    Some people obviously buy it as a trophy phone, while other do actually see it as a business asset that is self-financing to some degree.

    I think this year's line up of phones offer better value than Apple's previous year's offerings, all said. 7nm chips are a big deal (more than was made of it, at the keynote), they will certainly help regards battery life and crucially, battery wear.

  30. ThomH Silver badge

    As recently as 2016 I was sitting in a Wetherspoons waiting patiently for somebody in an unremarkable part of London Zone 5 when a young man of questionable affluence joined his family and the next table and launched immediately into his big news with a "you'll never guess what. They accepted me!", to much admiration, surprise and celebration.

    A couple of minutes later, I finally got enough pieces to work out what he was talking about. He'd been accepted onto a contract plan for an iPhone.

    I'm a big fan of mine for reasons not worth relitigating, but it is such a trophy phone for some that it's apparently worthy of going out on a financial limb. I don't claim to understand that. Especially not as recently as 2016, a long way past when Apple was the only consumer premium phone brand.

  31. Roopee

    For a phone

    @disgustedoftunbridgewells

    Surely you realise that for many, if not most people (especially if you include other countries such as China and India) their phone is their one and only personal computer.

    How much do you spend a year on your personal computer(s) I wonder? For most of us here I'd wager it's more than £90 per month. Richer people buy nicer computers generally, because they can, but they don't really do anything different with them. Phones are just the same.

    Incidentally I've just bought a new iPhone SE on eBay for £190 - get one while you can, I suspect they will be in short supply soon, now that they are 'obsolete'...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: For a phone

    For me, i think it was around 4 years ago I bought a laptop for my wife, just over £1000, so that's £20/m, that last computer I bought for myself was god knows how many years ago. I bought a 8800GTX so must be around 12 years ago. I use an old dell E6320 i7 laptop that was thrown out from work, so cost me nothing.

    Last phone I bought was 3 years ago, probably one of the last few users of the lumia 950, so thats around £10/m that cost me so far.

    I am looking at getting a new phone, a huawei or a xiaomi, but kind of dreading going back to android after using the windows phone, it was a far better interface compared to android.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: For a phone

    I am looking at getting a new phone, a huawei or a xiaomi, but kind of dreading going back to android after using the windows phone, it was a far better interface compared to android.

    LOL, you forgot the joke icon....

    still, very funny....

  34. billdehaan

    When my first gen 2014 Moto G finally started to give up the ghost three months ago, I looked around, and rather than buy another "value" (ie. cheap) phone, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S7.

    Of course, I bought it refurbished. With a three year warranty (it is a refurb, after all) and taxes, it was still under Cdn$400, which is about £235 as of today's exchange rate. It meets, and in fact by a wide margin it exceeds, my needs.

    I've got a voice and SMS pay as you go service, data free, which costs me Cdn$25 (£15) per year for minimum service, though sometimes I use twice, and possibly even three times that.

    I know people who spend nearly Cdn$300 a month on their data plan. And that doesn't even include the frigging phone.

    Unsurprisingly, many of these people who complain of overage charges see nothing wrong with yakking for 45 minutes on their cell, standing less than 10 feet from a landline that has no cellular limit. Or watch movies on their phone by streaming on the subway every day to work, because it's "too much effort" to remember to download a local copy off Netflix/Amazon the night before. So they end up spending $15 in data charges to stream a movie that's $12 to see in the theater.

    And that's Apple's markets. Of course they're going to fleece them for everything they possibly can. I believe it was Barnum who stated that it was morally wrong to not separate the foolish from their money, and that could be Apple's mission statement these days.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: For a phone

    Sorry no joke, I used android phones before, moved to windows, thought what the hell did i do, used it for a while, saw it was very user friendly. The changes going from 8.1 to 10 were not great. I have used android while having a windows phone over the years too and I do not like it at all, clumsy, not intuitive, windows 3.1 ish interface

  36. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Holmes

    have you considered

    That perhaps the reason older iPhones hold their value - is because they are better than the latest offerings?

    It is certainly a recurring theme on the pages here

  37. Wincerind

    Re: For a phone

    £90 a month on a personal computer????

    You must be mad, or renting it. I'd wager that "most of us here" built our own computers for about £90 total, probably a number of years ago.

    And if I were stupid enough to pay £1500 for a phone I would expect an all risks new for old swap out lifetime warranty.

  38. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Typical Apple

    Selling overpriced tat to idiots.

    Like a Rolex watch it says that the owner can afford to throw money away.

  39. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    Well...a luxury watch will at least hold its value over time, and maybe even appreciate if you buy the right one. An iPhone is just a piece of consumer electronics which will become outdated in a couple of years...you could probably chart its decrease in value on a month-by-month basis.

  40. Flywheel Silver badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    "you could probably chart its decrease in value on a month-by-month basis"

    There should be an app for that! It'd run in the background and occasionally advise you when your phone had depreciated and more importantly, when to buy its replacement!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Re: Typical Apple

    >Like a Rolex watch it says that the owner can afford to throw money away.

    Even if I was rich I'd still be stingy bastard and I wouldn't pay stupid prices for Apple shit so I can go and smash it up in front of my kids.

    Are you listening, Kirsty ?

  42. Khaptain Silver badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    If you keep you Rolex serviced it might last for several generations and probably gain in value.

    Rolexs are hand crafted mechanical devices, Iphone are just chinese mass produced consumables.. You can't compare them.

    If you know anything about watches you would also realise that Rolex are actually a top notch manufacturer, their service is first class and they produce watches using top quality materials, many of which are in house made, including their usage of their own perfected steel.. It's anything but tat.

  43. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    But how will you get on the news showing off how rich you are that you can smash up two ipads?

  44. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    You can't compare them

    You can: they both perform a basic primary function at a cost orders of magnitude greater than is necessitated by their purpose. Why they cost more is irrelevant. The reason people pay the increased cost is much the same.

    If you keep you Rolex serviced...

    ...you will merely add to its inflated lifetime cost.

  45. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Re: Typical Apple

    For the price of servicing a Rolex, I could buy another watch. I'm wearing a (very nice looking) 20 year old Tissot that I was given, that's probably about £200 to replace. All I've spent on it is £5 for a new battery 5 or 6 times. At the point it needs servicing, I'm probably best replacing it.

    So the cost of ownership of a Rolex is pretty damned high - and though they don't plummet in value, I'm not sure they even keep pace with inflation, let cover their huge servicing costs.

    Which is fine if you can afford it, and that's what you want. But I think it's a bit silly trying to jusitfy it as an investment.

    There's a bit more reason to justify the purchase of an overpriced iPhone. Which isn't as massively overpriced as a Rolex, being only 5x the price of a good basic alternative and not even double the price of the top-of-the-range Droids. If you've got iPads and a family iTunes account, apps, and maybe some Apple music or video - then it's not ludicrous to pay more for the convenience of all that. And some people hate learning a new OS so much, that moving to Android would be quite disruptive to their life. I'm thinking of a colleague here who probably makes 30 calls and 50 emails a day on his iPhone - so for him it's an essential productiviy tool.

    Myself I think any phone over £250 is over-priced, given that technology advances in phones have slowed down so much in the last 5 years. Apart from a Galaxy Note or Blackberry, if you need the specialist stylus/keyboard.

  46. quxinot

    Re: Typical Apple

    >If you know anything about watches you would also realise that Rolex are actually a top notch manufacturer, their service is first class and they produce watches using top quality materials, many of which are in house made, including their usage of their own perfected steel.. It's anything but tat.<

    Their bracelets sure are crap, though. Compare a Submariner's bracelet against a Seamaster and you'll wonder why people buy Rolex.

    (The watch heads themselves are absolutely lovely, though.)

  47. gerryg

    Rolex != Apple because of tax avoidance

    A Rolex or any other such "hand crafted mechanical device" benefit from a capital gains tax exemption .

    HM Revenue & Customs regards them as “wasting assets” and does not charge Capital Gains Tax on the profits made when they are sold, provided they have not been used in the course of business.

    Assuming they are over fifty years old or treated as long term investments they have become instruments of tax avoidance

  48. Forkboy

    Re: Typical Apple

    I've resold my iPhones for years. They hold their value amazingly well if you take care of them. I sold an iPhone 6 with a broken screen once for hundreds of euros to someone who wanted to fix it himself. An android phone in similar condition would've been a write-off.

  49. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    Re: Typical Apple

    Well...a luxury watch will at least hold its value over time

    Very true, but the only Rolex watches that will appreciate now are vintage models.

    people with real money to spend on trinkets are now buying watches that there may only be one or two made in a single design.. somthing like

    https://www.cabestan.ch/winch-tourbillon-vertical/

  50. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    Re: Typical Apple

    Rolexs are hand crafted mechanical devices, Iphone are just chinese mass produced consumables.. You can't compare them.

    to be fair, cheap mass produced made in china tat over time will by % appreciate more than most things.. look how much mcdonalds happy meal toys cost, but now a pristine collection of Disney merch is worth a fortune. and dont get me started on beanie babies.. that said I did make a few quid on a clear out of those !!

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