Keeping up with the iPhones

My phone is just as much a status symbol these days as my car. But with new phones coming out everyday, it’s a drag to keep up with the Jones, especially if you are on the pricey iPhone bandwagon.

Phone makers are doing their best to keep us upgrading by constantly improving phones and bringing down prices. Androids packed with the latest tech can now be had for as little as $150. So it’s a bit surprising that the latest iPhone 6S is going for a staggering $955, making India the most expensive place in the world to buy Apple’s latest and greatest.

Interestingly, India also has one of the lowest priced iPhones in the world, the iPhone 4S at less than $200. In fact, I suspect it may be the only place where Apple sells this discontinued model. It would seem that Apple’s strategy for India is to cater to different price levels by selling different (older) iPhone models across the whole price spectrum.

However as a long time Apple guy, I’m not too happy with this line of thought. Let me elaborate.

Last week, my 2 year old, iPhone 5 suddenly crashed for no obvious reason. The Apple dealer said its display had failed and offered to replace it with a refurbished one for $340. In just two years, my ‘high quality’ Apple device’s value had gone from $300+ to zilch.

This is not the first time Apple has let me down recently. My Magic Mouse stopped moving vertically after two years. The replacement Magic Trackpad lasted just a year before ‘tap to click’ stopped working. My 17" Macbook Pro’s motherboard crashed twice, so I put it away I know not where.

Sure, Apple is cutting edge but that edge is beginning to seem a bit too fragile. Guess it’s time to check out the field.

In any case, spending $340 on dated tech (iPhone 5) didn’t make sense. So I decided to mull over my options, and use my old iPhone 4 in the meanwhile.

The next day, I went for my usual run with my iPhone 4. I turned on my running app. It usually starts in 5 seconds on my iPhone 5. But it took a frustrating 3 minutes to start. I finally started my 2.5km run, and did a decent time, but was not sure. And why was that? Because the app took more than a minute to register ’STOP.’ I had already got a hint when my Google Maps app wouldn’t launch. Yes, my venerable iPhone 4 had given me many years of yeoman service but I think it’s day is done.

Thing is app developers keep adding new features. These are designed for new phone tech. Devs don’t waste time on older phones. So the software becomes increasingly slower and buggy on older phones. It’s the app version of planned obsolescence. And that makes Apple’s older phones a no go zone.

Android apps also don’t get much love from developers. I guess it’s because because the phones vary so much in specs and size. Still at $150, I thought I would take a chance, and found a high spec Android on an Amazon deal.

Naturally, the phone looks and feels like an Apple (a fact that I believe Jonny Ive is not too happy about). But the Mi4i from Xiaomi differs from Apple in one big way, its price.

This morning, I took the Mi for my run. My running app had an unfamiliar feel but at least, it moved without the sluggish feel of the iPhone 4.

But going with a new OS is daunting. There are lots of stuff I’m already missing. Though many things are now compatible, it’s the incompatible stuff that gets you. The seamless access of ‘Notes,’ ‘iBooks,’ ‘Pages’ across my devices. The many iOS apps I collected and bought over the years. The songs from itunes that don’t play. The many forums with solutions for just about any iPhone problem (Hey, does anyone know how to fix an iPhone 5 with a display gone; it still glows in a dark room). I also miss the ‘just works’ Apple philosophy though I must say I feel the Android is getting closer on this front. Will know for sure once I get over the Android learning curve.

The Android does have a lot of positives. You can see and read a lot more on the lovely 5" full HD screen ($150, remember). More important, you can reply a lot easier than on the smaller screen of my iPhones 4 & 5. There’s the twin 4G SIM card slots. Not to forget the tiny OTG adapter and even tinier 16 GB drive that doubled my phone storage to 32 GB, for a total of less than $4! The MiUI (software) is also surprisingly well designed, quite slick with handy features like double tap to wake, wi-fi speed in the info bar, etc.

I ended up carrying both my iPhone 4 and Mi today. Tells a story, doesn’t it?

Still, it’s early days. The novelty of Android may wear off, and should I find a big screen iPhone going for cheap, I may just drop the baby and jump ship.

But for now, I’m no longer keeping up with the iPhones!

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated babulous’s story.