There has been a bumper crop in Apple’s product orchard this year. But what you will find is that picking Apples this year is significantly more expensive than last year by an average of about 20 percent. It would be easy to mistake the initial purchase as the most expensive part of owning an Apple product. It is not.
You might also consider the cost of services. You don’t just need to by an iPhone, but iCloud storage if you want to back up those 128GB of storage. Don’t forget the photos that are getting ever larger and thus requiring more storage. If music is your thing, there is iTunes music for around $15 on a family plan.
As expensive as all these things can be, there is something even more expensive about owning Apple products. USA Today offers insight in its article “The High Costs of Repairing an Apple iDevice”
“The bottom line, as I learned: You break an Apple Watch, you might as well buy a new one. The device starts at $399, and Apple’s flat rate fee to fix a screen is $299. If you bought AppleCare (for $79), Apple will give you up to two fixes of “accidental damage,” at $69 a pop. Or in other words, you’d spend around $150 (Apple Care, plus the fee) to fix a watch you spent $400 on, or 37.5 percent of the initial cost.”
The above example highlights what it costs to fix a broken Apple Watch. But the broader message is that repairing an Apple product is extraordinarily expensive as a factor in total cost of ownership. You can take most other products into any repair shop in any city for a reasonable price. But many of them will not touch Apple products because of the difficulty and added expense of parts and service.
This might be mostly due to the parts and features that go into the devices. Better glass costs more money. But an iPhone screen is about more than just the glass. It also incorporates Touch ID on older phones, which cannot be serviced by third-parties for security reasons. The newer phones have Face ID components just under the glass. These are not exactly off the shelf parts. And they are intimately associated with the Secure Enclave coprocessor inside.
In part, this is why the majority of iPhone owners purchase aftermarket cases to protect their investment. Average iPhone cost is about $800 each; breaking the rear glass can cost over half that out of warranty because the device also contains charging coils.
Apple does not make protective cases for the Apple Watch. One accidental scrape against a brick wall, and you are not getting it repaired, you are buying a new watch.
Many resist buying Apple Care because it seems like a bad deal at first. But as iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs get more expensive and harder to repair, Apple Care and protective cases become a necessity that has to be figured into the initial and long-term cost of ownership. You only need to break one of those devices before you are on the wrong side of the math.