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R32,000 buys you a bigger iPhone, but is it better?


R32,000 buys you a bigger iPhone, but is it better?

Apple fans won’t really care: they’ll cough up anyway

Sylvia McKeown

Here is everything you want to hear right off the bat. The iPhone Xs Max is great. Its new size makes the most of its wonderfully clear screen. The promise of true-tone colours has once again been delivered, especially when using the home-screen images provided. The once irksome lack of home-screen button movements has become a thing of the past and it’s only a matter of time before other cellphone makers follow suit. And the warm hues on the camera are wonderful. It is a truly fantastic phone.
The problem is that this could have been said about the previous iPhone X, save the screen size. And except for the deeper inner workings of the privacy settings, the phones are pretty much the same. The camera is exactly the same spec-wise, with a few software tweaks that make a marginal difference in quality.
The regular 64GB Xs costs R1,500 more than last year’s and it’s practically the same phone. For the 512GB iPhone Xs Max to cost R32,000 is beyond ridiculous. It is a truly fantastic phone but is certainly not worth the price of a premium laptop or R1,200 more than its closest competitor.
But none of this matters. Apple users, like myself, are so blinded by brand we don’t care that Apple has barely made any technological strides since the iPhone 6S. (Unless you count that time you could animate yourself as a poop emoji using facial scan.) This might explain why the phones are selling like hotcakes, even in our tough economic climate.
No matter how many times I point out that Android phones are better value for money on every level, there will still be some or other comment about how “you can’t compare them; the phones are not the same”.
I understand on some level you can’t compare a Citi Golf and a Ferrari based on the premise that they both have four wheels and will get you to Bloemfontein. But if I take the one rectangle of glass and metal used to WhatsApp and another rectangle of glass and metal used to look at cat videos and see this rectangle is not only cheaper but has a better camera, a better AI chip, a battery that lasts longer, a Leica lens or a stylus, then I promise you they are very comparable.
I long for a price point that suits the iPhone Xs specs, or an iPhone that is so innovatively different from its previous model it justifies the higher price, because that is what we deserve. We deserve Apple’s previous capacity to make game-changing technology. It is the very basis of their ethos and it is what made us buy into the brand in the first place. But neither will happen because the trillion-dollar company has realised, the same way I did, that it doesn’t matter what they do. You will buy their phones anyway.

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