This tweet was mildly infuriating – 

Comparing a phone to a notebook computer, a locked down walled garden compared to an open desktop computing environment, a 6.5” display versus a 13”, a fake keyboard versus a real one, I/O versus no I/O and on and on. 

There is no comparison to be made between a phone and a notebook. The lines are only blurred because the general public who only bought a PC to chat with friends and shop online doesn’t need $1500 computers because the capabilities of those machines outweigh the needs of that consumer. 

While I believe the iPhone and all smartphones are fundamentally the least efficient way to browse the web and buy things, the reason I never had an issue with these devices is because they were priced up against $500 PCs which really sucked at a lot of things because PCs in that price range were riddled with bloat-ware, crappy processors, the need for antivirus software and huge security updates and crappy battery life and displays. The $500 smartphone was a great way for the rest of those people to get online without needing a home computer. Seriously, awesome progression of not only miniaturizing technology to be portable but be the only computer for someone.

Those people did not need $1500 laptops or $1000 laptops yet they are now buying $1000 – $1500 phones, phones that do 1/10th the amount of tasks as a full fledged notebook or desktop PC. 

I argue the iPhone is overpriced due to the output you can do with it if you need that output. You can more efficiently layout a magazine, edit photos in a desktop application like Photoshop, edit, color correct, grade and compile a theatrical film, develop a video game, app or book and write a screen play on a Mac. You can do all of those things on a phone but I don’t see any professional in their right mind flocking to iPhone for their next million dollar project. Let’s be honest, iPhones have improved but these are still no match for a $1500 computer like a MacBook or iMac. 


The reason these prices are fully justified is because people are doing 100% of their computing on them and people don’t mind spending $3 a day over the course of a year on a phone that they are staring at for 6 hours a day…it’s a device that has all of their friends, photos, videos, banking, bill pay info, weather, email, social media, news and books on it. It is their everything so the price for them is justified and Apple still sells phones in a lower price point because the “cup of coffee” argument holds no water to someone who doesn’t go to Starbucks to spend $3 a day on a cup of coffee because they’re trying to put food on the table and for them, there’s a $500 iPhone OR a $200 Android phone which I maintain is the core of the Android market. We are certainly in an age right now where if you make less than XXXXXX per year, you likely use an Android phone. There are expensive Android phones just like there are cheap iPhones but there are no iPhones that get as cheap as entry level Android phones.

Further on my price justification argument, everyone needs a smartphone. Instagram, SnapChat these don’t work on PCs so if a $500-$1500 smartphone IS essential, there’s no more budget left for a PC especially not a $1500 one so you have this dichotomy where people who probably could take advantage of a laptop are not because there’s no money left in their budget to buy one after they’re done buying a new iPhone and if they drop it or its stolen, they’re scrounging to buy another which is why AppleCare++ exists to cover theft or loss or damage. 

The amount of people who need a notebook PC are shrinking for sure but the amount of people who need a notebook PC and are doing professional notebook tasks on a phone is very tiny. There are outliers but they are very few. Sometimes I watch my girlfriend respond to an email for half an hour on her phone. She could have reached for her MacBook Pro in the next room and did the same email in 5 minutes but nope, she clicks and makes typos, moves the cursor around slowly, enables suggestions for the correct spelling, nope, tape cancel that just select the entire word and backspace then re-write it then apply formatting and OMG I’m going insane watching her carry out this simple task had she just grabbed her laptop. Sometimes she does do just that but there are millions of people spending way too much time on their $1500 iPhones because they can’t justify or afford to buy a full-fledged computer. 

The $1000-$1500 iPhone buyers are either rich or don’t have any other computing devices in their life in which case this is just like buying a new laptop every 3 years. These people didn’t need laptops anyway. Those were overkill for their needs. While I can’t understand how anyone can get work done on a smartphone, I know a lot of people who don’t get work done on their laptop and thus a smartphone is perfect for them. I need to start recording myself using my phone though, it’s infuriating. I’ll start with a command on the phone, then move to iPad then move to my iMac because this is taking too long. I’m a shrinking minority though…a small group of people who every year think “I should just get a feature phone”. There are 5 things that my iPhone does that I can’t do without and they keep me coming back for more. 

I love Apple and the market they have harnessed with iOS but iOS is an ecosystem of casual use. You can add a bluetooth keyboard, stand, wireless headphones and stylus and move around the interface but now you’re $2,000 invested in a workstation with 5 parts instead of just a MacBook and a pair of headphones. I know iOS is the future but the future is also full of 90% of computer users who don’t create and just consume. For them, you don’t need to justify the price of a phone. They’ll have one because everyone needs one now to interact with each other.