The iPhone is an overpriced piece of equipment…or is it?
My iPhone 6S with 128 GB costs $849 as of writing. If you think $849 is a substantial amount of money, I agree, but whether that makes the iPhone overpriced is a matter of how much actual use time you get out it:
cost / hours of use = actual cost
To get some unbiased usage data, I installed Moment on my phone and left it running for a month to get enough data to calculate an average usage.
FYI: I use my phone a lot
Before I tell you the number, let me just clarify, that I use my phone as much as possible:
- Calling with Phone, Skype, Whatsapp or facebook messenger
- Messaging through Telegram, Whatsapp, iMessage and facebook
- Being productive with Things, Spark, Simplenote, Week Cal, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Podio and Trello
- Listening through Pocket Cast, Blinkist and Audible
- Reading with Pocket, Newsify, Medium and Kindle
- Enjoying beats with Soundcloud, Spotify and Shazam
- Training my brain with Peak and Elevate
- Keeping my sanity with Calm and Day One
- Changing habits with Coach.me and Way of Life
- Snapping photos with Camera and Instagram
- Buying and selling used gear through ebay and dba
- Automating things with Hue, WeMo and IFTTT
- Keeping track of my health with Fitbit
- Getting entertained with Youtube and Reddit
- plus a bunch of other things like surfing the web, checking weather, doing money stuff, buying parking, keeping track of parcels etc.
So it adds up. Mainly because I listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music whenever I get the chance; while cooking, training, riding my bike etc.
Doing the math
After 31 days with Moment running in the background, I averaged just above six hours per day (6 hours and 12 minutes to be exact).
Now that I know that my actual daily usage is around six hours, and I know that I usually hang on to an iPhone for two years (2 x 365 days), I can calculate what the actual cost of my iPhone is:
($849 / 730 days) / 6 hours = $0.193 per hour
That’s less than 20 cents per hour of actual use. I would go so far as to call that dirt cheap. Definitely not overpriced. (And this doesn’t even take into account, that I usually am able to sell my used iPhone for $200).
Thinking in “cost per hour”
When I think of it like this, the iPhone is probably one of the “lowest cost per hour”-things that I own.
Compare that to a $300 suit that I wear five times per year (I don’t wear suits daily, as you might have guessed) for ~12 hours. The suit lasts three years (with care and cleaning) giving me an active use time of 180 hours:
$300 / 180 hours = $1,67 per hour
That makes the suit more than 8x as expensive as my iPhone!
So whether you buy iPhones, suits, cakes, bikes or “nothing”, it is always up to you to justify, if it’s worth it or not. Calculating the “cost per hour” is a great tool to use, before making (or not making) a purchase, big or small.