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Dhaka Tribune

Are iPhones Worth the Price?

The longer a phone remains in good working condition, the longer it stays in someone's hands rather than being disposed of. E-waste is a genuine problem, and iPhones, with their ability to perform well over an extended period and being passed along between users, effectively reduce the amount of electronic waste generated

Update : 17 May 2023, 07:52 PM

Let's face it. Apple products are often considered expensive, and iPhones are no exception. When it comes to good value for money, iPhones are often excluded from the list. However, what if I told you that the higher price tag of iPhones is justified when compared to their competitors? In this article, we will explore this somewhat unpopular opinion and delve deeper into the topic of e-waste.

Resale Value

Currently, iPhones are not just premium smartphones sought after solely for their appeal. They are no longer considered luxury goods as they were in the past. Nowadays, with as little as Tk40,000, one can acquire a used iPhone released at least four years ago, and many people are opting for them.

This is intriguing. Unlike other smartphones, iPhones tend to maintain their resale value rather well. Let's take a look at the Facebook Marketplace, where numerous sales and purchases occur. On browsing through countless listings, it's evident that the 128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is listed between Tk60,000 and Tk75,000. Surprisingly, someone is even trying to sell just the unlocked motherboard with the front camera for Tk38,000.

It's essential to note that this particular phone was launched in 2020, around three years ago, with an initial price of approximately Tk160,000. Despite its age, the three-year-old iPhone 12 Pro Max is still being sold for more than one-third of its original price.

Now, let's compare this with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, also found on the same marketplace. Countless listings indicate that most of them are priced between Tk30,000 and Tk40,000, nearly half the price of iPhones.

Similar trends can be observed with Pixel devices in the global market as well. Browsing through various iPhone users' groups on Facebook, it's apparent that individuals with tighter budgets are often opting for four to five-year-old iPhones. The iPhone X and XS, for instance, remain popular and are listed between Tk20,000 and Tk35,000.

When purchasing a used iPhone, most people consider battery health as a crucial factor. If the battery health is above 85%, it's generally regarded as a good purchase. In summary, iPhones tend to retain their resale value exceptionally well. If you spend Tk200,000 on an iPhone today, there's a good chance you can resell it for Tk120,000 after two years or Tk80,000 to Tk90,000 after three years, depending on the battery health.

Longest Software Support

iPhones currently have the longest software support available. Each iPhone receives five years of software updates from the time of its release. Even after the promised five years end, Apple continues to provide occasional security updates in case of data breaches or emerging threats that could compromise the device's security.

Although Apple sells iPhones at a premium price, they assume the responsibility of ensuring the security of all their released phones, even after the guaranteed five-year support period. This means that an iPhone released in 2023 will continue to receive software updates until 2028, functioning as intended. Of course, after three or four years, the battery might require replacement, which can be expensive considering Apple's limitations on third-party repairs. However, it's still a more cost-effective option than buying a new phone.

Hardware Support

Apple boasts some of the best hardware in the smartphone market today. They develop certain components in-house while outsourcing others to top-tier companies. For instance, Samsung provides Apple with its finest displays even before releasing them in their own flagship devices. This level of collaboration extends to every component found within an iPhone.

Due to Apple's commitment to providing top-quality hardware within iPhones, along with the most powerful chipsets, these devices can handle daily tasks as well as resource-intensive jobs such as video editing or gaming, even years after their release. 

Although the chipset inside a three-year-old iPhone may be three years old, it was the best available at the time of release, and users are unlikely to encounter significant issues while using it. The primary component that tends to deteriorate

with prolonged use is the battery, which is a common characteristic of current battery technology.

E-Waste

Believe it or not, many Android phones, particularly those in the low or mid-range segments, often end up forgotten in a drawer after just one or two years and eventually find their way to the trash after three or four years. Unused phones require occasional maintenance every couple of months, as we will discuss further in future articles.

E-waste poses significant environmental and health risks. Many electronic devices contain hazardous substances like lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. When improperly disposed of or recycled, these substances can leach into the soil and water, polluting ecosystems and posing health hazards to humans and wildlife.

The quantity of e-waste generated worldwide is escalating rapidly. With shorter product life cycles and frequent upgrades, electronic devices are being discarded at an alarming rate. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, approximately 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste were generated globally in 2019, and this number is projected to rise.

E-waste also contributes to resource depletion. Electronics contain valuable materials like gold, silver, copper, and rare earth metals. When not properly recycled, these resources go to waste. Recycling e-waste allows for the recovery and reuse of these valuable materials, reducing the need for new resource extraction and minimizing environmental impact.

Improper handling and disposal of e-waste pose health and safety risks. Informal recycling operations, often prevalent in developing countries, may expose workers to hazardous substances without proper protective measures. Inadequate e-waste management can lead to chemical exposures, fires, explosions, and injuries. Communities living near e-waste dumping sites may also suffer adverse health effects due to environmental contamination.

Proper disposal and recycling of e-waste are essential. Many regions have established collection points, recycling centers, or specific e-waste recycling events where individuals can drop off their old electronics for responsible recycling. 

The longer a phone remains in good working condition, the longer it stays in someone's hands rather than being disposed of. E-waste is a genuine problem, and iPhones, with their ability to perform well over an extended period and being passed along between users, effectively reduce the amount of electronic waste generated.

A Request to Readers

As a tech reviewer, I firmly believe that all smartphones have unique offerings (except for those unnecessary 2MP macro cameras). There are numerous options to choose from, and individuals have every right to make a choice based on their preferences. Don't let reviews intimidate you. Visit stores, assess which smartphone suits you best, and follow your instincts.

If you feel that an expensive phone with an exceptional camera is what you need, go for it. If you believe that a mid-range phone will suffice for now, then that's the right choice. Don't spend all your hard-earned money on an expensive phone if you won't utilize the features that make it costly in the first place.

Having said that, I sincerely request all my readers, regardless of whether they use Android or iPhones, to refrain from discarding their used smartphones. Instead, try to sell them or pass them on to someone else in your family or a friend who recently lost their phone. Just avoid throwing them in the trash bin. 

If possible, maximize the usage of your smartphone while it still functions. We have a dedicated article on this topic. If the phone is completely broken, dispose of it properly. Consider selling it or giving it to a repair shop where its parts can be utilized to give life to another device.


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