Remember that old argument about the difference between price and cost. They’re not the same. Sometimes we buy something at a lower price, but it ends up costing more in money, repairs, time, aggravation, et al. This past weekend I visited with my parents and lamented the price tag on Apple’s new HomePod Siri-in-a-speaker-can. $349.
My dad asked me how much money I spend on Apple products each year. Before I could answer he pointed out the obvious. Everyone– Apple included– is out to get my money. The example he gave was how much we spend on communications and entertainment. My father is from the era where television was over-the-air and free. Ditto for radio. Both were the norms for information and entertainment back in the day. My parents paid less than $10 a month for a landline phone.
Now, compare that to what many of us who follow technology pay each month. There’s the cable TV bill, but that also includes internet access and can hit $100 to $200 or more per month by itself. Sure, hundreds of TV channels. Hundreds of dollars a month.
Also, compare the monthly cellphone bill with a landline from yesteryear. Yes, a smartphone does far more, but it’s priced far more, too; often approaching $100. My father was a newspaper reporter back in the day and his tools of the trade included a typewriter, a legal pad, and a pocket notebook. Today’s reporters need only an iPhone or iPad or Mac, but often have all three. Compare that total price tag with what my father used.
While I get a new iPhone each year, thanks to Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, I average a new iPad every three years (they make excellent hand-me-downs) and a new Mac every two years (actually, I keep each Mac– Mac notebook and iMac– for four years but stagger the upgrade to mitigate the ongoing price tag). Then there’s Watch, AirPods, Apple TV, plus Apple Music, and so on.
Without question I spend hundreds of dollars a month on telecommunication devices for work, information gathering, and entertain. Yes, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV, et al, do far more than my father’s typewriter and notepads but the end result is much the same. I make a living. It’s just not so cheap to get there.
Life in the 21st century is more complicated than my parent’s lives in the 20th century. And certainly more expensive because the price tag and cost of maintaining an Apple-oriented lifestyle with cable TV, internet connection, and cellular data plans for iPad and Watch continue to increase.
And, yes, my parents have cable TV, a landline telephone, an iPhone each, one iPad and one Mac, so they’re caught up in the 21st century lifestyle, too.