iPhone X

Another fall is here, and that means cooler weather, falling leaves, football, Halloween, and the mad rush to get the newest version of the iPhone. This year, the version of the iPhone that everyone is clamoring for is the iPhone X (pronounced ten), and it just so happens to sport a price tag that starts at $1,000. I have tried to understand it. I really have. I used to get really excited when new tech products were launched, and I have owned my fair share of flagship phones. But now I just don't care. Maybe it was all the years I spent happily using a low end Nokia Lumia? Maybe it was using Android devices that did, for the most part, exactly what their high end counterparts could do? Maybe it is the fact my current phone, a Nextbit Robin, does everything I need it to do and then some, but if I drop it, or it breaks, I'm only out $129. Whatever the reason, I just cannot rationalize spending over $1,000 on a single phone.

Some people rationalize it. They say the exorbitant price of a phone like the iPhone X is justified because the phone is a luxury good. But is it? I have heard comparisons made between the iPhone X and a high end watch — what I call the “Rolex comparison” because Rolex is the brand most often mentioned by those making the comparison. Sure, both items may be made out of premium materials, but here is the key difference. The Rolex, if properly cared for, will be able to be passed down from generation to generation. It will still be as relevant in 50 years as it is today. The batteries of a high end watch can be replaced, although if it is a truly high end watch, it is probably mechanical. There is no operating system to replace or upgrade. No security updates will be necessary.

In contrast, the iPhone X will be largely irrelevant in just a few years time. Look at the original iPhone. It is barely usable a decade after its release. A new version of the iPhone X, with even more processing power and more “gotta have features” will be released in one year's time. While that will not make the first generation iPhone X immediately irrelevant, with each subsequent release of iOS over the next few years, the first generation iPhone X will inevitably grow slower and slower. Eventually, it will no longer be able to upgrade to the new version of iOS. Apps will eventually stop working. Web pages will eventually stop loading correctly (or at all). It will no longer be able to protect the sensitive data you have on it. There will come a time in the not too distant future when that $1,000 plus device will no longer be supported.

Say what you will, but for me, it is just not worth the cost. [1]

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[1] I fully realize there are Android phones that also cost somewhere around the $1,000 ballpark. I also fully realize those phones may also be made irrelevant just as fast, if not faster. Yes, I am picking on the iPhone X because it is the most pretentious of the current crop of flagship devices. Get over it.