If you pay the premium price to Apple, you get a phone with a well-designed operating system, no overlapping preloaded apps, and a host of services that often work very well, like iMessage, Apple Pay and expanding compatibilities with Apple’s personal computers and devices like the Apple TV and, soon, the Apple Watch. You can criticize Apple’s sticky ecosystem as a form of consumer lock-in, but Apple sure has built a luxurious prison, and customers are willing to pay extra for it.
If you pay that premium to Samsung, you don’t get a whole lot more than you can get on, say, a phone made by Xiaomi, OnePlus or any of a dozen smaller players.
I’ve never really thought about it this way, but it’s totally true. When I got an iPhone, I fell in love with Continuity with my Mac, iMessage, AirPlay with my Apple TV, and even the future compatibility with the Apple Watch. When you buy an iPhone, you’re buying into an ecosystem, and the price to get into that is $650. You either pay it or you don’t get in.
Meanwhile, I could go down to my local big box retailer and buy a new Moto G for $50 and get all of the Android advantages that you get from the $650 Samsung Galaxy phones. Yes, the Samsung phone is faster, has a much better camera, and has a few more features, but the cheap phone gets Hangouts messaging, Chromecast support, Google+ photo storage, and all the other wonders of Android.
I’m not saying the value isn’t there (after all, if I was buying an Android phone today, it would be an expensive one), but it’s a tougher and tougher sell.