Let’s talk iPhone prices!

It’s no secret that iPhones and Apple products in general are expensive. But you often get what you pay for. The higher prices, the durability, the stability etc were many of those selling points I had that made me switch over to iOS and the Apple ecosystem in 2018. I have not regretted it since. Like I written in my last post, the obsession of getting more Apple products instead keeps getting bigger and bigger. It won’t stop sometimes until I have every last product available to me with the  logo on it, or at least it’s starting to feel like that. But what’s keeping me from buying more stuff from Apple? Well, money and the general idea that I actually (and really) already have whatever it is that I need from them. I have a pretty big collection today of Apple products and I love them and the feeling of having them.

If I could decide 100% about everything we own in this household, basically all technological stuff would be an Apple product wherever possible. The reason? Well, stability, durability and longevity. But those prices… The only thing I’d consider cheap in the Apple product line is the Apple TV. The reason for that is because our crappy collection of Android TV’s (Nvidia Shield) are really crappy and more expensive than an Apple TV. We have three of them, and one just died and we had to swop it out for a new one. Another one, has started to lag, glitch, it keeps restarting and crashing and it has always – from the beginning crashed whenever we watch a movie on it. At least 9 of 10 times that happens. It’s considered a miracle when it does not happen, or something. The third one we barely use, but the few times I’ve tried it’s been basically unusable, so I am not impressed and I’m pretty tired of bad products. I only want stuff that works, reliably, and Apple has a bigger tendency (from rumors and experience) to build stuff that lasts without issues and that’s one of the main reasons I switched from Android and Windows to the Apple ecosystem.

Then there’s the epic story of me always wanting a new phone. Or at least a phone that does what it should that I can rely on no matter what. A phone that lasts and keeps me satisfied for years. Since the Google Nexus line vanished, that’s been a true obsession, because I haven’t really had it. For the past years, that’s been hard, and my reasons for “hating” on the iPhone SE are so tiny, that it’s almost hilarious. I stand by loving my phone, but like I mentioned in the last post, it’s just to tiny in every way, but the iPhone prices are a huge deal for me as of now, and that’s the main thing keeping me from getting a new one. Also I do not want to get one on contract, even though it is “oh, so tempting” these days. But no. The reason for that is that I’ve made my financial mistakes in the past and whenever I stopped making them, I have money. Go figure?! If you don’t spend it on unnecessary shit, you have money… Who could’ve thought? If you don’t spend it on crap, you can actually pay rent. You can have food on the table and live a good life. Just don’t spend it on shit you don’t need. So I’ve stopped. Also I’ve had many phones on contract, and sooner rather than later, I’d like to get a new phone and then I’m still locked in with no way to pay it off without losing my left arm or something. Surely, it’s not that bad today. That’s why it’s sort of tempting to buy on contract because I can pay it off whenever I want. Like I wrote in my last post, I’m just extremely cautious with my money these days and I don’t like having anxiety over what I’ve spent it on. I do spend money, mostly on food, but that’s more important to me today than just getting a new phone every year or something. And now on to the actual post topic. The iPhone prices…

If you’ve hidden under a rock since this blog started, or just don’t read my stuff very well or perhaps you’re here for the first time – you might have missed that I am a Swedish person living in Sweden. My home country is a huge fan of iPhones. Almost 60% or so of all the smartphones sold here are iPhones. Still, we as many other countries such as Canada pay the so called “Apple tax” so the Apple products here are more expensive than in the U.S and some other countries that do not pay this specific tax. In the U.S, many of the Apple products in my book are considered cheap, or at least cheap enough to not break the bank. The iPhone X that came out in 2017 was priced in Sweden about $1300 with today’s money value (jan 2019). That was really expensive, but this year, it’s even worse. Now the cheapest option for getting an iPhone Xs 64 GB is priced at $1400 in the Apple store. If you’re lucky you can save about $100 at other places, but let’s go with the Apple Store prices for now. The “cheaper” iPhone Xr costs about $1070 at the Apple store, and for that phone it’s really expensive as well. These prices are ridiculous, but I personally do not blame Apple for these huge prices. I know it’s because our Swedish crown is worse against the dollar today. Adding to the U.S and those tariffs or whatever, also hikes the prices a whole lot for many countries. But it still sucks.

In a more “normal” world, the correct prices should be at least $150 less. As Swedes buying a lot of Apple products, we’re happy to pay the price for those amazing phones. If the iPhone Xs cost around $1100 that would be a whole lot better. Even $1200 with today’s money would be an ok price, even though it’s “holy-shit-that’s-expensive” price, it would be better. If the iPhone Xr actually cost what what it should, about $899, it would sell out faster than I don’t know what. It’s this year’s price hikes that have failed customers a lot. There are still many people at the Apple Store, and many are buying iPhones still, but I have yet to see an iPhone Xr on the train. All I see are mainly older iPhones or iPhone X’s from 2017. Those sold a lot!

If I should mentioned, like I said before – it is possible to save about $100 if you buy the latest phones from other stores than the Apple Store, and that’s good. The cheapest available for the Xr is just above $1000, but for me, it’s still a bit too steep for a phone of that kind. I at least thought so before I played around with it and realized that the phone is awesome, so now I’m not so sure. The real differences are minuscule, really so if you’re not as obsessive about black backgrounds as I am, you’d be stupid almost not to get the Xr and save a few in the process.

Also I do not know for how much longer I’ll be able to keep my iPhone SE, but I shall try and try and try until I go blue in the face to not buy a new one because of everything and more that I wrote about in my last post. It is driving me nuts, but I should also point out that everything in my head goes in like Speedy Gonzales speed or something, so I can make up my mind fast, and if I generally “take some time to think about it” it mostly means that I’ve made a decision in like 2 hours where many think about it for days or months. The biggest enemy I’m fighting is time, really because everything goes so slowly outside my stupid brain. I feel like I do think about stuff for a long time, but all I do after I’ve come to a conclusion is repeat myself until the problem is solved, and that’s my current situation with all Apple products, but mainly iPhones. And that can go on for years!

It’s like a current loop. I’ve come to the conclusion a while back that I want a new phone, for stupid reasons. Still, I want one. The things I’m contemplating until I’ve actually bought one are:

  • Is the iPhone Xr camera enough? It sure is in every other way…
  • Is the Xr too big? I want a bigger screen, yes, but I hesitate with the phablet aspect.
  • Will the Xs battery life be too small, even though it has all the camera features? No matter what it’s almost guaranteed to be better than the iPhone SE… Anything would be better than the SE’s battery life!
  • Can the Xr take cat selfies with Portrait Lighting using the TrueDepth camera? If so, it’s a given winner – but nothing online says so 🤔
  • How fast can I get myself a custom case made after I’ve actually bought the new device?
  • Will I hate myself if I buy a new phone too early? (probably not, I’d most likely be relieved.)
  • Will the $340 price difference (in Sweden) between the Xr and Xs matter if I really can keep my next phone for like 3 years? Probably not…

After I played around with the Xr and the Xs at the Apple Store the other day, I thought of the amazing idea that I could actually put my cat, Maja (pronounced [Mah-ya]) against an even background, put the Xr on a stand on the floor, set a timer for portrait photos and just go to town with burst mode. Hopefully that way I’ll get a couple of nice photos of her when I need too, and for rear portrait mode photos, there’s an app called Halide or something, and I’d easily get that one if possible. If this plan works, aka that the iPhone Xr actually can take selfies with pets using those portrait lighting and studio effects, my biggest problem is solved. I tried the camera in the store, photographing my hand and another phone and I’ve got some great results, and there is an easy way to get bokeh effects with a normal camera as well, just get the subject close enough and you’re done or something. Below you can se what I mean, all photos are taken with my iPhone SE.

The only thing I’d really think I’d want for those rear camera photos are portrait lightning of my cat Maja and perhaps other people in my life, because they can be so full of expressions, with that amazing background. But I don’t know if I’m being too greedy or something with the choice between the Xr and the Xs. The battery life of the Xs and the bigger price tag is what will decide it for sure, but I’m pretty sure I’d be more than satisfied with the Xr after the last post and experience at the Apple Store. I just wanna make sure that I’m 100% satisfied with the purchase of my next phone – no matter what. That way I won’t be that easily persuaded to upgrade yet again when the new iPhones come out next year etc. No, the next one must absolutely be the phone of choice. The phone to master them all. The phone that is the best of the bunch in all different ways that could easily have or get enough camera features that I would not care that much about newer models. Like I felt when I bought the latest Nexus phones. I’d love to have that feeling again. A phone I’m so extremely satisfied with that I won’t budge, even if I’m a little bit curious… I wonder. Is that the iPhone Xr, the Xs or some other phone?

I can say right now that with the rumors of the iPhone X1 getting 3 cameras on the back seems a lot like overkill, so that’s why I sort of feel like upgrading now. I am not interested in a phone with 3 cameras on the back, no matter what that extra lens could do…

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It’s time for some new beginnings…

And it starts with me going back to college! Yep. I got in, but I guess that most of you didn’t even know that I was planning on going back to school either, but it’s true. It’s only been like 5 years or so since I came out of college. I should’ve finished college in 2012, but it took me an additional two years to finish my last essay. That was not my fault, but at last I managed to finish it.

That college education made me a social scientist, specializing in people with disabilities and the job market. I however did not get a job in that field, per say… It’s kind of funny. My first real job actually involved working with a project specializing in just what I’ve gone to college for, but it did not make me work with people in the sense I had planned for myself. And that’s fine! My own disabilities are at “fault” for that. I basically thought of myself as a typical worker at a job agency, but the first job I got was a whole other thing. These days I’m however very grateful for my experience.

It’s just sad that I did not realize I wouldn’t have a permanent future as a social scientist. Technically I could get a job working for the authorities, but I’ve applied countless times and never gotten a response so I have stopped trying. Also, with my current health situation I will never be able to work more than 50% and I can only perform relatively simple tasks, so why bother?

The solution probably lies within the IT business. With who I am as a person and what I’ve always loved doing, I should most likely be a developer if some sorts. I love problem solving and with my years as a blogger, using mainly WordPress as my platform I have developed a huge curiosity for code and development. Unfortunately, due to my Fibromyalgia and restless personality I haven’t been able really to do something about this venture that I’m finally gonna start.

I got accepted into college and if I finish I’ll become a system developer, specializing in Java development. I’ll also get a bachelors degree in computer science.

With this new and awaited start in my life, it is also the perfect time for some other changes. For starters, I am planning to kick start my diet into a WFPB diet that is as vegan, fiber rich and nutritious as possible. With my current health status – I probably have no other choice than eating healthier because I have no idea how I’ll get the strength to study if I do not take care of my health as well.

When school starts I’d be hoping I’d use a MacBook for my studies, but I can’t afford one. Until I can or some other miracle happens I’ll have to make due with our old laptop pc instead. As of writing this, I started writing this post on the laptop but it was so slow and laggy that my domestic partner had to reinstall windows on it and it still keeps bugging out on us. Something is deeply wrong with that laptop and we don’t know why. It is a similar problem that occurred with my desktop pc, but my BF has never had this issue with either the laptop or his own desktop so that makes it all a bit more weird. He finally managed to reinstall Windows on it, but I do not like Windows any longer.

After I’ve used a Mac mini since like April or May of 2018, going back to windows just feels so wrong. I miss the seamless experience that occurs between apple products but hopefully everything will be fine when school starts in a few weeks. Windows is cluttered, messy and it is clearly spying software or something.

I got office 365 with being a student again and I’ve installed it on the Mac mini. On windows, I got a suspicious question if I wanted to let my school change stuff in my computer?! Fortunately I could say hell no to that, but still? WTF?! That’s not cool on a personal computer. Fine if it was owned by the school but we bought it 3 or 4 years ago. This occured before the reinstall of Windows. I’m not sure how much I’ll be needing office 365, so I’ll wait and see until I’ll install it again on the laptop.

Also, on our laptop, it’s been a huge hassle with typing, getting languages to work properly and I miss Safari as my web browser. I’ve installed Firefox on the laptop now, but I miss Safari anyways. It’s not a perfect browser, but this laptop fucking sucks! Or maybe it’s just Windows that i dislike?! I’m writing on it again and I keep touching the touch bar, which makes the cursor move and it gets my words all messed up. I am gonna hate this! Not that I’ve tried using a Macbook ever, but it might be a whole lot better in many ways. With MacOS I at least know where to find everything…

I’m also doing my best to try a new thing, and that new thing has to do with iOS. I’ve been having trouble with Google Photos not uploading photos in the background. According to several sources it is due to iOS being “locked in” and not allowing this, but according to others, it’s been considered a bug. I don’t know what to say, because sometimes it does uploads everything without me having to have the app open in the background and sometimes it does not upload a single thing for weeks – until I manually open the app. I don’t know what to think, but after some googling I’ve decided to do some other thing that many recommends. That thing is to leave apps open in the background and not close them after use.

It’s a bit difficult of a habit to learn, since I’ve done this like always on Android and ever since I got my iPhone SE, but I’m trying my hardest now. If I can change this behavior and let apps be left open in the background, it would make many things a lot easier for me. However, after a little bit of testing it did not help at all with Google Photos. However, the photos I took were uploaded to iCloud and to my Mac mini seconds after I’ve taken them, so the problem remains. For now it makes me want to use Google photos even less, because I’m sick and tired of stuff not working properly! It can be a “good” backup, but nothing else, at least when we’re talking iOS vs Google.

After being an iPhone user with a physical home button for mainly all interactions, I’ve still not gotten used to using a home button. It feels weird, but I LOVE, Touch ID. With this new behavior I’m actually using the home button less, so that’s good. So, what’s the reason to letting apps be left open in the background? Well, that’s because iOS closes apps anyways after like 10 minutes and it uses less RAM if they’re left in the background. They say that if you take a picture with Google Photos in the background, it will wake up the app, but apparently not, but I’ll do some more testing…

I’ve also activated Apple Photos to store my photos and videos in iCloud. I still have like 4 GB left until I have to start paying for the service and I’ve noticed that more than 90% of my photos and videos stored in Google Photos are test videos or random, useless photos anyways so if I were to switch fully to Apple Photos instead, I’d be more careful with photos and videos I’d take. The reason I’m thinking of switching to Apple Photos is because it seems to be a more reliable service with faster uploads between devices, even if I do not use the storage option. Even if I’d start using Apple photos I can still continue to use Google photos anyway because it would be a good backup.

I actually tried to download my whole photo library I have on Google Photos, and I have 50 GB of stuff since like 2011 or something. Some of those photos were taken long before that, but I’m counting since I started using Picasa and then Google photos. If I’d go over to Apple Photos I’d probably take more “quality” photos than just random crap just because I can.

Ok, to sum it up – I have definitively noticed that I love being an Apple user and the Eco system is worth it all, even though it’s expensive as shit. I am starting to change as a person as well, because I am so sick of things never changing for the better. With me being an upcoming student again, I am hoping to change a whole lot more than just prefer being an Apple user. If I succeed, I’ll be a highly paid system/software developer, a WFPB vegan who’s lost 20+ lbs and regained her health and hopefully with a better hold on life than I have right now. I hope to change my behavior as well and learn to read books, not to get angry all the time because I don’t know the solution to things and most of all – I hope this all ends with me having a Great Dane by my side. As well as plenty more Apple products to boot 😂

What are your hopes for your future? Let me know in a comment below. Thanks!

My thoughts about Android… (as a new iPhone user)

In one of my recent posts I wrote that I really dislike Android. That is not really true and I felt after writing that post that I need to clarify my statement a bit further. Hopefully this won’t be a really long 2000 word post, but I can’t promise anything here. Ok, here we go!

I’ve been an android user since 2010 or so. After having an iPhone 3GS I sort of left and never looked back and I’ve been a happy android user for many years. While that might not be the case as of now, it has been a fun ride and I am sad that I feel the way I do about android these days. I wish I could just ignore these feelings and continue being a happy customer, but I can’t. Not any more, and all of my readers that actually care about my posts know all about it by now.

To sum it up, I like (or rather love) Android for what it is in itself. It’s a mobile Operating System that is open source, flexible and very customisable. With Android you can go naked, or Vanilla (aka pure Android) or with a bazillion other features if you go with Samsung for example. Or just Android with the double amounts of apps for the same thing. No matter what, you have a lot of choices and that’s a good thing. There’s a phone for every wallet. Maybe even a perfect phone for everybody? Android as an OS is awesome and I’d probably prefer to keep using it, but here’s the catch:

From all of you who’ve read all my posts about Apple, privacy concerns, Google I/O and also all the fuckups from Google that’s been done for the past years etc. you know what I mean. Android is not what it used to be and I think that’s sad. Although, even though it was not mentioned at all in the Keynote for Google I/O, Android P will enhance many features regarding security and privacy, but from what I’ve learned – I do not trust Google anymore, and therefor I can’t trust Android either. Yeah, Android P might enhance your privacy, and that’s great, but Google as a company still thrives and lives off of your personal data and with all the AI and Machine Learning (ML) they’ve started focusing on, I do not believe that the Android experience will be a lot better, probably only worse. However, if iOS does this better than Android is for me hard to tell, because I haven’t used my iPhone SE for that long. I use a mac mini (late 2012 version) as of now and I play around with a 5+ year old iPad mini 2, and that alone has not taught me the differences regarding privacy and AI/ML stuff. All I know from that is that I really like macOS and that iOS might be limiting, but it’s reliable and have a bunch of nifty features I wish Android would have. The only thing that feels weird when it comes to iOS vs Android is I now have to use the home button and the apps are not placed like they were in my last Android phones, so that makes it a tiny bit harder to find the apps faster, but I’ll get used to that! There are also a lot of hacks and workarounds to get iOS more pleasant, but I’ve figured out most of them for my personal use. Most of them have to do with custom ringtones.

There is also the whole thing about stability that also makes me wanna sway away from Android. The Nexus line from Google is no more. The Pixel phones do not sell officially in Sweden. Samsung puts mainly garbage on their phones and other have their skin on top of Android. If I would have stayed an Android user I’d firstly try out the One Plus 6, since that seem to be the closest reliable phone you could get in the Android world. It would be awesome to have the best of both worlds, a reliable Android phone that lasts like it’s new for like 3+ years, instead of me feeling like the phone needs an upgrade after like a year. The reason why I say that is because of experience. And because I love technology 😉.

Android phones lag, stutters, slows down, crashes, become unresponsive etc and that’s something that usually happens within the first year of purchase. Usually as well, there are no updates to fix the issues. No, its better to just buy a new phone! Not all customers might experience this, but it’s really common. Or they do, but learn to live with it and accept it, or do not realise that it’s a problem. From what I’ve come to learn about iOS devices, that does not really happen, until many years more and then Apple slows down the devices in order to save the batteries. With iOS 12, they’ll probably fix that problem as well and older devices will become a lot snappier again. Also my iPhone SE works a whole lot better than my Lenovo P2, but the battery life sucks when I use it. It’s great on stand-by, but otherwise I’d probably have to charge it twice a day with my usage. That’s also due to me normally starting to panic when I get closer to 50% battery during the day and there’s like 6+ hours until bedtime. I know I don’t have to charge the phone, probably but I most likely do that anyways since I really don’t like it when the battery status is too low.

That brings us to updates and manufacturers of Android devices care of their consumers. Only 6% of android devices have the latest upgraded version of the OS, which is Android Oreo 8. That version was released last fall. That’s mind boggling and I find it absurd that it’s like that low if you go with a more open platform. For iOS devices, it’s basically always been at least 75% of all users within a few months of the release. As of may 31st, 81% of devices run iOS 11. That’s amazing!

And now for the main part – customisation. iOS is known for being limited, hard to customise, but I see it a bit differently from what I’ve learned and tried out for the past week or so. Yes, some things with iOS is really limiting, like how hard it is to change ringtones for certain apps, but in general I have come to believe that the way you customise iOS are in many ways a lot more cooler than the way you can do it with Android. Yes, in Android, you can put the icons where ever you want on the home screen, put them in folders etc. You choose backgrounds and it’s easy to get a custom ringtone for basically every app on your phone. But, where it could matter more is how your phone looks on the outside. Now, unless you have a Samsung phone, your phone is most likely black and boring and looks like every other android device out there. For Samsung phones, it’s easy to get great looking accessories to make your phone shine and look cool. My last android was a “never-even-heard-of” Lenovo P2 phone, so finding a case I liked was really hard. I had to buy one on eBay and wait for weeks to get it and it was not even available in the colour I wanted. That’s because I live in Sweden, and eBay is not available here officially. I also haven’t found a single website online where I could safely create a custom case with a photo or image of my own choice. No, you need a way more popular android phone for that. At least d-brand offers skins for the OP6, but that’s not enough, at least not for me. However, I’m fully aware that there were so called wallet cases for my Lenovo P2, but my sister in law bought one for her phone (she has the same android as my last one). I tried to put that gigantic wallet case in my pocket and found it to be very uncomfortable. Also I am not that interested of replacing a real wallet with a wallet case that also contains my phone. If I’d drop it, I’d also lose my phone in the process. That would not be a good thing.

There’s also the learning curve. iOS is really simple and intuitive, and I’m blown away by the  ecosystem. It’s absolutely amazing how seamless everything is! Before I started to play around with the iPad during the fall of 2017, I thought that the simplicity made iOS also way more complicated than it needs to be. From what I’ve learned and now know, I’ve almost come to prefer iOS over Android, because no matter what device – I know where to find all the settings. For every Android device, it’s always different. I feel sorry for all those non-techy people that have no clue on where to handle their phones. With iOS it’s a simple process and switching to a new iPhone is almost too easy. Especially if you keep a backup in iCloud, because then you could get the exact same setup on the new device as you had on your old one. That’s cool! Not to mention useful. That’s why I prefer to use the Google Now launcher, even though I’ve been using the Evie Launcher for a month or so. when I was still using Android, that is. I prefer Google Now, over Evie, but it’s a little bit better for privacy at least. It was also extremely easy to switch from Android to iOS with the special app, that Apple provides for Android users.

All and all, I like Android for what it is, but I am now an iOS user and I have no plans whatsoever to ever go back willingly. I hope that my iPhone SE will last me at least two years as well.

Also, you should know that I wrote this post several days before posting it, and then I saw this video on YouTube, which basically sums up all my current thoughts about Android in a few minutes. Please watch!

What are your thoughts on Android vs iOS? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!