How many ways can you compare products? As always, the answer is “it depends.” When it comes to the iPhone, or any major product from Apple, I see two basic shoot out comparison options. The first is obvious. Pit one iPhone model to another. iPhone XS Max is not, in any way except one, an iPhone 7.
The latter is smaller, less expensive, and does not have the same improved hardware features of Apple’s flagship iPhone model. Think OLED display vs. LCD. Think dual camera vs. single camera.
What are the commonalities that do not need to be compared?
iOS. Apple’s ecosystem. Between Apple’s iPhone models, there is little difference in what iOS can do on each model, and the ecosystem ties all Apple products together. There are differences between products, yes; but Apple’s most distinguished differentiators differsless between each iPhone model than comparisons between competing smartphones.
Take a look at Jamie McKane’s recent product shootout that compared Samsung’s highly touted Galaxy S10e vs. iPhone XR.
Over the last four years, the price of a flagship Samsung smartphone has increased by 73%, while the price of a new iPhone has risen by 82%.
Fair enough. Price is a valid comparison option. But where is the mention of resale value? iPhone may have a higher on-average price than comparable Samsung Galaxy-whatever models, but which of the two has the lowest ongoing cost?
iPhone crushes Androids on resale value
Apple makes some of the most expensive smartphones, these devices also depreciate in value far less than their rivals. In other words, iPhones cost more to buy but much less to use.
That kind of comparison only shows up once or twice in a year in technology reviews. Instead, what most technology product reviews focus on is a laundry list of hardware specifications.
When was the last time you appreciated an iPhone because it had 3GB of RAM? Or, thanked Apple because the display was OLED instead of LCD?
Most customers do not compare such hardware components, but members of the technorati elite politburo do it all the time.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e has the iPhone Xr beaten in terms of raw specifications on paper, although it should be noted that the devices run different operating systems and this will not always translate into a performance difference.
This is where such reviews and comparisons go dead wrong. Technology writers often do not understand the distinction between price and cost, and that means they do not understand value.
Both smartphones offer cutting-edge features and great value compared to the true flagships from their respective manufacturers, but Samsung’s Galaxy S10e seems to offer just a little bit more in terms of value compared to the iPhone Xr (sic).
Though similarly priced when new, a few months from now the Samsung Galaxy S10e will be on sale (already given away free from some U.S. cellphone carriers), and one year from now iPhone XR’s resale value will be almost double that of Galaxy S10e.
And I didn’t even have time to write about the differences between iOS on iPhone and Android-whatever on Samsung-whatever. That’s OK. Technology writers seldom compare the two anyway.