By Jacob Kersh
Although the tech giants who manufacture our beloved iPhones and Androids love to deny the fact whenever the topic rises to the surface, consumers throughout the United States have come to a critical consensus: smartphones have just gotten too expensive. And not only in terms of unit price itself, but also in money spent per year.
Yes, studies have shown that the majority of today’s consumers reluctantly agree that paying $1000 for a smartphone is no longer a ridiculous and foreign concept (even if most also refuse to do so). Yes, the prices of smartphones released by companies such as Apple and Samsung have increased dramatically over about a five year period as well. However, the lucrative manufacturers and rapidly changing consumer mindsets aren’t the only aspects of the situation that should be assigned blame. When Glenelg Junior Gabby Steinberg was interviewed about the topic, she said that “carriers are definitely also at fault because they push consumers to upgrade faster,” and that “this exploitation is the reason why [she has] spent an increased amount of [her] savings on a personal level.” Upon further research, Steinberg’s accusations proved to be quite correct.
See, not so long ago, phone contracts lasted for 24 months, and this schedule is what signalled for many that they were due for an upgrade. Nowadays, 18 month fast upgrade programs are dominating the market, and some carriers even offer yearly upgrade cycles based on the device being purchased. Verizon is notable for utilizing this method to sell more iPhones to the general public than ever.
During recent years, phone manufacturers have feverishly tried to hide the concept of increasing cell phone prices by introducing trade-in programs, holiday discounts, and other general ways to give the consumer less foreboding of a bill during their initial purchase. However, the majority of the population has still become aware of this changing phone ecosystem and price range shift. That doesn’t mean that anything is going to change, though—especially because most cell phone makers release either one or two flagship device every single year. Therefore, consumers will either have to accept the fact that they will never have the “latest and greatest” device for longer than six months to a year, or shell out a significant amount of their savings even after trading in their “old” device to purchase something new.
Within the Glenelg community, most students prefer to stick with their older iPhones and Androids. Most see no reason to trade their devices as frequently as new versions are being put out, and many also lack the funding to upgrade biannually or anually. Another factor that some students take into consideration is the lack of innovation on the manufacturer's end. For example, Glenelg Senior Hassan Malik says that “if the latest and greatest device looks, feels, and performs almost the exact same as the one that was released a year ago—which is usually the case—then buying something new is basically pointless.” Most parents who provide their children with the money to perform these upgrades would agree with this statement entirely.
Overall, it is undeniable that smartphone costs have been increasing dramatically over recent years and will continue to do so. However, this shift does not constitute the need to purchase the most cutting edge technology every time it is released. As long as consumers possess the knowledge to create their own upgrade schedule based on the money they have access to, the issue becomes tremendously easier to deal with. So next time you see someone with the newest iPhone in their hands, remind yourself that what you have in your pocket is a perfectly fine device as well.