The iPhoneX – Overpriced Luxury or Fantastic Value

by Dr Nick

Is the iPhoneX and overpriced luxury or does it represent fantastic value when you consider the features and functions it delivers and the opportunity to improve your health?

iPhone, iPhoneX
Is the iPhone an Overpriced Luxury or Incredible Value

Seeing a mobile device as a phone is much like the perception that the Apple Watch is a watch – it’s really not. They selected that form factor and moniker to help potential customers understand it in the context of current understanding – but in reality, it is a health fitness application. The technology is backed up by significant research and science (detailed here in my review of the “secret” Apple/Aetna Experience – Rethinking Wellness“) and discussed by others Lygeia Riccardi’s review (Part 1 and Part 2) and Mandi Bishop and picked up by Chrissy Farr of CNBC. I’ve talked about this before in this piece “Wearable Technology Empowering Health” and continue to see the incredible opportunity laying out in front of us to use wearable devices to track, record and ultimately provide data to improve individual health. But in that event and the follow up much was discussed about pricing which for many is out of reach. But others will follow and some already have with lower cost alternatives that mimic form factor and functionality. As Lygeia noted:

When the iPhone was introduced in 2017, only 6% of the population had smartphones; today, more than 80% of Americans do—and they’re not all provided by Apple.

Such is the standard development of solutions, innovations and technology – innovation costs money and the early entrants into the market command a higher price by virtue of the economics of market supply and demand. Its been true for thousands of years and while the cycle time for reduction in cost and increased availability has accelerated it still follows this path

The Mobile Phone is an Essential Tool

So in an interesting unintended experiment, I went without my phone for the day. With an important event to attend in Washington DC that started at 6 pm (The Whisky Extravaganza) and a day full of phone calls and meetings I decided to relocate my workspace from my home office to a WiFi enabled space somewhere near the event

I fortunate to get a ride to the Metro station but left my phone in the car and only realized after I boarded the train into DC. My initial reaction was to leap off the train and call the driver to return with my phone……

Don’t Leave Home Without It

I used to joke that if I left the house without my car keys, wallet, children I might carry on but if I left the house without my mobile phone I’d return home immediately. Now I’m not so sure this is a joke anymore!

No phone, no means of reaching out quickly and easily. Even if I could find a public phone or appeal to a random stranger to borrow and use their phone, the chance of someone accepting a call from an unknown number was highly unlikely. Well, I did remember my iPad – I could use that instead I thought.

Arriving at the station that I thought was closest to the event at the JW Marriott I was presented with additional problems – I had no idea how to get from the station to my destination. My iPad had no internet connection and I spent several minutes studying the map in the station trying to find the destination. Exiting I proceeded to a nearby hotel in the hopes of obtaining some WiFi access to communicate with my driver to retrieve my lost phone, enable WiFi calling so that calls would be routed to my iPad (this was not an easy task and required multiple steps, connectivity and confirmation codes routed to different devices). I pulled up google maps and searched for the Marriott and headed out – asking the hotel concierge to at least point me in the right direction. How many times have you started following google maps down a road only to discover that you need to do 180 turns having picked the wrong direction! Multiple stops later including arriving at the wrong Marriott and several interactions with strangers asking for directions I arrived at the hotel an hour after my anticipated arrival.

I’d share the number of steps and even some maps of the routes taken but since I did not have my phone with me the “Moves app” I use for these feature shows me doing very little that day!

Whisky, TonightsTipple
Tonights Tipple (Courtesy of Bill Brewer)

Without my phone, I struggled to connect to the conference calls and the WIFi and VoIP calling proved to be very poor quality. Lunch was limited to stepping outside to see what was nearby and accepting this choice (no location-based TripAdvisor recommendations). Paying was relegated to the archaic method of presenting a credit card. Communicating with colleagues and friends had to be by email and for many including myself delayed or no response since it was not checked frequently (no text messaging or similar instant message communications). No photo record of the event (although friends did share some pictures).


Whisky, TonightsTipple
The Whisky Extravaganza – Tonights Tipple Courtesy of Anthony Santiago

Recording personal favorites tasted during the evening was limited to handwritten (and illegible thanks to my poor handwriting on the move). With my phone, I often take pictures of things I want to remember that include the detail and can be magnified for easier viewing/reading. I also use a Distiller app to track and record tastings and flavor profiles – gone. No live streaming video for tastings and events – I had planned on recording a #TonightTipple Tasting video but the iPad and lack of connectivity made that impossible. As for getting an Uber home – that was a bust too (but thanks to my friends we worked this out).

You get the picture – this is no longer “just” a phone – its an essential device that has become an integral part of our daily lives

The Mobile phone is an essential device that has become an integral part of our daily lives #HCIT #mHealth Click To Tweet

Cell Phones are Changing Healthcare

While the issue of accessibility and affordability remain the technology is and will continue to have a huge impact on healthcare. This spans everything from

  • Emergency Care
  • Screening for Pancreatic Cancer
  • Detecting Pathogens in the Blood
  • Tracking the Spread of Disease
  • Fostering Communication and Collecting Data

Source: 5 Ways Cell Phones Are Literally Changing Global Health

Cell Phones are Changing Healthcare #mHealth #Africa Click To Tweet

Universal Healthcare for Africa

It’s this device that’s enabling wider access to healthcare in a continent with a fraction of the resources here in the US. There are some outstanding examples of the innovation and use of Mobile technology in this gear piece in Newsweek: How AI Can Help Africa Get Universal Healthcare.

The price point for smartphone devices falling to $100 and penetration in Africa is on a tear (doubling between 2014 and 2016) and expecting to exceed 50% by 2020 this device. There are so many examples of healthcare innovation coming from here – Patient Engagement Lessons From Africa and Mobile Health Success.

The infighting over health care in the United States only makes Africa’s strides more impressive. Markets constrained by finance and infrastructure are innovating to democratize health care for all.


New Mobile Phone Prices

I have read a lot of commentary on the price of the new iPhoneX that breaks the $1000 barrier that many consider excessive. But when you consider all the devices and functions this replaces perhaps not so much. Matt Devost listed off the 23 functions and devices the iPhone replaces (and this post from 2009)

iPhone, iPhoneX
Photo Matt Devost

I’ll add one of the lesser known features – “Spirit Level


Will you Buy the New iPhoneX? Maybe, maybe not – but whatever your decision price may not be the deciding factor (now the loss of the headphone jack, facial recognition, disappearing home button or the notable black “notch” – maybe?)

Incremental Improvements from Mobile Phone Technology

Some simple incremental improvements you can apply by using your current smartphone already in your pocket

  • Track your activity
  • Track Your Food
  • Ease Access to Healthy Tips and Tricks
  • Easy Access to Health Information
iPhone, Android, iPhoneX
Incremental Improvements using your Mobile phone

Upgrade or not the mobile phone will be an integral part of our healthier future. There are plenty of incremental steps we can take – this was just a few but perhaps you have some better ideas.

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