Tuesday Tech Tip: The Real Price of an iPhone

I know that most of my readers already own iPhones (or another smartphone). This post is for you, but it is also for every person who has ever said, “iPhones are too expensive.” Really, it’s for anyone who carelessly throws around the word “expensive” without taking value-received into account.

Let’s talk about expensive for a minute. I’ve owned a couple of bad Android phones (there are good ones). I paid $80-$100. They lasted me maybe one year, although the screen cracked in my pocket on day two of owning the cheaper one. They were frustrating. I didn’t really enjoy using them so I tended to keep them in my pocket. The cost to me was more in the agony than in the price tag, but neither was pleasant.

I paid $400 for an iPhone that will last me more than two years (at this point, though, I’m definitely feeling the need to upgrade). For our purposes, we’ll ignore the resale value, which allows us to get a decent amount of money back, especially after a year (two is pushing it). I also understand that the iPhone per-month cost includes data and phone minutes which are not cheap. But I think the cost is negligible when we look at things this way…

Let’s look at just some of the things I use my iPhone for on a daily basis:

  • Sleepcycle: tracks my sleep and helps me wake up at the perfect time
  • Alarm Clock
  • Recipes (for breakfast)
  • Timer (for coffee)
  • Email
  • Scan and send documents
  • Check the Weather
  • GPS with traffic (for driving across town and dodging brutal traffic)
  • Portable Music Player (while walking the pugs)
  • Hi-Res Pocket Camera (for snapping a once-in-a-lifetime pic of Relvis avoiding a puddle, which I can then Tweet in realtime)
  • Location-based Reminders (I get reminded to send an email right when I need it: just as I walk up to my front door)
  • Motivation (see previous post all about the Lift app)
  • Watching movies on the go
  • Playing video games instead of being bored in the waiting room
  • Showing off pictures of the ocean to a friend at the bar
  • Meditation (I like the Simply Being app)
  • Yoga (there are so many apps)
  • Skyping with the nieces and nephews
  • Exercising at home (I like Workout Trainer)
  • Looking up random facts at a party to end a debate or maybe looking at pictures of cats (this is my way of covering the entirety of the internet)
  • Learning about the stars at night (using the amazing, but not free, Skyview app)
  • Calendar (My calendar is up-to-the-minute because I use Google Calendar.)
  • Oh, and occasionally I need to call someone and I use it as a phone.
What this list doesn’t address are the deeper benefits I receive. Benefits like better sleep and more exercise make me healthier. Sharing pics, Facebook and skyping with my nieces helps me stay connected to my family. These are meaningful things that technology makes even better.

This is not an exhaustive list, though it is exhausting. The simple point is that I use my iPhone from the second I wake up until my head hits the pillow. I also know when to turn it off and enjoy life gadget-free. But given that I’m getting priceless value (with almost no headache) using it at least two hours each day (that is beyond-conservative to the point of absurdity) I estimate the cost to be around 25 cents an hour (and more realistically, 5 cents or less an hour). An hour! Think how many things on that list you could knock off in an hour…

Don’t get me wrong, smartphones are a luxury. Is $400 a lot of money? Sure. But if we’re talking about the one device you use for absolutely everything every day, then, actually, hell-to-the-no. It’s a steal at twice the price.

The iPhone is easily the least expensive and best value of anything I’ve ever owned.

How is your service like the iPhone? Do you offer value that just gives and gives and gives? Is one of your benefits the fact that your service is hassle- and worry-free?