Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or a particularly large PC chassis, you may have noticed that Apple just announced the iPhone X.
I seem to remember words like 'revolutionary' and 'game changing' spoken on stage in hushed, yet reverent, tones, as if trying to summon a shy woodland sprite into existence. It might not have been quite those words, as I was a bit light headed after consuming too much pizza.
However, after much hype, the iPhone X was revealed, and while it is undoubtedly a nice-looking phone, the most revolutionary aspect of it is the price. Apple wants us to pay $999 (£999, AU$1,579) for the cheapest version, and then probably expects us to write Tim Cook a note of thanks afterwards.
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However, as anyone who has seen the state of my trousers will have guessed, I don’t have $1,000 lying around (otherwise I’d be wearing solid gold trousers. They cost $1,000 right?). But, since the reveal of the price, I’ve been fantasizing over what I would spend $1,000 on – and an iPhone isn’t one of them.
Of course, the first thing on my fantasy shopping list is some solid gold trousers. That’s a given. And also some sort of mode of transportation, as I won’t be able to move my legs.
I’d also be seriously eyeing up some major upgrades for my PC. An AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X would be a lovely addition, and is just shy of the $1,000 iPhone X price tag.
However, I could never question someone’s desire to spend $1,000 on an iPhone when I’d be willing to pay $1,000 on a 16-core monster of a processor that is, let’s face it, probably overkill for most things I use my PC for. It’s a status symbol (albeit a very geeky one). The best of the best.
In other words, what I love about the Threadripper is exactly the same things that makes the iPhone X so appealing to people that aren't me. Perhaps, Mr. Cook, you and I are not so different after all.
I do know, however, that the Threadripper won’t be outdated for many, many years, unlike the iPhone X, which will be outdated in exactly one year. Or, as Android fans will love to tell you, it’s already outdated. Meanwhile, Windows Phone fans, mainly clustered around the Redmond area of Washington, quietly weep.
Maybe spending $1,000 on a CPU is a bit over the top. I could, instead, get a couple of graphics cards, in our view the for gamers. With a bit of careful shopping around, two of them can be had for around the same price as the iPhone X 256GB version.
Build a gaming PC for less than an iPhone X
I could also build a whole new gaming PC from the ground up for less than an iPhone X. Sure, if you’re in the market for a smartphone, you’re not really going to be swayed by buying a gaming PC instead, but it’s an interesting thought experiment.
For a price of around $900 (£700, AU$1,200), I could build the following PC:
It’s not the most powerful gaming machine in the world, and the price assumes you either already have a key for Windows or are willing to use Linux for gaming (LOL). But, it does put into perspective what you can do with the money that Apple is asking for.
Is the iPhone X worth that money? Is a CPU or a gaming PC worth it? Is anything? At the end of the day, if it’s your money and you spend it on something that makes you happy, then it is worth it.
For some people that will be Apple’s latest smartphone. For others, it will be a ludicrously powerful processor. For a special, wonderful, few ... it will be solid gold trousers.
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