Up until 2016, one could get the ‘best’ iPhone — the iPhone 7 Plus — for $769. Then the iPhone X arrived in 2017 and the price for the ‘best’ iPhone jumped to $999. In 2018, that price has again jumped to $1,099.
Sure, one might not always need the ‘best’ iPhone but the steep jump in iPhone prices in recent years have made the ‘best’ iPhone out of reach for most people. Earlier, most people upgrading from an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus would have gladly extended their budget by an additional $100 to buy the iPhone 7 Plus for the better battery life and dual-camera. Now, that jump is more difficult for most people since there is now a difference of $350 between Apple’s iPhone for masses, the iPhone XR, and the iPhone XS Max.
The $749 iPhone XR offers largely the same experience as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. It even comes with the same A12 Bionic chip and primary 12MP shooter. But it does make some key compromises — there’s no gigabit LTE, one still gets an LCD display, 3GB RAM, and the design is not really its strong suit.
iPhones are not the only one getting expensive. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 also launched at a steep price tag of $999 but thanks to various marketing promotions, one can easily get the device for around $700-$800. Even OnePlus which first started with the $349 OnePlus One now sells the OnePlus 6T for $579. Plus, there are numerous budget Android devices which offer a quality experience at a pretty low price.
Right now, if one wants to buy a cheap iPhone, they will have to look at the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. They both feature an outdated design, an LCD display, mediocre battery life, and offer slow LTE speeds compared to other smartphones in the same price range. For the same amount of money, one can get the OnePlus 6T which offers gigabit LTE, an OLED screen, a bigger and taller aspect ratio display, and Dash Charge. And if one is ready to extend their budget by another $100 to $150, they can get the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ which offers an even better OLED display, a more refined and premium design, and a great camera.
There’s one inherent advantage to Apple’s approach — it offers tight integration between hardware and software. This is why an iPhone 8 will get the latest iOS update at the same time as an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. There’s also the quality of apps where the App Store has a massive advantage over Google Play.
Ultimately, the issue is that one is not getting much value for money from a hardware perspective by buying a budget iPhone like the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. And the high price of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max puts it out of reach for many. In such a case, are you willing to jump ship to Android where you will get a superior hardware experience but will have to compromise a bit on the software experience? Take part in our poll and drop a comment to let us know your thoughts!