I own an Apple device, an iPad Air 2 – I am writing this article on it. However, whilst it has a good hardware specification, I am fully aware that I have paid over the odds for it because of the name attached. This is particularly true of the iPhone, which is by far and away the biggest earner for Apple.
What do I mean by this? Well, if you go to Apple and look at the price of a 64GB iPhone 6S Plus it is £699. A 64GB Nexus 6P, which you may recall me proclaiming as the zenith of smartphone development, it costs £499.99 from the Google Play Store.
This may not only be one hell of a difference, but also in every way that matters the Nexus 6P outclasses the iPhone 6S Plus. The Nexus 6P has more RAM, a display with 73% more pixels, which is one hell of a lot in a display of the same dimensions, it has a better, faster camera, it has a faster GPU and its processor whips the iPhone 6S Plus whenever it has a multithreaded workload (which is pretty much all the time). Then there is the Operating System.
iOS is a comparative toy OS, as it always has been, to the richly functional Android. Android 6/Marshmallow on the Nexus 6P not only gets monthly security patches (the iPhone gets them entirely according to Apple’s whim), but also it is a joy to use compared to the patronisingly moronic iOS.
There is just so little you can do with iOS. On my iPad I use Google’s Chrome browser as much as possible because it is simply better than Safari. Can I change my default browser to be Chrome? Of course not! Apple insist every time you click a link outside the browser it throws you into the nightmare of Safari (but well done Microsoft for allowing you to choose Chrome as your browser of choice when using Outlook). On my Android device I can change my default browser to any of the plethora on the Play Store.
Indeed, you can totally dispense with virtually all of Google’s apps, including the Play Store itself, on your Android device and set your default apps for every action to be as you wish. On my Nexus 6P I use an email app called Nine that is extremely well integrated with Android Wear, has a rich text editor for emails and is designed to work with Exchange Activesync, which all my email accounts use. Is there any way of using a different email app to Apple’s piece of dross? Yes, but you cannot set it to be your default. Thus, every time you click on an email link you are thrown into Apple’s email client which is so crude it cannot even word wrap lines of emails to the size of the composition window. Dismal!
It is also true that you are getting ripped off at the high-to-mid-range of the market. A 32GB iPhone 5S, and presumably the 5SE when it appears in March, can be nabbed from Apple for £419, whilst a 32GB Nexus 5X costs £339 from Google. An enormous difference and, once again, the iPhone is the technically inferior device with a revolting operating system; I suppose, at least, you are getting Apple’s last good-looking phone.
Then there is the mid-to-low-range. Apple’s dev… hang on, it is beneath Apple to sell phones to the vast majority of smartphones users. This is why Android accounts for ~80% of the smartphone market whereas Apple accounts for 15%. It is increasingly clear (not least to investors) that Apple have sold iPhones to everyone who wants one who can afford one. The only market where iPhone sales are still growing is China, and looking at income statistics it would seem that pretty much everyone who can afford to spend $833+ on an iPhone there, already has one.
The same is true of tablets. Apple will bleed you for hundreds of pounds for an iPad whereas Amazon will flog you a Kindle Fire for fifty quid.
Time is not on Apple’s side. As technology continues to evolve more and more features will make their way into phones positioned lower in the market (you may recall my co-blogger-cum-partner Dani’s assuredly positive experience with the bottom end of the Windows Phone line-up). Apple will continue to churn out is hyper-pricy hardware with its crippled OS whilst people will be able to get the same or better experience for far less money.
You may be aware that sales of the iPad are falling, up to the end of Q3 last year iPad sales dropped by 19.5% year-on-year. People are falling out of love with the enthusiastically priced iPad when each iteration provides little difference from the preceding one. There are much cheaper tablets that will do what you need.
As this has happened with the iPad, the iPhone is doomed to follow. Over-specced and vastly over-priced only status obsessed arses, with £50 notes to wipe themselves with, will think it good value to pay excessive amounts for something that may have incredible integer number crunching power. These phones reduced to symbols of affluence provide no substantive difference to a non-mathematician, normal user, than something a fraction of price.
Apple are on a road to nowhere.