Trending December 2023 # Opinion: Why The Upgrade Cycle Means The ‘Apple Tax’ Is Lower Than It Seems # Suggested January 2024 # Top 18 Popular

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I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value … 

Today’s CIRP data on replacement cycles confirmed what Apple users already knew: Apple kit remains useful for many years. It’s not unusual to use a Mac for four years, and when we do finally replace it, the old one is likely to be either passed on to a family member, or sold for a decent proportion of the purchase cost.

As a somewhat extreme example, I have an old iMac in my kitchen. When I say old, I mean it: it’s an iMac G5, a 2004 PPC machine. Admittedly I’m not using it for anything demanding – it is mostly used as a recipe book and a kitchen music system (hooked up to a pair of speakers and streaming music from a shared library on my main machine). But it’s a ten-year-old desktop computer, it’s still working perfectly and it’s still doing something useful.

A new one today costs $999, so your effective purchase cost for the replacement is $499. Another way of looking at it is your cost of ownership was $143 a year. That Best Buy special Windows laptop someone bought for $300 three or four years ago is, in contrast, now basically worthless.

It’s a similar story with other models. For example, this 2009 iMac – that’s a five year old desktop computer – went for $650.

A new one today costs $1299, so effective replacement cost is $649 – or an annual cost of ownership of $130. Again, a five-year-old Windows desktop machine will barely be worth the hassle of selling.

Same deal with an iPad. Here’s a bottom-of-the-range iPad 2, three years old, which went for $255.

Replace it with the iPad 4 at $399, and your effective replacement cost is $144, or an ownership cost of $48 a year. Opt for the lovely iPad Air, and it’s instead $499, giving a replacement cost of $244 or an annual ownership cost of $81. It’s a similar story with iPhones.

But I think the point stands, and matches my own experience when I upgrade my own kit. The resale value of an iPhone, iPad or Mac is a high percentage of the purchase cost because the useful lifetime of the device is far longer than is typical for competitor products.

So yes, we spend more on our kit than friends who buy cheap Windows laptops and cheap Android phones; yes, we do pay a premium for what we get; but the Apple tax is significantly smaller than many suggest.



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Opinion: Let The Ipod Touch Rest In Peace – Or Upgrade It Now

Remember the good old days when the iPod touch was the go-to device when you didn’t have an iPhone or iPad? Unfortunately, these days are slowly falling behind us. Apple doesn’t promote any iPods anymore, and it’s time to let this device rest in peace alongside all the other iPods — or upgrade it.

In fact, the iPod touch has been so forgotten by Apple and its users that you really need to search for it on Google to find out the company still sells the 2023 seventh-generation iPod touch in six colors and up to 256GB of storage.

Apple touted that the current iPod touch is all about the “fun at full speed.” The company even promoted the iPod touch as a gaming device before releasing its Apple Arcade service. Now, with over 180 games on its gaming subscription platform and three years later, the iPod touch feels lost in time.

It runs the A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7. Although it’s twice as fast as its previous model and has three times better graphics performance, with only a 4-inch Retina display, the iPod touch feels too small. It has an 8MP camera capable of video recording in 1080p HD and has a FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP resolution.

With an outdated camera and display size, and almost an outdated chip, will Apple try to revive the iPod glory in an eighth-generation?

What’s the point of having an iPod touch in 2023

With Family Sharing set up, the kid can also benefit from iCloud, asking for an adult to approve in-app payments, and it can always be found with the Find My feature. For an adult or an older person, the iPod touch will feel too small to read or play games. The iPod touch speakers also leave a lot to be desired.

If we compare the iPod touch with a gaming console, let’s go back to 2023. At the time of the seventh-generation iPod touch launched, Nintendo was still a few months away from introducing the $199 Nintendo Switch Lite practically created for kids. It has a more resistant design, unattachable controllers, and access to classic Nintendo games. Its larger screen compared to the iPod touch is also important to note.

When the Japanese company introduced a cheaper version of its successful Nintendo Switch console, the iPod touch also lost its “gaming device” benefit. In 2023, it’s way more noticeable. Here’s what my colleague Jeff Benjamin had to say about the iPod in 2023:

“How does the iPod touch 7th-gen work as a portable video game machine? I’ve found that it works fairly well if you consider a few potential caveats. The most obvious downside is screen size. While many of the games work well on the 4-inch display of the iPod touch, some games, like the third-person runner Hot Lava, are a stretch to play on such a small display.”

“For adults, this may be especially true, since bigger hands can easily obscure the display, which also serves as the primary controller for games on the platform. Using an external Bluetooth controller helps — iOS 13 adds PlayStation Dual Shock 4 and Microsoft Xbox One controller support — but such a setup isn’t exactly ideal for a device with a 4-inch display.“

What Apple could do about the iPod touch?

Apple has two-way outs with the iPod touch: it can upgrade it with better cameras, a larger display, and a faster processor with the A12 Bionic or superior. Or the company can say goodbye to the iPod once and for all.

As WWDC 2023 approaches, it could be a great time for Apple to announce one of the two things: the iPod line going away for good or giving it a well-deserved upgrade. iOS 15, for example, will probably stop supporting the iPhone 6s. With that in mind, the iPod touch and the A10 Fusion processor could be supported for just one more year — giving new buyers of the iPod only one major software update.


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Galaxy S10 Benchmarks Lower Than Iphone Xs: Why It Doesn’T Matter

Galaxy S10 benchmarks lower than iPhone XS: why it doesn’t matter

Even before it’s officially launched, the Galaxy S10 is already earning mixed “reviews”. And we’re not just talking about controversial punch holes and in-screen fingerprint scanners here. The past few days have witnessed the appearance of benchmarks for both the Galaxy S10 as well as its processors, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Samsung Exynos 9820. The numbers vary depending on the source but one thing they all seem to have in common is that they fall below the iPhone XS and Apple’s A12 processor. As disappointing as that may sound for Android and Samsung fans, in the end, those benchmark scores really don’t matter.

There are many reasons why benchmarks should never be a factor in judging a smartphone’s quality, no matter how impressive or underwhelming the numbers are. Try as they might, benchmarks can only really approximate what how people use their phones. They can never accurately measure the exact experience users will have considering so many variables involved. Benchmark makers can’t even agree whether they’re testing for the theoretical maximum potential of hardware or something closer to real-world use.

That’s not to say benchmarks are completely pointless, even if cheaters do make them less credible. Like in any other industry, benchmarks serve as a starting point for comparison. They are, however, just that. Especially without an industry standard, there will never be a point that everyone can agree on how the comparison starts and where the discussions will go.

Benchmarks aside, individual hardware performance is still not a credible measure of end-user experience. Not unless the difference is as clear as night and day. Unlike PCs where such benchmarks are often cited, smartphones are made up of multiple components, not all of which come from the same vendor, any of which can affect performance. From battery life to cellular modem down to memory management, smartphones from different brands are so unique they might as well be different platforms.

Then there’s that “apples to oranges” comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Apple iPhone XS. The end user experience between the Android and iOS couldn’t be more different that it’s impossible for benchmarks to even paint an accurate picture. The two mobile platforms handle apps and resources so differently to the point that an iPhone can keep running smoothly with half the memory of an Android phone from the same generation. It might be more fruitful, no pun intended, to compare Samsung and Huawei benchmarks, but then their custom Android software also gets in the way of a fair fight.

But will the Galaxy S10, and presumably other Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 phones, really be slower than the iPhone XS? That would really depend on using the same app, starting it at the same time, and using it in the exact same way. While some speed tests do exactly that, even the same app can be written differently and handled by the OS differently that it is, again, apples to oranges. Unless the person makes the very expensive decision to buy a Galaxy S10 and an iPhone XS, the truth is that they will be none the wiser which one runs which apps faster.

In the end, it will be the end user experience, not benchmarks, that really decides which phone is better. One user might find the iPhone XS snappier but still prefer Android’s way of doing things. Another could find the Galaxy S10 to have better performance in games but prefers a smartphone that can last a day or more.

With the prices of smartphones going up, consumers are less likely to pick a different phone than one they’re used to simply because one or two apps ran faster on those. Battery life, camera, app availability, and familiarity will be the factors to consider rather than numbers that mean almost nothing out in the real world.

Phone and silicon manufacturers, however, will continue citing benchmarks, not because they’re practically useful for end users but because they’re good marketing tools. Ironically, they could actually end up with eggs on their faces because of it – Because more than saying something about which phone is better, all these benchmarks prove is that a newcomer like Apple can run circles around veterans like Qualcomm, Samsung, or even Intel in just a few years’ time.

Pov: Why F*Ck It Won’t Cut It Is So Much More Than The F

POV: Why F*ck It Won’t Cut It Is So Much More Than the F-Word

Photo by Cydney Scott

Student Voices

POV: Why F*ck It Won’t Cut It Is So Much More Than the F-Word Public health campaign by students shows the world that Gen Z knows what’s up

Think back to spring break last March, when the news was flooded with stories about college students partying in Daytona and then spreading the rona on their hungover plane rides home. These stories painted a picture of Gen Z as irresponsible, selfish, and reckless. Compassionate young people? Impossible! 

In fact, zoomers are one of the most caring generations. We have grown up exposed to diverse issues that are fueled by social media. This hyper-awareness to news encourages many Gen Z youth to make a difference in this world: 26 percent of Gen Z members in the United States volunteer on a regular basis (vs 19 percent of all Americans) and 32 percent of Gen Z members in the United States donate their own money. Sometimes dubbed “philanthroteens,” we care about the community and the collective good. We see this current crisis as a kickoff point that exposes inequalities and could bring radical change. 

We are an innovative, mindful, and adaptable generation, though we may not have been able to fully show it yet. BU has decided to open campus, and for those of us who attend, the world’s eyes are on us. Let’s rewrite the narrative. Let’s give a sneak preview of how a Gen Z–led world will look. 

Another campus shutdown would be devastating for many. For some students, campus is the only place they feel at home and can be physically and mentally healthy. BU offers employment to hundreds of local residents, and the student population keeps local businesses running. World-changing research happens on campus. Being shipped back home before finishing the semester would be overwhelming and costly. 

While BU has a lot on its hands to make this work, the students also have to play a role in embracing safe lifestyles. Every action we take affects the whole BU community. Boston isn’t our personal playground: it’s a city filled with parents, kids, and grandparents. This semester, saying “f*ck it” to COVID-19 guidelines definitely won’t cut it.

This is the mindset of F*ck It Won’t Cut It: a campaign by students, for students, encouraging our peers to follow COVID-19 guidelines this semester. This slogan definitely stops people in their tracks. Since when does BU support students using the f-word all over campus?! This campaign is edgy. But we aren’t being edgy simply for shock value—but because we think it will work. 

Gen Z is constantly bombarded with news. COVID-19 (and BU’s protocols) can be confusing and scary. Why not speak candidly about something so prominent in our lives? By using plain, provocative language, we bring things to a personal level. This is a similar tactic to the successful Fuck Cancer campaign.  

Gen Z is mostly progressive and increasingly activist. We are fed up with the status quo. We authentically talk about taboo things. We hold people accountable. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds. 

This is why F*ck It Won’t Cut It is completely student-run. We are on the ground listening to our peers. The campaign utilizes the social atmosphere that cultivates a community of young people on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Not only do we post reminders to follow protocols, but we give real tips and tricks on how to have a successful (and fun) semester while still being as safe as possible. 

Every member of the student team who works on the campaign brings different perspectives to the table. We are graduate students, undergraduate students, international students, and domestic students. Each of us has our own communities at BU where we feel at home. We have an opera singer, a sorority sister, a hockey fan, a sound mixer, an improviser, and more. 

This campaign is more than the word “f*ck”—it is a movement. This is a way to show the world that Gen Z knows what’s up. We are coming together to show that making conscious decisions to better the community can make a tangible difference. 

You can follow us @fckitwontcutit on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. We hope you take part in our message and encourage your friends to be safe this semester. 

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Finally, Developers Can Now Avoid The Notorious 30% Apple Tax

Apple said the addition of the sideloading would undermine privacy and security protections. The company claims that millions of iPhone users rely on its security and privacy features. It argues that sideloading apps will leave users vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking and other issues.

However, the EU’s Digital Market Law (DMA), which came into effect on November 1, 2023, requires Apple to open up its services and platforms,. Apple will face high fines if it violates EU laws. The practice could expand beyond the EU if other countries introduce similar legislation. For example, the U.S. is considering legislation requiring Apple to allow sideloading.

This change may have a certain impact on developers and Apple. Developers can sideload apps to avoid paying fees to list their programs in Apple’s App Store. However, Apple may need to make some changes to comply with the European Union’s digital market law. At the same time, this change may also have a certain impact on the privacy and security of users, and users are required to use it with caution. Well, users have since argued that whoever is sideloading apps is well aware of the risks. If Apple is truly sincere, all it needs is a prompt warning to users about the risk of sideloading before they install any app.

Apple Tax – the history Criticisms of Apple Tax Gizchina News of the week

In 2023, the commission was the subject of a legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games, the developer of the popular game Fortnite. Epic Games argued that the commission was anti-competitive, and the case has brought the issue of the App Store commission into the spotlight.

Recent Changes Made by Apple

In September 2023, Apple agreed to allow media apps, including newspapers and streaming services, to add external payments links to avoid paying the iPhone maker a 30% cut of the purchases made through the App Store, amid growing scrutiny of its practices. These companies will get to bypass Apple’s in-app payments system by sharing a link to their website with App Store users who sign up for a subscription. Apple earns a 30% fee for payments users make to these apps for subscribing to their services.

Apple’s App Store Small Business Program allows developers that make less than $1 million per year in App Store sales to receive a 15 per cent commission through the program for as long as they qualify. This program was introduced in November 2023 to grant smaller developers some concessions while still hanging on to its 30% cut.

Impact on the mobile phone market

The Apple Tax has had a huge impact on the mobile phone market, with Apple’s premium pricing strategy influencing the pricing of other devices. Many Android brands have introduced premium devices with similar or higher prices than Apple devices. This has resulted in a shift towards higher-priced mobile phones.

The premium pricing strategy has also contributed to Apple’s market share, with the company holding a significant share of the premium mobile phone market. However, it has also resulted in criticism from some users who feel that they are paying too much for Apple products.

In recent years, there has been increased competition in the mobile phone market, with many Android brands introducing high-end devices at lower prices. This competition has put pressure on Apple to justify its premium pricing strategy, and the company has responded by introducing lower-priced devices, such as the iPhone SE.


In conclusion, the 30% cut of any transactions made on the Apple App Store has been a topic of controversy for years. While some argue that the fee is too high, others believe that it is fair due to the convenience and ease of use that the App Store provides. The App Store Small Business Program and the recent decision to allow media apps to add external payment links are steps that Apple has taken to address some of the concerns raised by developers. However, the debate over the 30% cut is likely to continue as the app economy continues to grow and evolve.

Apple Bank: Ten Years On, The Idea Seems A Lot Less Out

It’s almost a decade since I first suggested that we might one day see an Apple Bank. Given that not even Apple Pay existed back then, I’ll be the first to admit that it seemed a pretty out-there idea at the time.

By 2023, it seemed significantly less of a stretch, and yesterday’s billion dollar news brought us even closer …

I can’t take much credit for the 2013 piece, given that it was 1st American Card Service’s CEO who alerted me to the Secure Enclave tech behind Touch ID being tailor-made for a secure payment service.

Brian Roemmele, CEO of 1st American Card Service, said that Apple’s attempt to solve the problem of how to develop a truly secure access system goes all the way back to a patent application in 2008, but it was only through the A7 chip – specifically created by ARM with mobile payment security in mind – that the company finally had a gold-standard solution. And its applications will go far beyond iPhone unlock and iTunes purchases.

“There are dozens of applications and use cases on the roadmap,” he wrote, “and I am certain a developer economy will build around this amazing technology. One that is very clear is retail payments and Apple will have quite a number of unique ways they will solve real problems for merchants and iPhone users. I can say this aspect of Touch ID will be more magical then what we have seen thus far.”

I simply extrapolated from there.

Since then, of course, Apple has made quite a few moves in this direction.

Apple Pay

Launched a year later, in 2014, Apple Pay immediately became the leader in the mobile wallet space, with more than a million cards added in the first few days. Its main competitor, CurrentC, closed its doors just two years later. By 2023, Apple Pay was accounting for 5% of the world’s card payments.

Once Apple Pay launched, it seemed to me that things were unlikely to end there, and the iPhone maker would move further and further into the financial world. I listed seven reasons why I thought Apple might become a bank – even if I was optimistic on timing.

Apple Cash

Apple quickly started successfully competing with the established players – Square, Venmo, and PayPal.

Apple Card

2023 saw the launch of the Apple Card. Other cards offered better cashback deals, but it still proved incredibly popular thanks to Apple branding, the world’s simplest and fastest sign-up process, and great account management through the Wallet app.

By early 2023, with the card still only available in the US, the Apple Card hit almost 7M users. One report suggested that 60% of cardholders use it as their primary card.

2023 saw two further financial product launches …

Apple Pay Later

First announced last year, and set to launch later in 2023, the Apple Pay Later service was delayed until this year. It began a gradual rollout a little over a month ago.

As with the Apple Card, Apple Pay Later didn’t offer the best short-term financing option out there, but again brand-name, painless sign-up, and instant access made it appealing.

More on this in a moment.

Apple Card Savings Account

Launched last month, the Apple Card Savings Account offers 4.15% interest, compounded daily – an attractive rate for an instant-access account. But again, the branding and ease of account opening plays a significant role in take-up.

Which was … significant! It reportedly attracted deposits of $400M on its first day, and had hit almost a billion dollars just three days later.

Apple now has some banking licenses

With Apple Pay, Apple Card, and the Apple Card Savings Account, the Cupertino company partnered with existing banks and finance companies. Apple was essentially the brand for services actually offered by other companies.

There were many who thought this would always be Apple’s model – use its branding and ecosystem to acquire customers, take a cut from its partners, while avoiding the need for any kind of banking or credit license. Plenty of profit, zero risk, zero legislative bureaucracy.

But Apple Pay Later took a different approach. Here, Apple created a financial subsidiary – Apple Financing LLC – and this company obtained the necessary licenses to operate some banking services directly.

Increasing focus on Services

A related development over the course of the past decade has been the growing importance of Services to Apple’s bottom-line.

Yes, Apple may be a hardware company first and foremost, but its Services are now a massive business on their own. Services brings in more revenue than each of Mac, iPad, and Wearables.

And sure, banking generally isn’t a very profitable business. But neither is the smartphone business, nor the PC business. If there’s one company which knows how to turn a profit when others can’t, it’s Apple.

Today, an Apple Bank looks much less of a stretch

“The reality, of course, is that it will never happen. Apple is extremely cautious about venturing into other areas. I would think that Apple buying Tesla is 50 times more probable than Apple becoming a bank.”

“I don’t see it happening. The level of government scrutiny and regulation that goes with banking isn’t on line wth Apple’s MO. Apple enjoys innovation and free thinking which is difficult to do is such a regulated industry.”

“All your arguments are rock solid but there’s one big reason why this will never happen: Apple isn’t interested in becoming a bank. Apple has become really successful because of one thing only: razor sharp focus.”

Still, even then, some 41% of you agreed that Apple would at some point become a bank, with only 30% dismissing the idea.

It’s now clear that Apple wants to move cautiously, step by step, product by product, so my five-year timescale was overly ambitious. But now more than ever, it does seem to me that this is the logical end-point of an ever-growing portfolio of financial products – with Apple Pay Later proving that the company is unafraid of getting involved with banking licenses and regulations.

So I stand by my view that Apple will one day become (or, better stated, include) a bank, though I do now expect the pace to be slower than I’d once imagined. I fully expect the company to follow the same strategy it does for hardware products – target premium customers, and only engage in the most profitable banking activities – but it won’t be the first full bank to do that. Becoming a bank legally doesn’t mean you have to offer all banking activities, nor offer accounts to anyone.

Oh, and as was pointed out in 2023, Apple Inc (or Apple Financing LLC) might need to come to some sort of arrangement with the New York-based Apple Bank for Savings.

What say you? I didn’t include a poll in 2013, but by 2023 the poll results were (combining ‘Within 5 years’ and ‘Later’):

Yes: 41%

Maybe: 28%

No: 30%

Photo: LYCS Architecture/Unsplash

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