Let’s be real here: the iPhone has never, ever been cheap. Even when it debuted in 2007, it started at the then-eye-watering price of $500. The thing is, many Americans who bought iPhones since then have never paid attention to the price of their devices; the off-contract cost was often obscured by mandatory plans with subsidized phone prices.
The iPhone X made waves not just because of its new edge-to-edge OLED display but because it’s the most expensive iPhone Apple’s ever made. Many folks across the world wide web were heard complaining about its primo $999 starting price. The thing is that, if you know how much phones cost, $999 isn’t that expensive. If you use a monthly program like Apple and carriers offer, the iPhone X seems like a much more reasonable purchase.
A couple of years ago, I signed up for Apple’s iPhone Upgrade plan when I bought a shiny new iPhone 6S. I went with this payment program because I simply couldn’t justify the out-of-pocket cost of a top-of-the-line 128 GB iPhone 6S, which would have been $849 (plus, you get AppleCare+ for the duration of the two-year loan period). With the Upgrade Program, I was able to get this phone for only around $40 a month. Save for one other model (the 128 GB iPhone 6S Plus) this was the most expensive iPhone on sale in late 2015 when I bought it.
Today, I priced out what it’d cost to buy into the latest and greatest that Apple has for 2017. A brand-spanking-new 64 GB iPhone X costs $49.91 per month—only about $10 more than my top-shelf 6S—under the same Apple payment plan. If you want more storage space than that, the 256 GB iPhone X is $56.16 a month. That’s…not very much for such an impressive phone.
Now, don’t get me wrong—the iPhone is a premium device and it’s not attainable by everyone. Nor do I recommend that most shoppers spring for the super-duper iPhone, either (for most people, the iPhone SE is an awesome, affordable device). But, in the scheme of things, the iPhone X isn’t ridiculously priced for what you get.
Apple’s offering a phone that seems a bit nicer and if you break it down into 24 monthly payments, it’s not much more money. It’s not worth giving up real necessities like food, water, and shelter for it…but whether you buy it from Apple or purchase it on a carrier plan, the month-to-month reality is that it’s only a bit more than any other fully-loaded iPhone from years past.