Jaws hit the floor when Apple announced the iPhone X would cost $999 and up. The average Android phone hovers between $200 and $250. Shortly after Apple broke the $1,000 barrier, the iPhone X proceeded to be the top seller every quarter for a few quarters thereafter. This requires some explanation.
The simplest explanation is that smartphones have become the primary computing device for most of the population that has them. It is not an accessory or even a luxury. We no longer bother to ask if we should get one for our kids. It is just a matter of which one they should have.
The smartphone has become so important in the US that if you can’t afford one, there are government programs that will help you get one. A smartphone has become a necessity in a way that the personal computer never did. Here is why the modern smartphone is so much more than the sum of its various components:
Finance and Banking
When you go to one of your local apple store locations, you are not just looking for the latest collection of silicon wrapped in metal and glass. You are looking for something to which you can entrust your banking, money transfers, credit cards, and iTunes purchases.
More than all that are your passwords that grant access to everything from your checking account to your retirement fund. If you lose any of those passwords to hackers, you’re ruined. What is $1,000 compared to that?
Games for the Little Ones
Did you know there were iPhone games specifically for your cat? Given that tidbit of information, it should come as no surprise that games for the little ones are a huge category on both iOS and Android.
It used to be that kids wanted to play with toys. These days, smartphone games have taken the place of toy time. Who wants a teddy bear when you can play animal games on a screen where the animals come to life? The animals on those screens can answer questions, tell you stories, and even remember your birthday.
The games are not just for kids. There is a whole category of gaming for young adults that are not appropriate for children below a certain age. Be sure to check the age restrictions on those games. Smartphone gaming has become big business.
If you are a traditional gamer who enjoys playing chess, backgammon, or go, you can do so against an AI that can play at your level. Or you can play against an internet-connected world full of friends you haven’t met yet. Games no longer come in boxes. They come in bytes. All the games you love can now fit in your pocket and can be enjoyed from the palm of your hand.
There is a limit to the amount of money we will pay for a camera. But one can hardly put a price on the safe storage and easy retrieval of all our precious memories over the course of a lifetime. Smartphones represent both.
For a long time, the #1 reason people would upgrade their smartphone was for the camera. They would balk at paying $1,000 for a new smartphone, but they would easily pay that for better pictures.
Before there were free and cheap photo galleries for holding all our photos, the only copy people had of their pictures was on the phone or the SD card from the digital camera. Photos are still what most people seem to care most about.
Whether at the Genius Bar, or some other repair service, people can often be heard saying that they don’t care about anything else. Just save the photos. And photos are no longer the only ways we capture memories.
We now shoot 4K videos and keep text message conversations as if they were love letters. The smartphone represents our most intimate form of communication. And all of those records are saved, even encrypted depending on your platform of choice.
So, don’t be surprised if the price of these devices on all platforms start an upward climb. They are no longer just phones. They are our personal financial institutions, our game center, and the key to the repository of all our most precious memories.