Apple unveiled iPhone 11, iPhone 11 pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max this week. While iPhone 11 is priced at Rs 65,000, the other two models cost nearly Rs 1 lakh. These phones come with longer battery life and advanced cameras.
ThePrint asks: Apple unveils new iPhone 11: Are people spending money to buy the same phone again?
An iPhone works beautifully, some of us are too stubborn to admit it
Senior Correspondent, ThePrint
No one is spending too much money on any phone, iPhone or otherwise. The smartphone market now survives on monthly instalments plans.
So, it doesn’t matter if you’re an Apple fan looking to dutifully upgrade your phone, or an Apple sceptic, who thinks the new iPhone is nothing but old wine in a new bottle.
If you are interested in trying out the new phone, you may do so without paying a bomb, thanks to monthly instalments.
While doing a story on super-expensive iPhones, one seller in Surat told me that 70-80 per cent of all customers (includes non-iPhone users too) buy phones through monthly instalments. How else, he said, can an auto driver afford a phone worth Rs 30,000-Rs 50,000.
It’s the same in the US too. When Apple revealed its pricing for the new iPhones in the US, the company representative said they were aware that users like the monthly payment option and that’s why they have introduced monthly payment plans (varying rates for the three new iPhones).
Do Indians want to own an iPhone? Yes, given a choice, everyone would like to have it. It’s a beautiful-looking phone that works amazingly well. It’s just that some of us are too stubborn to admit it, and some of us are afraid of being labelled pretentious for using a phone long perceived as needlessly expensive.
Don’t get the logic of upgrading to the latest iPhone model when my old one is serving me fine
Moushumi Das Gupta
Senior Associate Editor, ThePrint
The tech geeks could be shelling out a bomb to buy the latest iPhone model in town. But I am not. Period. This, despite using a dated iPhone 6 model. I bought it in 2017 when it was finally affordable.
I don’t get the logic of upgrading to the latest iPhone model when my old one is serving me fine. I also don’t understand how you can become “happening” and be a part of the “it crowd” by upgrading to the newest model, when you can do everything you want with your old phone.
I am tech-challenged compared to most of my friends and colleagues. But I can use my iPhone to make and receive calls, send and receive messages, access mails and Twitter, file stories, watch videos, record videos, record interviews, do mobile banking, listen to my favourite song, read, buy my favourite pair of shoes from Amazon, order fish online, take selfies, post photos and more.
Why should I shell out a bomb to acquire the latest model?
But I do admit I get thrilled every time Apple launches a new phone. And I bet many others share this feeling. Not because they are dying to upgrade to the latest model. But they, like me, are looking at the prospect of being able to afford this iPhone a few years later, when it would no longer be this expensive. It doesn’t matter if the model is outdated by then.
Consecutive models don’t necessarily have much of a difference, but that doesn’t mean they’re identical
News Editor, ThePrint
There are some things that are more about luxury than necessity, and an Apple product falls in the former category.
As iPhone 11 is launched, fans will be eager to find out how different or advanced is this version from the previous one.
For iPhone users, the charm lies in the interface, the aesthetics of the phone, the iOS software and the fact that you can link it to your other Apple products like a Macbook.
It’s not right to say that every iPhone is the same. The variation can be significant depending on the gap in the generation of iPhones. Compare an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6 and you will know the difference. Or, an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 8. Consecutive models don’t necessarily have much of a difference, but that does not mean they are identical.
It is also about getting used to a certain software and user interface, the comfort it brings, and the ease with which you are able to navigate the gadget. To be sure, for many it is more of a status symbol than anything else.
Of course, the price of an iPhone is the big question, but for aficionados, it is worth the hole in their pockets.
In smartphone universe, many phones outrank iPhone on performance and specs
Senior Web Editor, ThePrint
iPhones have always catered to a particular kind of an audience – the kind who see phones as a status symbol. Buying an iPhone is like buying into the whole Apple universe, because that’s their business model. So, it’s not just about investing Rs 60,000 on a phone, it’s also about spending that amount of money every couple of years on an upgrade, and other Apple products.
In an economy like India’s, which is so fluid and is currently going through a difficult time, that kind of investment seems absolutely unnecessary.
Apple will inevitably launch another iPhone in a couple of years, perpetuating the cycle. So, why buy something that is so unnecessarily expensive and will soon become outdated? The same money can be invested in something much more stable and useful.
Technology will improve, there will be better things out there. Even in the smartphone universe, there are phones that outrank the iPhone, both in terms of performance and specs. While the pride of owning an elite product is understandable, it would be better, logically, to own one that can give you the same experience but at a much lower price.
Owning the latest iPhone is all about symbolism – exclusive and expensive
Senior Web Editor, ThePrint
iPhone users queuing up outside an Apple store to buy the latest model shows how users identify with the brand. This has nothing to do with value for money.
Over the years, Apple has established itself as an innovator and has successfully marketed the brand around this.
In the early 2010s, when loyal Apple product users were mocked as ‘iSheep’, an article explained the psychology of iPhone buyers. It said social identity is one of the most important factors (apart from self-identity and value of the product and quality of service) that determines our choices, such as buying an iPhone. Social identity makes people define themselves through the groups they belong to – the so-called “in-groups”. So, you may be part of the Apple “in-group” and would want to buy the new model asap.
Acquiring the latest iPhone model has more to do with the symbolism: exclusive and expensive.
Earlier this year, Gucci introduced a pair of battered-looking, pre-dirtied sneakers called the ‘Screener’, priced at $870 and upwards. But then, people would still buy it ‘because it is Gucci’.
By Revathi Krishnan, journalist at ThePrint