The Thousand Dollar Phone

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The new batch of iPhones has been announced, to mixed reception. Of course, no phone received more attention than the main event of Apple’s reveal, the iPhone X. Priced at a staggering $999.99 we can expect a complete revolution in the way we use our mobile phones; a leap forward in technology that makes it worthy of the price tag. Or can we? What Apple unveiled was a thinner phone that takes prettier pictures, a new screen which allows you to scroll through twitter in never before seen quality, and a host of other features which no one really asked for. Apple is not alone in such practices, though, and their conference last month seems to be sadly indicative of the state of the mobile industry as a whole: one characterised by marketing marginal improvements in technology as the best thing since sliced bread and slapping record price tags on it.

I’m sure there will be droves of you insisting that these changes are significant, and that I simply don’t get it, but answer this: how many times have you looked at your phone and wished that the blacks were even blacker, or that the colours were ‘richer’? On the other hand, how many times have you ran out of battery and had to go without your phone altogether? Despite this obvious desire among consumers for extended battery life, more time and effort seems to be invested into questionable design choices than into giving consumers what they want. The mobile industry has resulted in chargers being essential accessories if you plan on leaving the house for any extended period of time, and plug sockets have become like gold dust. At what point did this become normal? We’ve devolved to paying through the nose for mobile phones which struggle to be mobile for more than a few hours.

Not only are we given changes that no one asked for, but often these changes exacerbate problems we already have. Everyone has been the victim of a cracked screen; some even still cling to their phones despite the shattered glass they have to look through to use it. Yet, regardless of this issue everyone has had with their phone at least once, each year they seem to come out thinner, more fragile, and more in need of a case to protect it than ever. The iPhone X comes with an all screen front and a glass back, which leaves the consumer with a choice: risk smashing the front and back of your phone each time you drop it, or invest in a case to protect it, defeating the point of having a thinner more stylish phone in the first place. What should be normal wear and tear results in a ruined phone and a hefty bill if you don’t pay out extra for insurance. Long gone are the days of the invincible Nokia 3310.

We as consumers need to start spending sensibly if we ever want to see genuine improvements in the quality of phones. If a new phone is released that doesn’t improve on any of the features you wanted to see improved, simply don’t buy it. The manufacturer works for you. You pay him. Make him produce the work you want to see or hit him right where it hurts; his wallet.

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