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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I played around with the new iPhones today…

And oh, fuck – do I want a bigger phone! Seriously. It’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my iPhone SE, since it’s probably the best phone I’ve ever had, but it’s so tiny and I hate writing on it, because all words are so often misspelled. By the best I mean that’s it’s the most reliable phone I’ve had so far. I’ve written about this before, when I first got my iPhone SE, so read more in that post to know more. However, this iPhone and Apple obsession never seems to end. It just goes on and on and on. And I do not know why! Isn’t it enough now? Apparently not. I need to have more than just an iPhone, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini and an iPad with the Apple Pencil. I tried the AirPods and I’ve also bought a magic mouse. Sadly the AirPods did not work well enough for my ears, so I returned them after a few weeks. Now I use the OnePlus Wireless Bullets instead. They work fine, but I’d much rather try a pair of BeatsX bullets instead, since they have the W1 chip. That chip is great, because it means I can easily switch between the Apple products I have, but with the OP bullets, not so much. I’m seriously thinking of giving those to my BF and buy myself a pair of BeatsX instead, but we’ll see what happens. No matter what, I want (need) this Apple obsession to stop. Like seriously stop!

One photo of me taken with the iPhone Xr from an Apple Store. I love the black background effect!

Like the title of this post, I do have to tell you about my experience today, playing around for a bit with the new phones. I just had to! It was totally necessary so I could know more. I played with all of them, but mostly the Xr. All the photos in this post are from that phone, including the featured image. The reason for that was because I wanted to try taking black background selfies with all of the cameras, but when I played around with the next one, the Xs, the camera features threw me off a bit. That was because of I noticed that I couldn’t take those light studio photos of objects, only of people and because of that I forgot to take selfies with it. Later, it turned out that it was because of the environment of the store and lack of good backgrounds that was the issue, but still, I’m sad that I couldn’t take any selfies with the Xs. I wanted to know if the camera differences really are such a big deal, because I’d really like to get a cheaper phone if possible, next time I buy one. As of now, it seems even more that the Xr is more than good enough for me, but the three big differences still remain.

ModelXrXsXs Max
PriceWinnerSomewhat winsToo expensive!
SizeSomewhat winsWinnerToo big, but best for typing
Camera featuresMisses portrait lightning on rear camera and no “bokeh” effect for petsHas all the featuresHas all the features
Battery lifeAbsolute winner according to many sourcesProbably worstWinner

With the table above you can see my reasoning of all the devices. At first I have to point out that they are all too expensive, but since they have different price tags, one must be cheaper and one more expensive. In Sweden the prices are outrageous, but that’s a topic for another day. The Xs max was most likely way too big, but sure it was absolutely best for typing. It’s also too expensive, unless I’d get it from somewhere else and I can pay the same price as a normal Xs, so that’s ok. But it’s too big and the Xs Max is most likely out of the picture now. the Xr wins easily with it’s price and the size is ok. As of today as a 8 month-ish iPhone SE user, it felt a bit too big as well, but I liked it and everything about it was a whole lot better than I first anticipated. I did not notice the bigger bezels or the notch. All I cared about was the camera and typing experience. If I’d someday decide to get that one, I’m sure I’ll be more than satisfied with it. The Xs felt best to hold in the hand, but worst at typing, due to the smallest screen, but the screen size was more than enough either way. The LCD screen was also amazing on the Xr, so that would be no problem for me whatsoever.

The three biggest deals for me are price, camera features and battery life. I need a phone that lasts me through a whole day while I’m at school and preferably longer. This means I need it to have enough battery left when I get home so I don’t feel like panicking. Panic occurs when I have less than 50% and it’s before 6PM or something like that. I guess I’m lucky that way? I need the phone to withstand at least 1 hour as hotspot, 2-3 hours of wireless bluetooth listening to Spotify while on the train and be used while I surf the web and go through social media. It’s not necessarily needed for gaming, since I only use my iPad for that these days. It would also be nice if I could take many photos and a video or two without loosing too much battery. With my iPhone SE I have less than 30% often when I have days like that and I’ve been to school and I fucking hate it! And often on those days, I’ve only been away for like 5 hours and I get home at 2 PM. I do not think that’s normal behavior for a phone. Maybe for a phone with that tiny battery, but still, it’s not good. Also the typing experience on the SE sucks! Especially in Swedish, so I am doing everything I can to type on it as little as possible. In order for me to write on it properly I have to use so much energy to make sure I hit the right keys and still, it wouldn’t work that good. I really dislike it but I am still ashamed of thinking of a new phone because of many things and I shall write about those next:

I got my iPhone SE as a gift from my BF for getting a passing grade in math in june 2018. That was amazing! I’ve told myself from the start that I hope this phone will last, and it will, as long as I never leave the apartment and only browse the internet, or something like that. If I use it for anything more, especially out of the house it’s a problem within minutes of use. I hate to be bothered by it, but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about getting myself a better device. If I wasn’t attending college right now, I probably would not care that much, but since I am, and I’m finally doing something with my time, my tiny phone with its tiny screen and tiniest battery in the world is really an issue for me. It makes it hard for me to focus on other things if I’m not doing something really important, like studying, but right now, I’m on the Christmas break, so I’ve gotten more than needed time to think about getting a new phone. Even though I don’t “really” need it.

There are solutions, of course. Always bring my charger with me while on foot. Use a computer to chat whenever possible, and since I’m not an active vlogger on YouTube or that active of a blogger on WordPress, there’s really no need for a fantastic camera in my pocket, since what I have absolutely does the job. I do all of that today and I save my money and I will continue to do so as long as possible. But still, I can’t stop thinking about it and it drives me nuts! I seriously hope I can solve this or stop thinking about this without buying a new phone before it’s time to upgrade anyway. No matter what I will upgrade this year, because I can’t stand these “tiny” issues, because they are tiny. Even as a pun. Tiny as being unnecessary feelings and tiny because everything about the SE is tiny!

As long as I can continue to not buy a new phone just because “I can”, I am considering myself to be a hero or something. You have seriously no idea how much energy and will I have to use in order for me to stop these “buying” feelings… And it’s only gonna get harder after today with this new experience. If I wasn’t so greedy when it comes to money, or cheap, or just simply “I do not want to spend money if I absolutely do not have to” as a person, I’d have an 8 plus, X, Xs, Xr or any other expensive and new(ish) iPhone in my pocket already. However, in my life as of now, since living most of my days rather poorly since I left home in 2001 – I love to save money and not spend it. Like Scrooge MacDuck, without being a billionaire. As of now I’m just a “poor student”.

Spending money makes me nervous if spent on the wrong thing, because I’ve done so way too much when I was younger. I do not want to repeat those mistakes again, so I want to make sure that everything I buy these days are worth while, even though I’m not considered poor by any means any longer, because now I save instead of spend. I bought my iPad with my own money when I started school, and luckily that purchase has not caused me any anxiety whatsoever. I even think about it as a “free” device since I’ve then gotten all that money back by saving each month and I use it on a daily basis for both school, and many other things and I love it. If I perhaps can think of my next iPhone the same way, by continuing to save money and eventually getting it back (by continuing to save money), it will be a lot easier? What do you think? What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Another photo of me with a black background. This time, my face is in color.