I'm going to cut right to the point – the pricing of Apple's new iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus) is so astronomically insane that my brain has exploded (from simply gazing at the stupidity of the cost)...and my pudding-ish brain matter is now oozing out from my ears.
Now, to be fair, there really wasn't any chance I was going to buy a new iPhone 6 anyway. I'm simply not a big fan of Apple's product line. The software lacks significant features that rival systems have had for years; it's astoundingly un-customizable; it's rather sluggish on (what should be) fairly fast hardware...and, perhaps most importantly to me, I'm not a fan of how Apple artificially cripples their software so users can't run it where they want to (virtual machines being a key example).
But when the price of the new iPhone 6 Plus was revealed – $749 for the low-end, 16 GB model – I damn near spit soda all over my screen. For what is essentially a 5.5-inch tablet (with a cellphone chip...something that is an astoundingly cheap component compared to the rest of the system) this price is absolutely ridiculous. Bordering on bonkers.
It might as well cost $2 million, because at $749, buying one is something no sane person would do.
Then, as if to simply further make my point for me, Amazon followed up Apple's announcements by releasing the Fire HD 6, a 6-inch tablet with fairly similar (but slightly better, in some ways) specs...for $119. That's right. Roughly 15% of the cost of the iPhone 6 Plus.
I hear many Apple fanboys crying foul already. So let's look at the hard numbers.
- The iPhone 6 Plus gives you a 5.5-inch (1920x1080) display, a dual-core 1.4 GHz CPU and 16 GB of storage.
- The Fire HD 6 gives you a 6-inch (1280x800) display, a quad-core 1.4 GHz CPU and 16 GB of storage.
In short – the iPhone has a slightly higher resolution (but smaller) screen. But it looks like the Fire HD 6 matches or beats the iPhone in most other ways. Again... for roughly 15% of the price.
OK, so this isn't exactly an Apples-to-Apples comparison here. The camera on the iPhone 6 Plus, for example, is also quite a bit nicer than the Fire HD 6. So let’s look at another possible smartphone comparison...the Nexus 5.
The year-old Nexus 5 phone has a 4.95-inch (1920x1080) display, a quad-core 2.26 GHz CPU and 16 GB of storage. The price? $349. Roughly 46% of the price of the low-end iPhone 6 Plus.
And the Nexus 5 has an 8MB camera. Just like the iPhone 6 Plus. Really, the big difference between these two is that the Nexus 5 has a higher pixel density (445 pixels/inch vs. the iPhone 6 Plus's 401 pixels/inch). The iPhone has a slightly bigger screen (by half an inch) but, in all other ways that can be measured by mankind, is an inferior (or, at best, roughly similar) product to 2013's Nexus 5.
The way I look at it is this...
You could either buy an iPhone 6 Plus, and be sad, or you could buy a Nexus 5 and an Amazon Fire HD 6. Then, because you haven't even come close to spending the $749 that the iPhone costs, you could buy an Android-powered Moto 360 smartwatch ($249) and still have $30 left over to go see a movie.
And, here's the crazy thing, you won't have gotten cheap, inferior gear by opting not to go with the iPhone 6. In fact, in most measurable ways, you'll now have superior hardware and far more flexible software.
Chances are, if you're reading this article, nothing I said here was a surprise to you. You probably stayed as far away from the iPhone 6 as you could, because you are a sane person who can do math.