If you're an avid iPhone user who can't fathom the thought of ditching Apple's smartphone for something else, there's a good chance you'll be spending boatloads of cash with Apple over the next several years.

Decluttr, a site that lets you sell your used technology products, published a new study that aims at determining just how much an iPhone will cost you over your lifetime. The math requires some assumptions, for sure, but if nothing else, it highlights just how expensive it can be to be a tech addict, let alone one who loves Apple.

In order to arrive at a figure, Decluttr assumed that you'll own an iPhone from the age of 18 to 81. It then assumed that you'll pay for a new iPhone each year and started the calculation with an average selling price on the iPhone this year of $758.

Using those metrics, the person who sticks with an iPhone over a lifetime and buys a new handset each year will be paying $103,000 when it's all said and done.

That's right, to be a true Apple fan who starts early in life, you could be spending more than $100,000 just to have a phone in your pocket.

In order to arrive at that figure, Decluttr did some analysis and found that the iPhone's price increases by $81 with each new release. If that were to continue, Decluttr said, it's possible that the iPhone you buy at 81 years of age will cost you $6,309.

That might sound ridiculous in a world where iPhones cost on average $758, but the average price of an iPhone has increased by 114 percent in the last decade. And with an iPhone XS Max that costs nearly $1,500 on store shelves, it's not inconceivable to see the price continue to rise.

But I should also note that the study may focus on an iPhone, but isn't necessarily unique to iPhones. Samsung has similarly expensive models in the Galaxy S10 and upcoming Galaxy Note 10. It's possible that you'd be paying around the same over your lifetime for those devices, as well.

I should also point out that the Decluttr investigation only focuses on hardware sales. In a world where software and services continue to be so important, your total cost of ownership over time might prove to be even more as you buy new apps, check out new services like Apple Music, and so on.

For both consumers and companies, the Decluttr study is nothing if not interesting. But it also assumes that you'll be buying a new iPhone each year. And in the real world, that just doesn't happen all that often. Some folks buy a new iPhone every other year and in some cases, it can take three or more years before they buy a new iPhone. In those cases, the total cost of owning an iPhone will be lower.

Still, the fact remains: owning a smartphone is an expensive proposition. And if you're a business owner looking to save some cash, you should look carefully at your mobile technology workforce to see if there's a way to extend your device lifecycles or otherwise reduce your costs. Given the Decluttr study, it seems obvious that technology costs, left to run amok, could be a real problem for companies when the cost is considered on a per-person basis.

So, what are your options? Of course, it all depends on the company. If your employees don't require the latest and greatest software to do their jobs, consider getting older iPhone models when it's time to upgrade. You can also turn to cheaper Android phones from LG and others.

More than anything, however, it's about extending lifecycle as much as possible. Today's iPhones are quite powerful. And for most companies, they should be able to last for at least a few years. So be real about lifecycles, but try to extend them wherever possible. It's far more doable than you or your IT department might think.

Published on: Jun 12, 2019
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