Here in Ireland the new iPhone X will be available to pre-order from the 27th October at 8.01am.
The iPhone X (the 'X' being a roman numeral, so it's pronounced 'ten') page on the Apple web site already lists the prices as:
- €1,179 for the 64 GB version
- €1,349 for the 256 GB version
That's a lot of money for a mobile phone. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S8 sells for about €650, and the OnePlus 5 starts at €500 – half the price of the iPhone X. So is this latest iPhone worth the money? Is it twice as good as those Android phones?
Are people still going to queue up to buy it?
The thing is that this is an Apple product, and Apple products are not just phones or computers – they're aspirational items. They are premium products that people are willing to pay premium prices for.
A BMW 5 series costs roughly twice as much as a Skoda Superb. Both are lovely cars, and drive you from A to B in relative comfort. But the BMW isn't twice as good as the Skoda – it isn't twice as fast, or twice as comfortable. So when you buy a BMW you are paying for much more than the car – you are paying for the brand.
You are paying to own a car that proclaims its own expensiveness. That's why premium products have such obvious branding on them. Because after all, why would anyone pay more for a product that looks identical to the much cheaper equivalent?
In the 10 years since Apple first released the iPhone they have successfully positioned it as not just 'a' smartphone, but 'the' smartphone for people to aspire to.
People might justify (to themselves or others) buying the iPhone X for the superior operating system, or because they think it has the best screen, best camera, or best looking handset. But at the end of the day, they are really buying it for what it says about them.
And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If owning the iPhone X makes them happy, then good. I'm happy for them. I may even take an interest if one of my friends or colleagues gets one – just as I would be interested to look at their brand new BMW – but not enough to part with the cash for either the phone or the car myself.
I used to own an iPhone 3G and an iPhone 4 back in the day – and I still think they're nice devices – but I couldn't justify to myself to keep paying the premium prices for successive iPhones, and I switched over to Android instead.
I guess that value for money matters more to me than brand – even if I do still lust over the latest and greatest technology out there.