By Jesse Stilwell, September 14 2017 —
People have been rushing to buy the new iPhone 8 since its anouncement on Sept. 12. My first thought was a Macklemore lyric — “that’s what I call getting tricked by a business.”
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X — also announced this week in California — have very few differences from previous editions of the iPhone. Depending how much memory a customer chooses to buy, the phone can cost as much as a brand–new Macbook. These price increases, coupled with the lack of meaningful new features, mean that the excitement isn’t warranted.
Most additions to the new iPhones won’t add any utility to the phone. A big change is that the new phones won’t come with a home button. Apple argues that this will enable greater multitasking for the user, even though the home button served exactly that purpose on the other models. Another new feature is wireless charging, which is cool, but portable chargers have given users mobility while charging for a while now. Apple also did not bring back a headphone jack, forcing users to adapt to expensive bluetooth earbuds. Despite these concerns, people are still excited to get their hands on the newest iPhone.
People are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for these products because they are new and from a brand they admire. This is like buying a brand–new version of a textbook for hundreds of dollars instead of a perfectly good used edition. Most students learn not to do this by their second year. By not using their purchasing power to demonstrate their grievances with the product and company, consumers are not holding Apple accountable.
Apple fans had reasonable criticisms of the iPhone 7, namely the absence of a headphone jack. Apple ignored this and did not add one back to the new models, but people are still buying the devices. Customers can’t expect to be sold better products if they are willing to purchase mediocre ones at premium prices.
This highlights a negative trend in society. Consumerism and materialism are running rampant and creating a less-than-ideal market for valuable goods. People now rely on smartphones for a variety of everyday activities. If companies want people to buy new models, the products need to better support these activities. It’s wasteful to buy an expensive phone just because it’s made by Apple. When people forget this and buy whatever massive corporations sell them, they are wasting their money and forcing new smartphone customers to purchase lower-quality products.
Forbes found that more educated people are the most likely to purchase the newest iPhone, and that they are also more likely to interact with these companies only as consumers rather than as critics. This is a problem. As the most educated portion of society, these people should also be the most critical.
If you purchased a brand–new iPhone recently, it’s okay. I can’t tell you how to spend your money. But being an uncritical consumer willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a product from a trendy company won’t benefit anyone. Try to take a moment and think about whether a new product is an improvement over an old one or if it will really improve your life before you reward a massive corporation with your hard–earned money.