Keeping Up Appearances: Is an iPhone the Only Option?
It seems that anyone who’s anyone has an iPhone, and the latest one at that. But what are the other options? And are they as good?
Some claim that buying an iPhone is simply an act of self-indulgence – a universal code for, ‘I’m rich’. To be able to afford such extortionate prices, one must have a certain amount of disposable income. The slick and swanky look of Apple products adds to this perception; smoothly sliding the latest matte, black iPhone X out of his suit pocket and holding it up to use face recognition completes the aura that a businessman is desperate to display.
But this can’t be the only reason that Apple is the world’s biggest public company. Surely we’re not all self-absorbed show-offs?
At one time, it was undoubtedly the design that set the iPhone apart. When the first iPhone was released in 2007, it was completely original with its single button and huge touchscreen. Apple’s 2011 lawsuit against Samsung for replicating this is evidence of the fact that almost every phone company now provides a similar model. Yet Apple still dominates sales.
It is tempting to analyse the pros of the iPhone in detail, but a more holistic approach needs to be taken. Far from carefully weighing up the benefits of Apple products over Samsung, most choose their phone with much less consideration. Often it’s logical to buy an iPhone because it ‘hooks up’ with other Apple products at home; we can download the photos we take onto the iPad, or stream movies onto the Apple TV. Maybe this is where the secret of the Apple success lies – buying an iPhone is convenient. This doesn’t explain the initial success of the iPhone – that can be attributed to its graphics, design, integrated music and app store – but it does explain its ongoing dominance of phone sales.
So, would buying an android be taking a brave leap into the unknown or just an act of pointless dissent? Recent releases such as the Galaxy S8+, Google Pixel, and HTC 10 all have features that recommend them. The Google Play store can be considered superior to iTunes in the ease with which one can add new apps. The option of a cheap micro SD card to increase memory storage common to most androids is far preferable to the Apple alternative of paying to upgrade to a device with more storage. And there are even more benefits to androids still, but the question remains: does the convenience and attractiveness of being an iPhone user outweigh all?
There are definitely cheaper alternatives to the iPhone (the latest OnePlus5 selling new at £499; much more digestible than pre-ordering the iPhone X at £999) and, for the majority of buyers, most of the novelties offered by the iPhone are superfluous. This does not, however, distract from the ‘iPhone aura’. Owning and showing off your iPhone is cool, convenient and part of a culture to which we all want to belong.
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Words by Laura Bramall