The High Cost of Being Loyal to Apple

Apple iPhone XS

The Particle Debris article of the week comes from The Washington Post.. It looks at the subtleties of Apple’s increasing hardware costs.

Apple iPhone XS
Apple’s iPhone XS lineup. Updating every year will cost you. Image credit: Apple.

It turns out that there’s a cost associated with being very loyal to Apple and upgrading often. Apple knows that. In this article I found, journalists Geoffrey A. Fowler and Andrew Van Dam look at how: “Your Apple products are getting more expensive. Here’s how they get away with it.” Their primary finding was interesting and, perhaps, generally overlooked.

What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders. [emphasis mine.]

Creating the perception that the latest products will make one a more effective, joyful user is one aspect of marketing. It’s true, up to a point. But where the line is in one’s computing life is subjective. Being enamored with Apple products tends to push the line towards more frequent hardware updates.

There many people who use older Apple equipment to good effect. Those users write me often. But for many enthusiastic loyalists, using older devices just isn’t fun. And that’s what Apple seems to be cashing in on. That’s neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just great marketing and shrewd business practices for Apple’s high technology products.

More Debris

• Gordon Kelly at Forbes reports that a significant design change may be coming to the iPhone in 2019 “which will lead to size, weight and cost savings.” See: “New iPhone Leak ‘Confirms’ Significant Design Decision.” Curiously, Apple is working with Samsung on this one.

• In this entry, I’ll start with the subtitle. “Google security researchers shame Logitech into releasing security update for insecure app.”  If you use Logitech Options with your mouse or keyboard, read this. “Logitech app security flaw allowed keystroke injection attacks.

• This next article from The Eclectic Light Company delves into macOS security mechanisms in a very understandable way. I highly recommend it. “Where do Apple’s recent security updates leave macOS?” Here’s an excerpt.

It is – and always has been – true that good third-party anti-malware software is important for Macs. Whether you need it is a matter of risk assessment. Simply assuming that running the latest version of macOS will protect you is dangerous, and everyone using an older version should think again whether their protection is now sufficient.

Fast Company has some great advice. “7 Digital Privacy Tools You Need to be Using Now.” I’ve gone through the list and concur on every one. Take some time for this one.

• Dan Moren at Macworld intelligently looks at what’s behind Apple’s new job additions and their geographic locations. “What Apple’s new job additions tell us about its product plans.” His analysis is excellent.

Buddy robot.
Buddy. Image credit: Bluefrogrobotics There’s a reason it looks so adorable.

• Readers of this column know that I write often about robots. One of the things I’ve learned is that there is a element of fear when it comes to personal interaction with robots. This is largely unique to Americans and doesn’t exist to as great an extent, for example, in Japan. Loup Ventures provides some hands on research. “Robot Fear Index: Increased Adoption May Be Fueling Concerns.

My take on this is that current, very advanced robots (not family toys) have an unfavorable intelligence to strength ratio. When these robots start acting in human, patient, generous, graceful, empathetic ways, humans will fear them less. We have long way to go in that regard.

AI created human faces
AI created human faces. Image credit: Nvidia.

• Take a look at these faces above. These people don’t exist. Their faces were created by an AI at Nvidia. This is fun but also scary stuff given the potential for misuse. “These People Are Not Real—They Were Created By AI.

• Finally, “The more addicted someone is to technology, the more dysfunctional or non-functional they are…” That’s from another good analysis piece from Loup Ventures.The Bell Curve of Tech Addiction.” You probably sensed this all long, and now we have a good explanation of the cause and effects. Parents, especially, should dig into this one.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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I’m loyal to a good value, so bought a bought a PC laptop this month. I’d previously bought Apple since 1991. I didn’t leave Apple as much as wanted to go to Windows 10 and to hardware that I prefer. And the value is there.

Apple has become an caricature of its former self with prices and the hardware feature choices they make.

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: The WAPO article makes a number of plausible points regarding Apple’s increasing hardware costs that, in the absence of data to the contrary, have to be acknowledged. Two passages stand out in particular, and encapsulate the piece’s main point: “Our charts of Apple’s rising prices are like a Rorschach test: Some see a tech giant gouging us more for ho-hum upgrades. Others see the increasing usefulness of Apple products in our lives. What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech.” And, “Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how… Read more »


Apple used to be worth it, but no longer. Regardless of what they think. In fact, they are worse in some ways such as selling “pro” machines without ports and not even selling a dock to make up for missing ports. They are out of their minds.


It’s scary how much Fowler and Van Dam mirror my thoughts. Good to know there are others thinking the same as me about the new Apple. I’m keeping my devices 3-4 years longer and think it’s time to leave the Apple ecosystem when it’s time to replace. The garden is now a jail. Time to breathe again.


Hardware and services should be agnostic. You can use iCloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive on Windows or Mac. You can still use your iPhone and have a Windows or have an Android phone and use a Mac. Ecosystem is a myth.


John: I just can’t read any articles by Gordon Kelly. He writes clickbait crap that’s usually overblown anti-Apple hype. The Macalope has a lot of fun exposing his BS and having more fun doing it than should be legal!

The only worse “reporter” out there writing nonsense about Apple is Ewan Spence – also at Forbes…