We are living in strange times. Apple does not have the most expensive phone on the mass market. That honour goes to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra which starts at $1,400 and can go as high as $1600!
That is a lot of money for a phone and Samsung has jam-packed the phone with features to justify its high price. It has a lot of megapixels and a lot of screen space.
We can attribute the insane prices levied on these smartphones on Apple. In 2017, Apple announced that the iPhone X will start at $999 which paved the way for other smartphone manufacturers to start offering smartphones that exceed the $1,000 price point.
I’m still not a fan of the $1,000+ pricetags levied on phones. That is a lot of money for most people and the sales prove it. For example, in 2019, Apple had the $1000 iPhone XS and the cheaper iPhone XR that retailed for $750. The iPhone XR ended up selling way more than the XS and XS Max combined. When they released the $699 iPhone 11, the sequel to the iPhone XR, it almost matched the sales of the XR in a year in 3 months.
Something changed a while ago. Apple announced the iPhone SE 2020 which is a $399 phone with their flagship processor and a pretty good camera for its price. We know Apple is not the cheapest brand out here so this price is still stupefying for the performance it promises. Judging from the sales of the iPhone 11, I bet that this phone will be a best-seller, even if we are in this uncertain world where the economy is depressed and people are in quarantine.
However, if you check around, you will notice that Apple has been releasing relatively well priced gadgets for the money. Their base iPad (32GB) starts at $329 and it is a lot of iPad for the money. You can get the Apple Watch Series 3 for $200 if you do not explicitly need the ECG and always on screen from the Series 5. At this point in time, a person who has never been into the Apple ecosystem can easily join the ecosystem easier than before.
What Apple devices can you get for the $1400 or $1600 price tag of the Galaxy S20 Ultra?
Another thought crossed my mind: How many Apple products can you get for roughly the same price as a base Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra? The answer is quite a lot actually and the different combinations can be endless. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is $1300 in Kenya and started at $1400 in the US and as high as $1600 in the Us for the 16GB RAM/512GB internal storage model.
My favourite combination is combining the iPhone SE 2020 128GB variant ($450), AirPods Pro ($250), Apple Watch Series 3 ($200), base iPad 128GB ($430), and an Apple Pencil ($100). The grand total is $1430 which is only $30 more than a base Galaxy S20 Ultra in the US. If you decide to go with the base $329 iPad and forego the Apple pencil, the price is similar to a Galaxy S20 Plus.
You can even decide to choose an alternate combination. You can get the 128GB iPhone SE, base iPad Pro and an Apple Watch 3 for only $50 more than the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
It becomes more interesting when you throw in a laptop to the mix. You can get a base Macbook Air 2020 and an iPhone SE for the same price as a base Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you decided to add an Apple Watch 3 to the mix, the price matches the top-end Galaxy S20 Ultra which is $1,600 in the US.
The reason I picked the S20 Ulta for the comparison is that it is the most expensive mass-market Android phone on the market. What if we decided to forget about it and bring a cheaper flagship to the mix? Well, enters the OnePlus 8 Pro.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is not cheap and currently retails for $900, which is $100 cheaper than the base Samsung Galaxy S20. However, you can still get an iPhone SE 2020, AirPods Pro and an Apple Watch Series 3 for the same price as a single OnePlus 8 Pro, which is insane.
Reversing the perspective
What if we reversed that perspective. Think of a manufacturer in the Android ecosystem in which we can pick a midrange smartphone with the top processor available, a good base tablet, a smartwatch and wireless earbuds that go for less than $1100 that would get you an iPhone 11 Pro.
Let’s choose Samsung for example. They don’t have a midrange phone with the Snapdragon 865 for $400. They have a $330 Galaxy Tab A which matches the base iPad. The older Galaxy Active smartwatch is usually $200. Their wireless buds (Galaxy buds+) are roughly $150. If they had a $400 midrange smartphone with a Snapdragon 865 or the Exynos 990, this would have made for a nice list for someone who would want to join the Samsung ecosystem.
It is surprising that we are in a time where Apple’s competitors are matching them on price. In this scenario where we use the $1100 iPhone 11 Pro max price, you can get the $450 iPhone SE, a $330 iPad, $200 Apple Watch Series 3 and $160 AirPods.
The conclusion here is that Apple has somehow made it easier for people to join their ecosystem. You can get a brand new iPhone for $400, a brand new iPad for $300 and even a brand new Apple Watch for $200. Granted, this is not cheap to everyone but for a company that is known for having expensive products, this is a nice surprise. The iPhone SE has the ability to cannibalize much more expensive iPhones, especially the iPhone XR which looks overpriced in comparison.
The iPhone SE 2020 has put into perspective of whether people need to pay all that money for a top-end iPhone or a top-end Android phone and whether the balance by getting an iPhone SE can be used to get other good products. This will cannibalize sales of their iPhones and other Android smartphones at its price range and it is actually great to see.