Author Topic: Iphones are they worth it?  (Read 14165 times)

jforrey

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Iphones are they worth it?
« on: January 02, 2013, 08:33:23 AM »
  My husband and I are considering getting iPhones, but are wary to spend the extra 720 dollars a year on data. He is starting a business and thinks it would be beneficial to have one. We are also considering trying to have children soon, so we've discussed whether there is something else we'd rather spend 60 dollars a month on and have come to the conclusion that possible future baby could have a college fund that we put 60 dollars a month into. However, we could still do that and afford to pay the iphone bill, so again here is this dilemma of is it worth it?
  Another option is that we could get them now and if we feel that what we are getting isn't worth the extra 60 dollars a month, we could sell the iphones and go back to our old relics? Any mustachians that have iphones out there I would like your input, as well as non-iphone users.
Thanks,
  An in progress badass lady!

norvilion

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 08:50:49 AM »
As a disclaimer I personally am not a fan of iProducts in general. It sounds like, however, you are coming from a regular phone-only device and are contemplating having the ability to access the internet from anywhere. That- I must confess- is quite a lovely experience, but it is not one that you need a prohibitively expensive data plan for. Smartphones have the ability to tap into local Wireless signals, of which there are free signals just about everywhere- which means you don't really need a particularly large cache of data to get by.

I'm currently in the process of switching from Verizon to an MVNO. I can get good quality android phones (and Android can do just about anything an iPhone can). Turns out even if I use the same amount of minutes/data I'll be saving at least a solid hundred dollars a month with that option, even considering the fact that my employer gives me a 20% discount from Verizon.

I.P. Daley has a really good guide on these forms for that option located at
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-isps-voip-cell/
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 11:19:22 AM by norvilion »

Blackbomber

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 08:54:26 AM »
In my opinion, if you are not sure why you need a smart phone, it's probably not necessary. Let me give a little background, and my personal feelings for myself: I'm a network adminstrator for a group of about 3000 users. I'm on call until 10pm every other week. My iPhone is provided for me by the company for which I work. I've had a smartphone for almost 5 years now. Even though it's provided by the company, I use it as my sole phone, so as not to have to pay for one, and carry two. So I'll start by saying this: If the money was coming out of my pocket, no way would I have a smart phone. Non professionally, they don't do much. Now even though I pay nothing, and can upgrade for free at any time (friends with the phone guy), I'm actually considering either getting a second (basic) phone for myself, or switching to a non-smart phone for the company. The reason is that even though I have instant access to email, it's become more of an intrusion than a productivity booster for me. If something is really important, people will call. 99% of my work requires me to be at a desk, at which point I have my Outlook email notifications on-screen. But I'd really rather proactively review my email at specific times. Otherwise I find myself reacting to each issue as it comes, and my overall productivity drops. I DO get a lot of administrative (automated) alerts via SMS from the 25 or so servers I manage. They are one way messages, so getting them on a non-smart phone would be fine. Now when I'm OFF CALL, I find the phone to be extremely annoying. I find myself leaving it home all the time, and my wife doesn't appreciate that. Hence toying with the idea of getting a personal phone. But I think that would add more complexity. A Blackberry might be a better option for me, since they have more granular notification profiles, but they are really junk compared to the iPhone, and probably most of the android offerings, so that would be a step backwards.

Anyway, I went through all of that to simply state that having all of that information at your fingertips isn't always a good thing. But for those times I can answer an email while waiting at line at the deli, then not have to worry about it when I get home, it's nice. Choose wisely, because the early termination fees are very expensive. Unless you get an unlocked phone, at which point the phone is (more) expensive.

BlueMR2

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 10:14:34 AM »
I'm not an iDevice fan.  They encourage recurring expensive upgrades as well as expensive data plans.  They certainly *can* be useful for work, but think very carefully before getting them.  Are you prepared to resist the temptation of the recurring "new versions" that you won't need?  Is there less expensive option?

Nords

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 10:40:52 AM »
He is starting a business and thinks it would be beneficial to have one.
If the business model depends on an iPhone then he needs a new business model.

Maybe his goal should be to afford an iPhone from the profits instead of writing one off as an expense.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 10:45:44 AM »
Blackbomber's on the right thread here.

I have to admit, it's only been the past couple years that I've really started paying real close attention to wireless handsets again after going years on the Nokia candybar featurephone train, and the past six months that I've really been able to realize how ridiculous the Android and iOS platform truly are for most people.

Although I advocated using a cheap Android smartphone as the basis for a communications device in the guide that Norvilion link-checked there, I'm starting to come back around after truly realizing what matters most in an effective communications tool. Android and iOS both are distractions... powerful, overpriced, electricity hungry distractions. For all the flexibility you get in all the software solutions you might be able to run, they're not particularly cohesive solutions nor are they the most effective, can be downright buggy at times, and battery life is disappointing at best. They might be useful in a tablet form-factor, but not as a communicator. As the CDMA era of Platinumtel winds down and I'm looking at the jump back to GSM and BYOD given their switch to the T-Mobile network, I've been freer to pursue a phone that truly fits my needs more than I have in years instead of being partly at the mercy of the prepaid carrier I was with (I did, after all, go from Net10 pre-BYOD days to CDMA Platinumtel after leaving AT&T). The great assortment of incredibly powerful new and used phones available on the market now for so cheap isn't hurting my situation either. I missed certain things about my old Blackberry, but I didn't miss the dependence upon BIS amongst other things.

The secret and key to keeping your wireless phone service affordable is to ensure of all the functions the phone is built to handle, it functions best as a communications tool in the mediums you need. These are what cell phones are supposed to be designed for, and this is why you're paying a wireless carrier for service: mobile communications. Savings are had with access to WiFi connections for data, ease of text input, SIP/VoIP support, good reception, a good speakerphone, email push, and long battery life. The fewer moving parts, the better, too, from a reliability standpoint. Anyone who needs a phone as a flexible communications tool probably recognizes this list of features as solid. Anything a device does above and beyond this is just gravy and likely counts as a distraction.

For the past few weeks, I've been pouring heavily over phone manufacturers, phone operating systems, and the features there-in and keep circling back around to the same conclusions. Any modern Java MIDP 2.1 feature phone operating system (or even Symbian S40) combined with a WiFi chipset is fine for personal communications usage with such solid offerings as the Samsung Ch@t line, the LG C series, some Alcatel OT handsets, and of course Nokia's Asha line of phones. They're so affordable, you can frequently pick many of these handsets up new and carrier unlocked for under $100. You can't do SIP/VoIP with the things and you can't really do always-on push notice text replacement apps like Kik, but it's a small trade-off when most people seem to prefer text-based communications anyway. Also, an SMS nudge if your friend's offline and they fire up the app if they're available fixes that last issue. Even still, these shortcoming are being worked on and is in the early stages of being solved thanks to Nimbuzz Ping and the NIST (amongst others), which is bringing smartphone always-on communication and SIP support to the feature phone crowd. Of course, some people would find those caveats unacceptable, and that's fine... there's no one-size solution for everybody, but it highlights the importance of starting from the bottom when looking at equipment and moving up to find the features we need/want, instead of just trying to start at the top and work our way down. You might be surprised by what a phone that's now dismissed as a cheap beater handset for teenagers and poor people can do these days, especially when you discover that there's a reasonably decent Java app for Google Voice texting and callback.

These points, however useful, do not address the more demanding needs of a business use phone where timely communications for professional contact in all forms is necessary, though. Let's be honest here, as much as I'm a proponent of SMS replacements like Kik to keep personal communications costs down, you don't really use these things much in business, because nobody's on the same platform and people only like the native bundled texting solution which doesn't go cross-platform. As such, true business runs on voice, email and SMS. This keeps bringing me back to the same group of devices since Blackberry is off the table given the need for not having all your internet access dependent upon servers you have to pay extra to utilize. Those devices? The humble Nokia business phone running Symbian S60. You get push email support, WiFi, native integrated SIP/VoIP support, great keyboards, awesome battery life, and good speakerphones. Phones like the e71 are legendary amongst business users, and can be picked up refurbished for reasonably great prices still rocking your face off with their ability to just work. Heck, Symbian s60 even has a WiFi hotspot app if you need it!

This isn't to say that Android and iOS can't be effective platforms for a phone as a tool, but for all the added functionality, they frequently become a distraction instead... a costly distraction. When you're starting a business, being connected in a timely manner to the people you're doing business with, and that phone acting as a further related tool to aid with business in the field (if those tools can even be met effectively with the same device - frequently, they can't) is all that your husband should be looking for in a phone. Buying an iPhone will likely result in thousands of dollars of expenditures wasted and weeks of productivity lost to Angry Birds by the time you get out of contract, more than anything else. Now granted, there's nothing stopping you from buying an unlocked iPhone outright and going with a cheaper provider, but... is he getting this phone to build business or to play with?

He is starting a business and thinks it would be beneficial to have one.
If the business model depends on an iPhone then he needs a new business model.

Maybe his goal should be to afford an iPhone from the profits instead of writing one off as an expense.

QFMFT.



(I should post this.)

James

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 11:07:56 AM »
My wife and I have iphones, but we consider them a luxury.  The answer depends a lot on goals current finances.  I can write my phone and plan off as a business expense, which saves a bit, and the rest is less than .5% of my salary so I feel it is an affordable luxury based on my income, overall finances, and life goals.  I could easily get by on a few year old android device using pay-as-you-go data along the route of I.P Daley's guide.

So to answer your question of "Is it worth it?", I'd say it's not worth it in the sense of financial expenditure for the specific features you get.  If you have a huge desire for simplicity and ease of use, and use the features of the iphone to the full extent, and can fund all your goals while paying for the iphone and plan, then it might be worth it for some people.  I don't consider it mustachian though, it's one of the areas in which I consciously vary from what I consider mustachian principles.  But do I love my iphone?  Absolutely and unequivocally yes.  I'd happily drive an even older car in order to fund my iphone, or give up some of my vacation money, etc.  But if you don't have one and don't want to get sucked into the trap of enjoying it and making it a priority financially, I highly encourage you to plug your ears, say "la la la" and walk away from the iphone...  :)

offroad

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 11:23:03 AM »
talk about a wall of words for comments.

1)  if you like to customize your smart phone experience, and have used Apple products, then an Iphone will be worth it.  But you might want to get a jailbroken version (which is completely legal).  You can pay it off in two years, and switch companies. Verizon has the best customer service and coverage, anywhere.

2)  for general functionality an Android phone is completely acceptable, and can do everything an Iphone can do.  at 25% of the same cost.  You can use new cellphone companies, but be prepaired to do it all yourself.

3)  get the best of all worlds.  get a WIFI only IPAD, and a android smartphone.  link the two via tethering.

Jamesqf

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 11:44:08 AM »
Seriously important question nobody seems to have asked: What's the business your husband is trying to start?  If he's planning to develop iPhone apps that's one thing; if he's doing landscaping that's something else entirely.  Is the iPhone (or whatever device) going to be a useful tool that returns more in business profits than it costs?

TheDude

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 11:57:21 AM »
My wife and I use Page Plus $30 plans. I have an incredible and she just got an Iphone 4. We got an Iphone because her Incredible died. She still undecided but I give a 60% chance she decids to go back to a Droid. She hasn't been that impressed.

gooki

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 01:20:32 PM »
If you do do it, buy a used iPhone outright and then use a low cost prepaid plan company.

Signing up to a 2 year contract on a new iPhone is a great way to piss your money away.

arebelspy

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 01:25:30 PM »
Conscious spending.

If you have a purpose and know why you are spending the money, and it is worth it to you: yes.

If it's because it's trendy, or you think it might be fun, or you don't really know why: no.
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Honest Abe

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 03:12:42 PM »
It's worth it

happy

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 03:44:02 PM »
Never had one, never will. Just got rid of emails on my mobile. I can look at the internet and do emails at home after work.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 04:35:56 PM »
When I lived in Germany, I had an iPhone with an unlimited plan.  I never bothered hooking up home internet, so my iPhone was my computer at home, too.  I also had something screwy where I couldn't link my bank account with my German phone, so I never bought any apps either (only free ones for me!  I never got into playing games on a phone).

I now have a dumb clamshell that I use as my main phone, with Airvoice.  I found that when I have home internet, there's not really a need for a smartphone, at least with data.  I still have the iPhone and use it on WiFi networks.  A big plus is that I use my iPhone for GPS navigating, and if I get lost somewhere, there's a McDonalds/WiFi or something nearby.  If I go somewhere without a McDonalds/WiFi, I'll bring a map.


TLDR; Just didn't find myself using the smartphone for anything except calls and texting, so I ditched its plan, just use the WiFi.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 05:19:36 PM »
For those who are stuck for whatever reason with an email client on their iPhone, try setting the push setting that fetches to data from the server to "manual".

On iOS6: settings icon -> Mail, Contact, Calendars -> Fetch New Data -> Manually

No more distractions from incoming emails. In fact, you won't get the notification on the home screen (the red numbers) until you actively enter the mail app and swipe a finger down to force an update.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 11:26:21 PM »
It's a luxury, but I'd say a cost-effective luxury and one that provides an enormous amount of utility and enjoyment. Especially with the most recent crop of 4g multicore smart phones, my phone is my mobile command center. It's incredibly empowering. Sure you've got the basic gmail, texting, facebook, camera setup, but you can just do so much more. It's my flashlight, GPS, Netflix player, Spotify unit, lecture recorder, restaurant delivery orderer, mobile wifi hotspot, kindle reader, jukebox remote- and that's just my first page of apps. I can deposit checks with my phone, keep tabs on my finances, stay up to date on news, make free VOIP calls when I'm international and access any files stored on my hard drive at home when I'm anywhere in the world. My laptop has become far less important since getting my Galaxy S3, as I can accomplish about 90% of what I do with a laptop very comfortably (and another 9% not so comfortably if I had to) all while remaining on the go and actually doing things in the real world.

I disagree with Blackbomber. I think most people only understand exactly how they'll use a smart phone once they actually get it and use it for a few weeks. I got my first smartphone mostly because I wanted a decent GPS and a nice texting platform. Today that's just a small portion of what I actually use it for. It's constantly and easily expandable with more apps as well, so I end up figuring out new uses for it all the time- just the other day I downloaded a level app to help me figure out if a painting I was hanging was even. It's great! The technophobic might not get much out of it, but it's not really so much as being tech savvy as simply curious enough to install a few apps and push a few buttons.

I personally prefer Android because of the variety of models, options for larger screens and better battery and more open operating system than the iPhone, not to mention cost effectiveness, usually. But the iPhone's fine too, especially now that it has 4g.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2013, 08:24:05 AM »
*doublechecks the website address* We are still on the MMM forums, right?

Chuckles' post is a standing example of the lifestyle inflation these devices cause... he's spending money not because he needs to, but because he thinks he has to because it's "improved" his life with "cost-effective" luxuries. Worthless apps are sought after and obtained to poorly replicate the function and purpose of real tools or life skills that should be invested in anyway or to provide shiny distractions that reduce human interaction and increase dependence upon the device to function daily, places a requirement for more and faster data connections just to provide some of the greatest functions that require monthly subscriptions, and to add "conveniences" designed to help separate people from their money faster. All the remaining worthwhile functionality can be had for cheaper from lower-end devices as smartphones no longer hold a monopoly on those features. These little multi-purpose devices don't make people more badass, they make them lazier through mostly unnecessary conveniences that distort life's priorities and the value of one's time. Is it any wonder the banking industry is trying to merge your wallet with a device that helps enable people to spend money on indulgences so easily without realizing it?

On one hand, I don't want to pick on you specifically, but I really appreciate that post. It's a great demonstration of technological hedonic adaptation at work.

If you and others are fine with that, it's your money to spend... but that's also the sort of thinking that should only be justified by someone who's already achieved financial independence. When saving $10 a month still matters, are these things and the lifestyle inflation they bring really worth it?

Jack

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2013, 08:56:31 AM »
I think my smartphone is worth it for the following reasons:
  • My carrier is an MVNO, my plan costs $40/month, and it's entirely reimbursed by my employer.
  • The phone itself, a Samsung Intercept (Android 2.2) cost only $150 brand new several years ago. If I were buying today, I'd pay the premium for e.g. a $300 Google Nexus 4, but not the premium for a $700 iPhone.
  • I use Google Voice, and having an Android device allows me to set it up such that cellphone calls come from my Google Voice number (in a transparent way, replacing the default dialer app). It's not clear that the Java app for featurephones I.P. Daley mentioned above can do this.
  • My contacts, appointments, emails, etc. are automatically synchronized with my Gmail account.
  • I use the other smartphone features: the GPS and Maps app, the camera to take pictures, the camera with a barcode scanner app to compare prices, the web browser, games, etc.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2013, 09:07:55 AM »
  • I use Google Voice, and having an Android device allows me to set it up such that cellphone calls come from my Google Voice number (in a transparent way, replacing the default dialer app). It's not clear that the Java app for featurephones I.P. Daley mentioned above can do this.

Not yet, but give it time once the Java SIP stack is finished. In the mean time, VoIP is dirt easy on Symbian S60 as it's natively supported in the OS, even with Google Voice. Instead of handing off credentials to a third party to log into Google to enable SIP support with your phone, you just set up a free CallCentric NY state incoming DID, configure your SIP client to connect to CallCentric, point Google Voice to ring to that, and use the Java app to call out. Takes a bit of configuration up front, but it should just work after that point. Completely free from end to end.

Jack

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2013, 09:33:54 AM »
  • I use Google Voice, and having an Android device allows me to set it up such that cellphone calls come from my Google Voice number (in a transparent way, replacing the default dialer app). It's not clear that the Java app for featurephones I.P. Daley mentioned above can do this.

Not yet, but give it time once the Java SIP stack is finished. In the mean time, VoIP is dirt easy on Symbian S60 as it's natively supported in the OS, even with Google Voice. Instead of handing off credentials to a third party to log into Google to enable SIP support with your phone, you just set up a free CallCentric NY state incoming DID, configure your SIP client to connect to CallCentric, point Google Voice to ring to that, and use the Java app to call out. Takes a bit of configuration up front, but it should just work after that point. Completely free from end to end.

Does such a thing use data or voice minutes? (The Google Voice app for Android uses voice minutes, and works with a too-poor-for-VoIP data connection. Note that an Android smartphone could use pure VoIP too with a third-party app, if one cared to set it up.)

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2013, 10:05:14 AM »
*doublechecks the website address* We are still on the MMM forums, right?

Chuckles' post is a standing example of the lifestyle inflation these devices cause... he's spending money not because he needs to, but because he thinks he has to because it's "improved" his life with "cost-effective" luxuries. Worthless apps are sought after and obtained to poorly replicate the function and purpose of real tools or life skills that should be invested in anyway or to provide shiny distractions that reduce human interaction and increase dependence upon the device to function daily, places a requirement for more and faster data connections just to provide some of the greatest functions that require monthly subscriptions, and to add "conveniences" designed to help separate people from their money faster. All the remaining worthwhile functionality can be had for cheaper from lower-end devices as smartphones no longer hold a monopoly on those features. These little multi-purpose devices don't make people more badass, they make them lazier through mostly unnecessary conveniences that distort life's priorities and the value of one's time. Is it any wonder the banking industry is trying to merge your wallet with a device that helps enable people to spend money on indulgences so easily without realizing it?

On one hand, I don't want to pick on you specifically, but I really appreciate that post. It's a great demonstration of technological hedonic adaptation at work.

If you and others are fine with that, it's your money to spend... but that's also the sort of thinking that should only be justified by someone who's already achieved financial independence. When saving $10 a month still matters, are these things and the lifestyle inflation they bring really worth it?

What's critical here is that I recognize it as a luxury. We all allocate some amount of money on things which are not essential to our basic survival. Some of the money spent on certain luxuries doesn't provide us with as much enjoyment or utility as other luxuries. Smartphones, at least for me, provide a far greater amount of utility and enjoyment than money spent on most other luxuries.

We don't need smartphones. Smartphones, most likely, will not save you more money in the long run than they cost. But they have their perks.

For me, being able to initiate a new credit card processor for my business after my other one had suddenly denied us and left us zero revenue flow while I was deep in the Himalayas by sending a picture of a check from my smartphone paid for itself many times over. Being able to deposit a check instantly and get it into my investments days earlier instead of having to venture out to my bank's ATM or mail the check definitely saves time and money. Being able to avoid paying for wifi when away from home is a nice plus. And being able to compare store prices to Amazon also helps in knowing if something's worth buying there or elsewhere. Smartphone cameras are nearly as good as most point-and-shoots, possibly better with the instant sharing options, meaning you can avoid purchasing a camera, assuming a point and shoot camera was something you wanted. And with Kindle functionality you can get your books instantly for far less than what a bookstore sells them at (sometimes used as well) and free if you're into pirating.  The GPS unit is stellar as it's constantly updated and even better than most of my friend's GPS units. If we can value the enjoyment provided by a smartphone, the entertainment, the increased productivity and freedom provided by a smartphone when one can quickly communicate, understand the world and their surroundings, I'd say they provide a good deal of enjoyment relative to their cost.

If you're going to blow your money on something that's not a basic staple a smartphone could be pretty high on the list in terms of utility and enjoyment provided per dollar relative to other luxuries. That's a cost-effective luxury.

Jamesqf

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2013, 12:07:05 PM »
Being able to deposit a check instantly...

Grandpaw, what's a check?

Yeah, the sarcasm is perhaps a bit overdone, but honestly, don't most of us do direct deposit these days?  Which gets your money into your your investments even faster, 'cause you don't have to wait for snail mail to deliver it.  Same applies to many of the other features: the "advantage" of your smartphone is that it can do things that most people really don't need done.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2013, 12:12:24 PM »
Does such a thing use data or voice minutes? (The Google Voice app for Android uses voice minutes, and works with a too-poor-for-VoIP data connection. Note that an Android smartphone could use pure VoIP too with a third-party app, if one cared to set it up.)

Since the dialing mechanism is ringback through an associated phone number, just like the web interface, then you could theoretically either go full SIP on a WiFi connection with the method I mentioned or voice over your wireless minutes. It's just a matter of picking the right phone number for GV to ring.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2013, 12:25:54 PM »
I'm with arebelspy for this one: Conscious spending.

We bought a matching pair because they fit with what we wanted/needed. We also bought them outright because I think cell contracts are bullshit.

James

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2013, 01:10:52 PM »
The sarcasm and criticisms by Jamesqf and I.P. Daley seems a bit over the top, MMM himself uses an iphone. 

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2013, 01:48:24 PM »
Agreed with arebelspy.

I used to have an iPod touch for music and portable computing along with a feature phone with the Verizon contract.  I sold both on ebay, and for about $35 more, bought an iPhone 4.  After adding Real Pay Go on platinumtel and disabling any sort of cellular data, I have one device that does what the two combined used to do, and am using less than $5/month of service.  If I'm ever stuck anywhere and need the data, I can turn it on, but years ago, I had an old Treo on Verizon without the data plan, and found that I rarely ever have to use it.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2013, 02:55:53 PM »
The sarcasm and criticisms by Jamesqf and I.P. Daley seems a bit over the top, MMM himself uses an iphone.

I don't consider my criticisms of the smartphone fad to be over the top, especially when most of the more important connectivity functionality is hardly the purview of smartphones alone anymore. When you can buy a feature phone that's been on the market for three years brand new, outright and unlocked for under $100 and have it come with a 16GB SDHC card reader, WiFi, mp3 player, GPS, and a slew of other features for that price while running nothing more than a Java MIDP 2.0 operating system...

Also, your defense citing MMM as using an iPhone doesn't hold much weight because a) IIRC, the phones were and investment related to a job, and b) HE'S FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. I don't give him, Rebel or Nords guff for that very reason. OP's post does not read like a financially independent family. Now, if the toolkit that an iPhone brings to the table can and will do things exclusive to that platform that are true functional tools for specific tasks, and you can justify the outlay of money? Sure. I even said as much in my first post to the thread. Otherwise it's simple lifestyle inflation. As Rebel said, do so cognizant of why you're buying it.

...but that's part of my point. The Jeebusfone does very little more than nearly any other high-end feature phone can for a fraction of the cost. Not even Android can entirely compete financially at this point for the advantages wrought versus the price point and disadvantages of the platform. Smartphones aren't particularly necessary for this crappy Swiss Army Knife routine anymore, and most people who aren't FI who justify buying them frequently do so with luxury toy and poor event preparation reasons. These are reasons that shouldn't even be core considerations in buying a sub-$100 phone when shopping for features, let alone a $200+ device.

These things are like cars, all of them are going to make calls and send text messages at the very minimum. I've seen people get crucified in these forums for buying cars from a top-down mentality with budget, why should phones be given any more of a pass? Start at the bottom, determine what features are important to you, and go up from there.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 02:57:47 PM by I.P. Daley »

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2013, 05:36:14 PM »
Being able to deposit a check instantly...

Grandpaw, what's a check?

Yeah, the sarcasm is perhaps a bit overdone, but honestly, don't most of us do direct deposit these days?  Which gets your money into your your investments even faster, 'cause you don't have to wait for snail mail to deliver it.  Same applies to many of the other features: the "advantage" of your smartphone is that it can do things that most people really don't need done.

I write myself checks to transfer money between accounts, to cut myself profit distributions from my corporate account and to deposit insurance checks which come from my company's shipping insurer. My bank makes all of the money available instantly- heck, even the direct deposit which I use for my salary takes three days after it's debited from my corporate account to show up in my personal account- and these accounts are at the same bank! It is an extremely advanced solution to a very antiquated system, but until banks make a free, universal platform to send money from one person to another it's quite handy.

sol

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2013, 06:46:30 PM »
When you can buy a feature phone that's been on the market for three years brand new, outright and unlocked for under $100 and have it come with a 16GB SDHC card reader, WiFi, mp3 player, GPS, and a slew of other features for that price while running nothing more than a Java MIDP 2.0 operating system...

Not a bad deal, and there are a ton more out there in the same ballpark.  We just ordered my wife an HTC One V for $99 from Virgin Mobile, along with a $35/mo unlimited data plan.  An amazing smartphone with technical specs virtually identical to the iphone4 but at 1/5 the price.

So I hear IPD's point about smarthphone's being expensive luxuries, but I think it doesn't go quite far enough to highlight just how stupid iphones are.  The hardware markup alone should qualify you for the Antimustachian Wall of Shame, and if you get it on contract you're just throwing your money away.

But hey, somebody's got to buy that crap to keep our consumer economy humming along.  And I own stock in apple, so I'm glad to see suckers overpaying for their products.

KGZotU

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2013, 06:55:07 PM »
These things are like cars, all of them are going to make calls and send text messages at the very minimum. I've seen people get crucified in these forums for buying cars from a top-down mentality with budget, why should phones be given any more of a pass? Start at the bottom, determine what features are important to you, and go up from there.

You're not the only one.

I personally don't understand the word "luxury" that people are using here. My ideal is to get the most use out of my money. Sometimes I get the most use out of it by saving it for later. Sometimes I get the most use out of it by spending it right now. When I find a good use for spending money right now I don't call it a luxury...I just call it worth it, or a good idea, or the right use for my money. Even if it's clothes, dinner out, or a movie, I don't let go of money unless I suppose it's for a worthy trade.

Sometimes I have an urge to do something, but on examination I realize that that something would cost much more than it's worth. I wonder if by luxury, people mean fulfilling unexamined urges.

I love my iPod Touch, but from what I've seen it makes a poor phone. I must admit, though, I don't entirely understand your opposition to the smart phone; it sounds like it might be partly philosophical? I don't begrudge anyone buying an iPhone 3 and spending $10 a month to service it.

Daley

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2013, 08:06:39 PM »
I love my iPod Touch, but from what I've seen it makes a poor phone. I must admit, though, I don't entirely understand your opposition to the smart phone; it sounds like it might be partly philosophical? I don't begrudge anyone buying an iPhone 3 and spending $10 a month to service it.

Nor do I begrudge those who do so either.

As for my seemingly recent switch on the subject and moving farther away from smartphones in general, it is partly practical and partly philosophical.

From the practical standpoint? Feature phones are cheaper, their resale value is mostly in the tank (great news for mustachian shoppers), their battery life is generally longer, their network data usage is inherently smaller, and they're frequently designed to perform better as telephones or general communications devices.

From a philosophical standpoint? Mobile phone service is pretty much a non-necessity, and the strongest and most reasonable cases for cell phone usage is for communication. You are paying a service to communicate while away from home. Anything spent beyond that should probably be classified as "entertainment" or "tool of trade" expenses. Smartphones frequently fail at their primary function of calling people, and they offer a slew of features that are specifically designed to eat away your time and make you want to spend more money. Then we get into the erosion of society facet... smartphones are destroying social interaction because people would rather respond Pavlov-style to little beeps and tings to stare at a small screen and be entertained than even smile at a stranger or be lost in thought.

They're tiny little distraction machines that fill up and eat away your time. The less you deliberately do with your phone (or can do), the less you will use your phone. That action saves money, time and resources and could be argued that it might even make you more productive with your time. I may sound like an old crank saying all this, but there's decidedly something unhealthy going on with the first world's obsession with these tiny little glowing rectangles. You start reading some of the research, and a pattern of addiction and psychological problems emerge. Have a few articles to chew on, re-read some of the staunch support for dropping so much danged money on these devices, and reach your own conclusions:

Have smartphones killed boredom (and is that good)? (CNN)
Cellphones Are Eating the Family Budget (Wall Street Journal)
Light From Self-Luminous Tablet Computers Can Affect Evening Melatonin, Delaying Sleep (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Multiple media use tied to depression, anxiety (Michigan State University)

Even cellphones as a tool have their place, and the core convenience is not a thing I begrudge anyone as I use them myself and have an entire friggin' guide dedicated to and countless hours spent just in these forums alone helping others save money on these services... but one shouldn't shift or lose priorities because of them.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 08:12:44 PM by I.P. Daley »

Jamesqf

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2013, 09:25:31 PM »
I may sound like an old crank saying all this, but there's decidedly something unhealthy going on with the first world's obsession with these tiny little glowing rectangles. You start reading some of the research, and a pattern of addiction and psychological problems emerge.

What he said.  Most of the stuff a smart phone does is stuff I just don't want to do.  Even the things one could do - ebook reader, electronic maps, portable computing device - are hopelessly compromised by the form factor.  How can you read a book or look at a map on a tiny screen?  And if you make the screen larger, you've turned it into a tablet/notebook computer, which pretty well compromises its function as a phone.

(And don't even get me started on e.g. the utter loathsomeness of touch screens.)

Anyway, those are just the philosophical issues.  The question here is what will an iPhone do for the OP's business that can justify its cost?  Haven't seen an answer to that yet, though I may have missed it.

KGZotU

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2013, 09:27:00 PM »
@Daley: I'll definitely read your links.

I also struggle a lot with the time our electronics consume. I bucked a MUD addiction back in the day, and I'm always de-and-re-activating facebook. I haven't yet figured out what the proper place for all that stuff is, or how to keep it there.

happy

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2013, 12:28:39 AM »
Quote
The question here is what will an iPhone do for the OP's business that can justify its cost?

If the OPs business is such that he/she is on the move (ie not in an office), and requires email, reading documents/looking stuff up on the internet, nearly simultaneously liaison with several parties and rapid responses, then IMO it is worth it as a business cost (and the business should pay for it) eg real estate agent.

I got a Blackberry "because it was a great deal": but the screen was too small to read anything off the internet, internet download was too slow, the only thing I used was emails, which I never really needed, but "it was only $11/month more".  Once I had the emails I got used to having it, and even hesitated turning them off.  A month trial without and I've forgotten I ever needed them. Classic hedonic adaptation. Now I have the cheapest phone I could get with a querty keyboard, since this makes txting a much more viable way of communicating.

Isn't it easier to go get the level, than download the app for one so you can use your smart phone?

PS When they're as good as a "sonic screwdriver" I might reconsider.

Tyler

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2013, 10:47:17 AM »
Love my iPhone. It's like a digital Swiss Army knife, with something useful for every situation - music, GPS, camera, flashlight, etc. Getting a new iPhone every time they release a new one definitely isn't worth it, but having an older model on hand is really nice.

Recently upgraded to the 4S through Virgin and the monthly plan with unlimited texts and data is only $30. That's the same price as the data alone through AT&T.  As long as you don't get sucked into upgrading phones until the one you have dies that's a good deal and worth it for me.

That said, if you get the cheaper android phones on sale through Virgin, they can do all the same things for an even cheaper hardware price. I just personally prefer the iPhone's balance of power and size (I hate the huge phones coming out now).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 11:01:01 AM by Tyler »

Jamesqf

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2013, 11:45:33 AM »
If the OPs business is such that he/she is on the move (ie not in an office), and requires email, reading documents/looking stuff up on the internet, nearly simultaneously liaison with several parties and rapid responses, then IMO it is worth it as a business cost (and the business should pay for it) eg real estate agent.

True.  I don't say that one is never useful, just that anyone thinking of buying one should carefully evaluate the expected benefits and weigh them against the costs.  And those costs aren't just the monthly data plan, but the time spent doing unnecessary games, texts, etc.

I also don't see how anyone can expect to effectively read documents (anything larger than a text message) or most web pages on one.  The screens are just too darned small.

James

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Re: Iphones are they worth it?
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2013, 11:55:54 AM »
I also don't see how anyone can expect to effectively read documents (anything larger than a text message) or most web pages on one.  The screens are just too darned small.

I read an entire large book on my iphone since it was available free that way and I wanted to read it. (Steve Jobs autobiography)  I also wanted to see if it was possible.  To my surprise, I quickly got used to the small screen, I loved the retina display for the crisp text, and it worked just fine.  I'm not saying an e-reader or real book wouldn't be better in some ways, just that it very much beat my expectation and I learned something I didn't know from the experience.  It was great having the book with me wherever I was, just pull it out and start reading.