iPhone Temptation

When looking at Apple’s new iPhones, I’m tempted to buy the more expensive versions. I am lured by the upsell. The least expensive iPhone is all the smartphone you need…but the other iPhones are more shiny!

The dubious rationale behind the purchase of a $1,000 phone is explained nicely in this article on Medium: The Weird Economics of the Apple Upsell.

This year, Apple’s iPhone lineup is a huge Sarlacc pit, ready to pull you in at any point. The span of magical iPhones for 2020 is impressive indeed; there are 7!

The new top iPhone 12 Pro Max 512GB at $1,400 is a full $1,000 more than the 64GB iPhone SE at $400!

Yet both iPhones do basically the same things: make phone calls, texts, take good pictures, run apps, and surf the web. Both have NFC for wireless payments. Both are water resistant.

So what justifies the huge price difference? Fair question. What is the rationale behind buying anything over the iPhone SE?

In the Medium article I mentioned above, it talks about comparing the cheapest new iPhone to the next one in the lineup and then repeating that process each step of the way up until you’ve rationalized buying a phone for $1,400. It makes sense yet it’s kind of bonkers at the same time.

But here’s how to break that reasoning. Don’t compare the iPhone SE to the next one up the lineup chain. Compare the new $400 iPhone, which is all you really need, to the old phone you are upgrading from. That’s the only one to compare to.

If your current phone is ready for an upgrade, then you simply compare it to the least expensive iPhone and leave it at that. Don’t look at the others. Compare only your old phone with the new lowest-cost iPhone. Old phone: frown. New phone: smile. New phone only $400, yes!

It would be nice to live in a reality where we’re rational all the time and never let our emotions or impulses affect our decisions. But we don’t.

Yet it’s rational to strive for such rationality; so we do.