Basically the Same: There's nothing really different about iPhones

by Uluroo — September 28, 2017

They all make calls. They all have touchscreens. What's the difference, really?

Ladies and gentlemen, we're in for a rough ride today. Investors are quickly selling out of logic (LGC, –21.07%) now that facts no longer have any meaning.

Wait, what are we talking about? Here to give us the details is MarketWatch's Brett Arends, who says, "I bought my first Apple iPhone — and I regret it."

When it comes to the iPhone, I’m an idiot, I’ve always been an idiot, and I’ll always be an idiot, and I don’t care.


Really, what Brett means by "not caring" is that he doesn't care to try to understand why people buy iPhones and why they're so popular. That's why you should listen to him. Oh, and he also knows how to use stereotypical arguments. That too. That's also why we should listen to him.

I’ve finally switched full time to an Apple ... iPhone after holding out for 10 years, and you know what? Those things are so overrated. I have no idea what all the fuss is about.

Has Brett been hiding under a rock for the past ten years? Why has he been holding out?

This isn’t even the third-best smartphone I’ve ever owned, even though it costs more than any of them. It’s not as good as my $180 BlackBerry Passport, with its matchless keyboard. It’s not as good as the $120 Blu Life One XL I got last year.

Uluroo isn't sure you can endorse the Blu Life One XL as better than the iPhone without exploding with laughter, but maybe that's what actually happened. The Blu Life has 8GB of internal storage. It has 1GB of RAM. It runs Android KitKat. It is basically a phone from five years ago. And there's nothing wrong with budget phones like this one, but price isn't an indicator of how good something is, it's just how you determine if you want to buy it. The iPhone is better than the Blu Life on pretty much every spec on the list.

The best smartphone I’ve ever owned? The Nokia/Microsoft Lumia 635. I bought it nearly two years ago. It cost me $70.

Maybe that was the best smartphone you've ever owned. That's cool. But there is pretty much nobody else who would prefer a $70 Windows Phone over an iPhone. The Lumia had a five-megapixel camera. Uluroo speaks in the past tense because the way a 2017 phone is defined as good is largely based on camera quality. You know what else is interesting about the Lumia 635?

It. Has. No. Selfie. Camera.

So Brett, it's fine if you aren't the type of person who cares about anything other than price in your phones, but don't go al "Whaaa?" when other people actually want good phones, because then that results in articles like these. You could at least understand why someone would want a good phone, right? Even if you don't?

It’s not that the iPhone is bad. It’s fine. It’s just that it’s not noticeably better than phones that cost a fraction of the price.

A camera that's far better is not "noticeably better." All these phones are a fraction of the price because they are the same fraction of the quality. It's fine if you don't value things like cameras and software as much, but it should be really easy to understand why some people do.

I see young people walking around using iPhones with smashed screens because their phones are so expensive, they can’t afford to replace them. What is wrong with these people?

Yes! iPhones are the only ones that have screens that break. It's impossible for any other phone's screen to break. Also, cracked screens are totally Apple's problem because screen protectors are from an alternate reality.

And Brett, if we're really going to ask what's wrong with people, a lot of these people you're treating like idiots would ask what's wrong with someone who glorifies cheaper phones and doesn't understand why some people prefer iPhones. That's just a thought.

It’s just over 10 years since the first iPhone was launched. Back then I wrote that it was “not the future.” Sometimes trolls like to throw that back at me, generally — actually, invariably — without reading the article.

Or maybe these "trolls" are people who actually did read the article and see how hilariously wrong it was.

But you know what? I was right. The iPhone, as unveiled by Steve Jobs in 2007, sucked. It lacked 3G, for heaven’s sake. It was locked to a single network and an expensive two-year contract. It had no third-party apps.

And here's where he misses the point. Because Apple wasn't saying "3G IS NOT THE FUTURE! 3G IS FOR LOSERS!" It wasn't advertising expensive contracts.

It was limited to 16 gigabytes of memory.

Brett's beloved Blu Life One XL had eight gigabytes of storage. So it looks like the original iPhone was pretty good by his standards.

Oh, yeah — and the iPhone cost $600.

Are you kidding me?

Yet people lined up around the block to buy it.

And why is this? Well, Brett even talks about it a little bit.

Back then, the iPhone had one genuine feature that was ahead of its time: the amazing user interface. It was a terrific innovation. The capacitive touchscreen had only recently been invented, and Apple was the first out of the block to take advantage.

Uhhh, yeah. That's not really true. The capacitive touchscreen had been around since the 1970s. That's what made the iPhone so unique: This stuff had been around for years and no one had implemented it well.

Today, every smartphone has it.

[Spit take]

So basically you're saying that the iPhone was in fact the future? Because that's what it sounds like. And you would be correct.

Apple obviously knew that 3G would be important in the future. It obviously planned to expand the storage from the start. It didn't want to release the iPhone and then just sit there eating ice cream without updating it. But the iPhone was still the future because its interface is what every Android version has basically been based on. You. Literally. Just. Said. This. Why can't you see that this was how the iPhone was the future of the smartphone?

Yet for all that, something amazing has happened. Something I did not expect and still find extraordinary.

Did iPhones explode? Oh, wait, that's another phone and has nothing to do with what we're talking about, lalalalala...

Even though Apple has charged, and continues to charge, vastly more than its competitors for a comparable product, millions of people still line up around the block to buy it. There is no real reason why people should pay hundreds of dollars more for the iPhone. Yet they do.

[Bangs head on desk] That is a total lie! iPhone users have plenty of reasons to buy this "comparable product," which is comparable in the same way that a Ferrari is comparable to a used car in the junkyard. iPhones generically have better cameras, better performance, a better ecosystem, and a better overall user experience. Again, there's nothing wrong with buying a budget phone, but it should still be easy to see why someone buys an iPhone. Like, maybe they don't want one of those totally unrelated exploding phones.

Oh, wait, did Uluroo say phones? He meant time bombs. Because, you know... Well, you know what he means.

People who are rightly worried about money — student loans, health-care costs, apartment rentals — still stand in line to buy a new $700 phone while chatting online to their friends on the perfectly good $700 iPhone they bought last year.

Maybe they don't want to increase their healthcare costs because of a phone explosion. Just maybe. Or maybe they think a phone is important enough to spend money on.

And it's kind of annoying for you to tell someone that a) the cost of their phone comes into conflict with healthcare and costs of living and b) how they should prioritize their spending. Maybe there are people who don't need to worry about healthcare costs just because they pay for a phone. Especially when people usually cover the costs of iPhones with monthly payments.

In a rational market, Apple would have had to slash its prices to compete with Android phones. (Yes, I slightly prefer the iOS operating system. And, yes, Apple could rationally charge a bit more because of it. But nothing like what it does.)

And you know what? Apple became the most valuable company in the world by charging "way too much" for its products. So clearly the prices have been justified by the customers who pay for them. And if you "slightly prefer" iOS, you should be able to understand that many people want to pay more for a phone that isn't a piece of garbage.

This is a luxury-goods company, like Gucci or Cartier or Hermès. Apple users get to look down their noses at those who use cheapo Android phones.

And then Brett gets to look down from his Blackberry at those who pay so much for these good phones! Why do they do it?

Uluroo has an iPhone. He takes offense when someone tells him that he bought it because he wanted to be a snob. No, he bought it because he wanted a phone that he believed was so much better that the price was justified. Please don't skip over rational arguments because you think you can get away with calling Apple users haughty rich brats who want to look down at Android users. That's not cool, and it makes Uluroo want to print your article out and hang it over his desk as an example of what not to write.

When it comes to people paying three times as much for something just because of the name, I am, I admit, an idiot.

Sorry you brought this up, but Uluroo thinks maybe you're a self-termed "idiot" when it comes to understanding people's motivations. "Understanding" is an archaic tradition practiced by indigenous tribes in some unexplored region of South America.

So, um, yeah. You can be fine with your 2010-era phones, but please don't get all weirded out when people buy the phones they think are better. Because there's a lot that's different about iPhones. And when you do what you just did in this article, you aren't watching the market, you're making up your own.