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Why are Apple devices so expensive? Are they worth it?

As owner of an app development company, I need to have several iOS devices and a few Macs in the company. And because we are also developing for Android, I am always carrying both an iOS and an Android phone. So I can compare.

The good thing about Apple is that Apple has very decent hardware. On top of that Apple owns the full hardware and software stack, so everything works seamlessly together. And, if you are susceptible for a nice design, Apple make beautiful devices. Therefore Apple believes that it can charge a premium price for that. Of course recently there have been quality issues (battery throttling, butterfly keyboard, …)

Is it worth? Well it depends of your situation and on the product.

  • for an iPad it is simple. The competition is nowhere near Apple. So if you want/need a good working tablet, the iPad is the best choice. But there is a big question mark if you really need a tablet, if you are mainly checking emails, browsing websites and playing games like 80% of the owners of a tablet.
  • for an iPhone, we are no longer in 2015, where the iPhone 6 was the best device you could get on the market. In recent 18 months mid-range Android devices ($300 - $400) have increased enormously in quality and features. As such I am no longer convinced that an iPhone is the best buy on the market. Only for the very high end users an iPhone can be justified. But most iPhone users are just not aware of it and are still thinking that if you don’t pay $800 or more for a smartphone, you get a crappy phone.
  • We use Macs in the company for 2 groups of tasks: for iOS development, where it is compulsory to develop on a Mac, and for graphical design. The graphical tool chain on a Mac is superb. The whole Adobe suite and applications like Sketch, are exactly the tools we need. So in this case we make a positive choice to use Macs, and they are worth it.
  • For back-end development we are using Dell XPS machines that are running Linux. The premium of 30% for a Mac cannot be justified in this case. On the contrary, we need to run our software in Docker containers which run faster on Linux than on MacOS. On top of that features like the touchbar are very expensive gimmicks that have no use for back end development (the touchbar even drives productivity down in this case)
  • If you are a normal home user I would not advise to use Macs, they are too expensive for their value. And now that Windows is no longer a horrible beast with the much improved version 10, I would shoot for a $500 windows PC