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Androids are better, iPhones are more expensive. Here's why
Author: Dominik Gašparić
After late coffee break with editor I couldn't sleep. Maybe because of the editor, more likely because of iPhone SE. Even though I believe that top Android devices exceed iPhone in every possible way (better camera, long-lasting battery, sharper screen with better color reproduction, customization, better sound quality...) for average iPhone you still have to pay quite more than Android equivalent.

Few years ago iPhone was still preferable device opposing the average Android flagship. Google's own operating system was still in early stages back then. But times have changed and I believe many Android devices are ultimately better than iPhone 6, 6s or SE especially if you consider pricing. In the paragraph below I found some numbers for comparison and to make my article more credible.

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Numbers

S7 has bigger and better screen, longer battery life, wireless charging, water resistance...

Apple iPhone 6s with 4,7 inch screen and 16 GB internal storage sells for 5.999 kuna. 64 GB version goes by the price of unbelievable 6.999 kuna (32 GB version which is in my opinion optimal size, doesn't even exist). In the same store Samsung Galaxy S7 with 5,1 inch screen and 32 GB of storage costs 5.599 kuna. In comparison that model is 500 kuna cheaper despite the fact that it's screen has better resolution (3,68 times if I reckoned it correctly), is sharper 1,77 times and has better color reproduction. Battery has larger capacity and lasts longer. Internal storage is double the iPhones size and it has twice as much RAM. Camera is better, it supports wireless charging, has microSD slot and water and dust resistance. No doubt Galaxy S7 is superior device of the two, and also many other: S7 edge, HTC 10, LG G5... But that isn't the topic of this article.

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It doesn't lag

Apple gets away with higher prices of the devices that are at least spec-wise weaker in every aspect

Renowned phrase in the world of bitten apple cult followers is: "It doesn't lag". If I got money for every time i heard it I could actually buy the new iPhone and extra year of warranty. The truth is that closed-source system is for developers modest to work with. It can be modified and tuned in easier way because they only support few devices. That kind of approach is actually good because it potentiates better user experience in terms of fluidity and stability of software. Android on the other side is becoming sleek and more stable but it's only noticeable for the last 2-3 years.

Apple still has the reputation of more reliable and user-friendly which is often not the case. Google's open approach gives handful of freedom and customization options, advanced usage, better multitasking, side loading applications, custom launchers and themeing, flashing user firmware and custom ROMs and you can even make your own firmware from scratch. That approach is the one I prefer but most users don't actually care about those features. As a matter of fact Android was always operating system prone to enthusiasts (something like Linux on PCs) while Apple developed the platform for users who don't want to think about it right from the start. Metaphorically the difference between those two OSs is presented in the video below. That's the reason why iOS users get faster updates and while Android users wait (usually in this order: Nexus, unlocked devices per regions, carrier locked devices).

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The New Religion

iPhone is the community, the lifestyle, the religion and status symbol

Steve Jobs was charismatic person who realized the potential of "cool". In many ways he contributed to the giant iPhone success. I remember when in September I watched live stream from press conference when Apple introduced iPhone 6s. It had many functions never present on that platform before. In that event lasting two hours the sentence "It's cool, isn't it?" was carried out for 37 times. That cult of personality, device that is used by famous and successful combined with strong advertising and carrier support creates instant star. The phone that everyone wants to be seen with. It's a gadget that is immediately recognizable by all, even those who don't really care about technology.

iPhone is not just the product, it's the community, the lifestyle, religious structure and status symbol. Interestingly, iPhone users sometimes perceive how other manufacturer's devices are more advanced but most of them would never use an Android (see video below). Influence of peers for young people and pursuit for success in adolescents or that kind of smart advertising that abuses those pristine emotions helps Apple to be on top for a very long time. Despite their inability to innovate and high pricing. Let's keep this real, iPhone is not the most expensive device but it is the most expensive in it's class.

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Mutual hostility

Apple proved itself as competent manufacturer of smart phones whose reputation is overblown by cultural effect and effective marketing

Android users call Apple fans "sheep". But blind loyalty to Google is actually the same kind of bad. Many of us self-proclaimed Android enthusiasts have same intense passion as our fruity brethren. Then why is it less likely for me to spend 500-1000 kuna more on the new smart phone? Maybe I'm just more practical, more interested in specs, features and functional aspects. That's also often not the case with Android fans because many Android phones are in exactly the same price range or even more expensive. And average user buys Android more often just because the typical device costs less. Critical judgment doesn't really give me the right answer why the prices of the average iPhone are so high. So, why are they?

Important aspect of Apple's business model is price control. Their devices have very stable prices for their entire lifetime and are not dependent on new devices on the market. Sales are not very often because Apple never gives discount so the retailers wouldn't lower the retail price (respectively market value). This kind of approach contributes to exclusivity and partially increases value of the products. Android's prices fluctuates in thousands of kuna during sales, discounts, when new model appears, carrier contracts or just over-stocking. The best, and at the same time the worst reason why Apple can charge so much for their devices - because it can.

They built strong community around their products and persuaded consumers that those are magical devices and not just ordinary gadgets. They created smart sale strategy to keep prices at the highest possible and use their profit to make products that look good and give you the sensation of superiority. The army of followers support the faith that iPhone is worth of every penny paid for it. That faith is the reason why retailers go after orders about pricing directly from Apple (they will benefit long-term).

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Conclusion

Ending this little one-way discussion I didn't really come with excuse for Apple. Why can Apple get away with higher pricing than competition for devices that are not as advanced as others in so many ways. The majority of the answer is in consumers themselves who willingly pay as much and don't feel like they've been ripped off (or they don't want to admit it). Statistically people with higher income usually lean to iPhone maybe as a status symbol or simply because higher price better suits their earnings. That for sure with all the reasons stated above contributes to Apple but also doesn't truly answer the questions how and why.

What do you think? Write in the comment.

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More about Android and Apple.

Dominik Gašparić
22/05/2016
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