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Why iPhones cost almost three times as much as Android phones

It's no surprise that iPhones are expensive, especially following the release of larger screened iPhones and the gargantuan iPhone 6 Plus. But Android phones come in equally large sizes too (think the Galaxy Note 4, OnePlus One or Nexus 6). So why is it that the average cost of an iPhone is almost three times that of an Android phone?

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There's a lot of money in big phones. But even more if it's an iPhone. © ANDROIDPIT

The difference in pricing is indicative of wider trends: during 2014, iPhones increased in price by around 15 percent, while, on average, Android devices dropped in price by between 19 and 28 percent. This means an average iPhone now costs 2.7 times more than the average Android.

New figures from ABI Research and the Wall Street Journal show the average price for an iPhone in Q4 2014 was 687 USD, up from 600 USD in Q1 of the same year. Meanwhile, the average price tag on an Android device dropped during the same period, from 300-350 USD in Q1 2014 to just 254 USD in Q4 2014.

nexus6 size teaser
The iPhone 6 Plus, Nexus 6 and Galaxy Note 4. © ANDROIDPIT

These results are due to two rather obvious factors: iPhones got a lot bigger at the end of 2014 at the same time as low-cost Android devices started becoming more popular.

Launched at the same time as the new iPhones, Google's Android One program – low-cost devices which are now running Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box – is making great gains in emerging mobile markets like India and parts of Asia (African countries are not on the Android One list yet).

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Google's low-cost Android One program brings affordable mobility to the masses. © Micromax

Meanwhile, the Chinese smartphone arena is the largest mobile market in the world and several low-cost Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi and OnePlus are increasingly looking at North American and European markets. So as Apple continues to appeal almost exclusively to the affluent, Android caters to everyone: offering everything from high-priced flagship devices to sub-100 USD handsets.

The spotlight of mobile technology quite often focuses on high-profile, premium flagship devices, but in Android they are the exception, not the rule. Android's true strength lies in bringing accessible, affordable and increasingly high-quality smartphones to the masses. This tactic does not fit into Apple's current strategy.

What do you think about the price discrepancy? Who do you think has the winning strategy?

Source: WSJ

Readers' favorite comments

  • Buck Nekid Feb 7, 2015

    Ask an iPhone owner. They actually believe they own a better phone. Then walk them through the specs of their phone versus a high-end Android phone. Invariably, the Android phone will have better specs. Does the iPhone owner acknowledge that their phone is not the latest and greatest? No, they'll sputter "But, but, but....."

    Also, if you factor how often iPhone owners have to upgrade to get the latest features and specs, the price is actually even higher.

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  • Reg Joo Feb 9, 2015 Link to comment

    This article seems incomplete. I wondered about component, by component $ comparison, and the justification of the prices.

  • It's expensive to walk 🚶 in a walled garden

  • I dont know if you guys have noticed (seems like not) but any flagship is almost as expensive as an iPhone. When I bought my Galaxy S4 it was as expensive as the iPhone 5S.

  • Another reason for the high price is because most of the components in an iPhone are not actually made by Apple.

  • Rob S Feb 7, 2015 Link to comment

    "Apple continues to appeal almost exclusively to the affluent..." and/or those masquerading as affluent.

    • Andy W Feb 9, 2015 Link to comment

      Or those who want something that works, gets the latest updates as apple releases them, and know they will continue to receive support and updates from apple for a number of years... How many people have Android L? Less then 2% you say... Hmmmmm.

  • Android = freedom (no one is controlling you)
    iPhone = locked in (controlled by apple)

  • Ask an iPhone owner. They actually believe they own a better phone. Then walk them through the specs of their phone versus a high-end Android phone. Invariably, the Android phone will have better specs. Does the iPhone owner acknowledge that their phone is not the latest and greatest? No, they'll sputter "But, but, but....."

    Also, if you factor how often iPhone owners have to upgrade to get the latest features and specs, the price is actually even higher.

    • plck74 Feb 7, 2015 Link to comment

      yet they buy....

    • Andy W Feb 9, 2015 Link to comment

      You've missed the point, apple make the hardware AND the software. Both are optimised for each other with the end user experience in mind. What us the point of a high end processor if the user experience is a shorter battery life and a laggy phone because of bad coding. Higher specs are often just used to sell more phones. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what is inside if the phone responds quickly and does everything well.

      High specs don't automatically mean high end experience. If a slightly lower spec'd processor with specific well written code translates to a fast phone with a longer batter life in a smaller package, that's a better phone.

      Looking at spec's to judge phones is missing half the story.

  • And that's why I will never buy an iPhone. Also I don't trust Apple's 'tight grip' on does phones.

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