Futon Company

13 Dec 18
The Scottish Sun
Millions of families will be feuding this Christmas – over what to watch on the TV, it has emerged. A study of 2,000 families revealed tempers are most likely to run high over which TV special or film to watch after Christmas dinner. Christmas telly is set to divide families across Britain this year Similarly, who does the washing up after the feast is another topic likely to cause rifts on December 25th. Other arguments will which blow up over the Christmas period will involve who gets which bedroom to stay in, who gets to host the family and who sits where around the table on the big day. Steve Reid CEO of sleep technology company Simba, which commissioned the research, said: “Lots of factors can raise tensions at Christmas time.” “Whether it’s the pandemonium of having everyone under one roof, packed social calendars, losing the amount of quality sleep we get, or stress about the big day fraying our nerves, each can keep us from being our usual calm, well-rested selves.” The study also found three in 10 Brits believe they will have an argument with their loved ones at least once a day over their Christmas stay [boxout headline=”THE 12 FEUDS OF CHRISTMAS”]1. What film or TV show to watch 2. Who washes up 3. The temperature of the heating 4. What time to open presents 5. How much alcohol to drink 6. How long to spend at each relatives house 7. People arriving late 8. How much to spend on each person 9. What time to eat Christmas dinner 10. Staying off phones at the dinner table 11. Who won the board game 12. Political conversations, such as Brexit[/boxout] The study also found three in 10 Brits believe they will have an argument with their loved ones at least once a day over their Christmas stay. Thankfully a Christmas argument is rarely a long-standing affair with 44 per cent of the bust-ups fizzling out in less than 10 minutes. And over a third think Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a festive feud between friends and family. Tempers are likely to be frayed for two in five Brits, who regularly spend their Christmas away from home at someone else’s house. [boxout headline=”TOP 10 CAUSES OF A SLEEPLESS NIGHT AT CHRISTMAS”]1. Over indulgence 2. Stressing about preparation 3. Drinking too much 4. Excitement causing me to stay awake 5. Wrapping presents late 6. Waiting for children to sleep in order to put presents out 7. Staying at a relative’s house 8. Heartburn and indigestion 9. Children waking up throughout the night 10. Having guests stay over [/boxout] Of these, 40 per cent said their sleeping arrangement was usually uncertain, and only 48 per cent thought they were guaranteed a comfy bed on their stay. Two thirds of Brits spending Christmas away from home said their sleep suffers over this period, and 36 per cent thinks this leads them to become more irritable. Despite this extra discomfort, a third of Brits would much rather be an invited guest over Christmas – rather than overseeing the festivities as the host of their own gathering. One in seven think having to appear to be in a good mood all the time is the worst thing about Christmas, and one in eight believe the season is marred by the lack of sleep they are able to get. [boxout headline=”HOPE BASTINE’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR KEEPING THE PEACE THIS CHRISTMAS”] 1. Be prepared: Reduce tension on the big day by getting yourself organised ahead of the time. Christmas Day is loaded with expectation, from the presents to the food to the company, and you can do yourself a favour by ensuring you are calm and organised, whatever role you aim to play in the festivities. 2. Everything in moderation: Christmas is a time to unwind and let go of some of the pressures which have built up over the year. It’s a time to catch up with others and fill our social calendars, but this can come at a cost to our health. Rich food and drink can be enjoyable in the short-term, but over an entire season of goodwill all that excess can have an effect on our health, our mood, and our sleep. 3. Consider your wellbeing: Christmas is a disruption of routine. Gym sessions are replaced with staff parties, salads are swapped for roast dinners and a sensible bedtime is traded for late-night movies. It’s important in this hectic time to remember the essentials, to make time for yourself and to ensure you get good rest. 4. Set realistic expectations of others: Everyone wants their Christmas to be perfect, but the faults and foibles of your family are never more apparent than when gathered around a table together. Grumbles are likely to rise when all those personalities, who might not see each other for the rest of the year, are forced into close proximity, stuffed with turkey and marinated in Bucks Fizz. In moments like this it’s important to take a breather and, keep some perspective, and remember that Christmas is supposed to be fun! 5. Be proactive in tough spots: Just as the festive season is a great time to catch up, it is also an equally good time for prying relatives to have a nosy in your business. Expect and pre-empt these questions. Changed jobs? Moved homes? Broken up with a partner? Try to identify subjects of conversation which are likely to come up which might be mishandled and lead to tension, and consider ways to limit the damage they could do ahead of time. Be proactive, not reactive to tough or uncomfortable conversations. [/boxout] [article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN THE NEWS” posts_category=”2″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /] The average Brit will get just six hours of sleep on Christmas Eve when anticipation is at its height, and one in 10 manage just three or four hours of slumber. Reid added: “These findings show that it’s natural to feel both ecstatic and exhausted at the prospect of Christmas. “Over the Christmas period, Simba will be ready to come to the rescue of the millions of Brits doing their duty and leaving the comfort of their own beds to enjoy the festivities from the futons, sofa beds and lumpy spare mattresses of friends and relatives.” We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.  
13 Dec 18
The Sun
Millions of families will be feuding this Christmas – over what to watch on the TV, it has emerged. A study of 2,000 families revealed tempers are most likely to run high over which TV special or film to watch after Christmas dinner. Christmas telly is set to divide families across Britain this year Similarly, who does the washing up after the feast is another topic likely to cause rifts on December 25th. Other arguments will which blow up over the Christmas period will involve who gets which bedroom to stay in, who gets to host the family and who sits where around the table on the big day. Steve Reid CEO of sleep technology company Simba, which commissioned the research, said: “Lots of factors can raise tensions at Christmas time.” “Whether it’s the pandemonium of having everyone under one roof, packed social calendars, losing the amount of quality sleep we get, or stress about the big day fraying our nerves, each can keep us from being our usual calm, well-rested selves.” The study also found three in 10 Brits believe they will have an argument with their loved ones at least once a day over their Christmas stay [boxout headline=”THE 12 FEUDS OF CHRISTMAS”]1. What film or TV show to watch 2. Who washes up 3. The temperature of the heating 4. What time to open presents 5. How much alcohol to drink 6. How long to spend at each relatives house 7. People arriving late 8. How much to spend on each person 9. What time to eat Christmas dinner 10. Staying off phones at the dinner table 11. Who won the board game 12. Political conversations, such as Brexit[/boxout] The study also found three in 10 Brits believe they will have an argument with their loved ones at least once a day over their Christmas stay. Thankfully a Christmas argument is rarely a long-standing affair with 44 per cent of the bust-ups fizzling out in less than 10 minutes. And over a third think Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a festive feud between friends and family. Tempers are likely to be frayed for two in five Brits, who regularly spend their Christmas away from home at someone else’s house. [boxout headline=”TOP 10 CAUSES OF A SLEEPLESS NIGHT AT CHRISTMAS”]1. Over indulgence 2. Stressing about preparation 3. Drinking too much 4. Excitement causing me to stay awake 5. Wrapping presents late 6. Waiting for children to sleep in order to put presents out 7. Staying at a relative’s house 8. Heartburn and indigestion 9. Children waking up throughout the night 10. Having guests stay over [/boxout] Of these, 40 per cent said their sleeping arrangement was usually uncertain, and only 48 per cent thought they were guaranteed a comfy bed on their stay. Two thirds of Brits spending Christmas away from home said their sleep suffers over this period, and 36 per cent thinks this leads them to become more irritable. Despite this extra discomfort, a third of Brits would much rather be an invited guest over Christmas – rather than overseeing the festivities as the host of their own gathering. One in seven think having to appear to be in a good mood all the time is the worst thing about Christmas, and one in eight believe the season is marred by the lack of sleep they are able to get. [boxout headline=”HOPE BASTINE’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR KEEPING THE PEACE THIS CHRISTMAS”] 1. Be prepared: Reduce tension on the big day by getting yourself organised ahead of the time. Christmas Day is loaded with expectation, from the presents to the food to the company, and you can do yourself a favour by ensuring you are calm and organised, whatever role you aim to play in the festivities. 2. Everything in moderation: Christmas is a time to unwind and let go of some of the pressures which have built up over the year. It’s a time to catch up with others and fill our social calendars, but this can come at a cost to our health. Rich food and drink can be enjoyable in the short-term, but over an entire season of goodwill all that excess can have an effect on our health, our mood, and our sleep. 3. Consider your wellbeing: Christmas is a disruption of routine. Gym sessions are replaced with staff parties, salads are swapped for roast dinners and a sensible bedtime is traded for late-night movies. It’s important in this hectic time to remember the essentials, to make time for yourself and to ensure you get good rest. 4. Set realistic expectations of others: Everyone wants their Christmas to be perfect, but the faults and foibles of your family are never more apparent than when gathered around a table together. Grumbles are likely to rise when all those personalities, who might not see each other for the rest of the year, are forced into close proximity, stuffed with turkey and marinated in Bucks Fizz. In moments like this it’s important to take a breather and, keep some perspective, and remember that Christmas is supposed to be fun! 5. Be proactive in tough spots: Just as the festive season is a great time to catch up, it is also an equally good time for prying relatives to have a nosy in your business. Expect and pre-empt these questions. Changed jobs? Moved homes? Broken up with a partner? Try to identify subjects of conversation which are likely to come up which might be mishandled and lead to tension, and consider ways to limit the damage they could do ahead of time. Be proactive, not reactive to tough or uncomfortable conversations. [/boxout] [article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN THE NEWS” posts_category=”316″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /] The average Brit will get just six hours of sleep on Christmas Eve when anticipation is at its height, and one in 10 manage just three or four hours of slumber. Reid added: “These findings show that it’s natural to feel both ecstatic and exhausted at the prospect of Christmas. “Over the Christmas period, Simba will be ready to come to the rescue of the millions of Brits doing their duty and leaving the comfort of their own beds to enjoy the festivities from the futons, sofa beds and lumpy spare mattresses of friends and relatives.” We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.  
13 Dec 18
Just A Blog of Souvenirs

I love to explore KC. I visit shops that are filled with character and flair any chance that I get. Since moving here in June, I have fallen in love with this city. I grew up in a small town in Missouri and am always blown away by the sheer amount of things to do […]

12 Dec 18
Beauty and the Bustle

Hello friends! I am excited to introduce my “New Home Who Dis” Home Makeover Blog Series. I’m going to be sharing posts about projects, organization, sharing-of-space, decoration, etc. for a new home. And this doesn’t have to be house-exclusive. A lot of this will apply to apartments as well! Some background: my boyfriend just recently […]

12 Dec 18
Hipster Hiker

I have found that one of the grossest misconceptions is that there is an age at which you will magically have your shit together. Early this year, I dated someone who could not have been more opposite of me. Friends and family have fondly regarded me as a hot mess. Well, if I was a hot […]

12 Dec 18
Oh How She Goes

The plan after Thanksgiving was to take a bus from LA to SF with my bicycle, and then bike back down, finishing the section of my beloved HWY 1 that I had missed. But as I hope we’ve both learned from this blog, plans on the road never seem to go as planned. Back in […]

11 Dec 18
Time Burrito

Here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter of my new book: The Robin Hood of Couches. It will be exclusive to Kickstarter in January. You can preview it here. Keep in mind, this chapter hasn’t been to the editor yet: Tyrell’s life was officially over. He elected to spend his last precious moments fiddling […]

11 Dec 18
leo's blog

This is the watering hole. The watering hole is where we all gather to have a good time and enjoy the company of the closest of friends. It also happens to be where I live and I couldn’t be happier about it. The Basement has it all (well, minus a bathroom. Good thing my roommates […]

11 Dec 18
Hometown Publishing

“To whom it may concern,” the letter read, Mitsuhide could tell you exactly what the rest would say, especially considering it didn’t even address him by name. He’d read pretty much this exact letter dozens of times over the past few months, but he carried on anyway. “We regret to inform you that…” He crumpled […]

10 Dec 18
Travelling King

Japan is a unique island country with a distinct culture. Due to a long history of being isolated from the rest of the world, Japanese traditions formed without the influence of other nations. Your first visit to Japan may seem like you’ve entered another world. What you really want to know though, is “how much […]

10 Dec 18
Honcho Lifestyle

A list of 16 sleek minimalist room ideas for men that prove to be classic and timeless looks. You’ll enjoy these minimal styles and a classic feels.

08 Dec 18
Arcynewsy

(Illustration of Washington Post / iStock staff) (Washington Post Staff / Washington, D.C.) You can not put a price on loyalty. I'm joking, it's $ 1,000. This year Apple has become a $ 1 trillion company. But it has also become the thousand dollar company: all of a sudden you need at least 10 Benjamins […]

07 Dec 18
jabberwonka

During my senior year of high school I met a boy. Okay that’s not entirely true: I met a man. He was ten years my senior and we started dating when I was 17.  I was the dancing queen, young and sweet.  I was every man’s dream: barefoot, ignorant and ready to learn. I don’t […]

06 Dec 18
The Mercury News
By Geoffrey Fowler and Andrew Van Dam | Washington Post You can’t put a price on loyalty. Just kidding, it’s $1,000. Apple this year became a trillion-dollar company. But it also became the thousand-dollar company: Suddenly you need at least 10 Benjamins to get the best new iPhone or the big iPad Pro. [dfm_iframe src=”https://apps.mercurynews.com/newsletters-signup/?campaign=morning-report” width=”100%” height=”220px” allowfullscreen=”yes” scrolling=”yes” /] Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall, many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt like the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel. For some perspective, we charted out the last few years of prices on a few iconic Apple products. Then we compared them to other brands and some proprietary data about Americans’ phone purchase habits from mobile analytics firm BayStreet Research. What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation – faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most-important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders. Apple says prices go up because it introduces new technologies such as FaceID and invests in making products that last a long time. Yet it has clearly been feeling price discomfort from some quarters. This week, amid reports of lagging sales that took its stock far out of the trillion-dollar club, it dedicated its homepage to a used car sales technique that’s uncharacteristic for a an aspirational luxury brand. It offered a “limited-time” deal to trade in an old iPhone and get a new iPhone XR for $450, a $300 discount. The company offers trade-ins for many products now. And not everything Apple has gone up in price: An entry-level iMac and iPad have gotten cheaper since 2014, though in both cases the company has since added a new higher-end (and higher-price) “Pro” version to its lineup. It’s a good time to take stock of what you’re paying for. Back at the end of 2014, when the iPhone 6 came out, the average price paid for any iPhone was $634, according BayStreet. This year, it’ll be $898. (Samsung owners over the same period went from $635 to $710, not accounting for promotions.) Add in services such as iCloud storage and AirPod headphones, and our Apple bill climbs even higher. Our charts of Apple’s rising prices are like a Rorschach test: Some see a tech giant gouging us more for ho-hum upgrades. Others see the increasing usefulness of Apple products in our lives. What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value. Why Apple charges more Most technology products are commodities that go actually down in price over time. Apple has worked very hard not to become a commodity. Take the MacBook Air, the entry-level laptop, which at $1,000 became more common in U.S. college dorms than futons. After letting the laptop’s features languish for years while it focused on pricier models, Apple updated the Air in October with a new screen, processor and fingerprint reader. Oh, and that 20 percent price bump, too. Laptop competition is fierce, and by many measures the new Air can’t compete with a leading Windows 10 model like Dell’s XPS 13. For the same price as a new Air, the Dell offers a faster processor, more flash storage – and it weighs less, too. But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud – a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to the Apple Store and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy. Sure, there are things Apple isn’t best at anymore, including smartphone cameras and voice assistants. Even if any one of those features or services isn’t as good as a competitor, it doesn’t much move the needle – the sum is far greater than the parts. Apple isn’t totally ignoring budget shoppers. The iPhone is now available in an incredibly wide band of prices because Apple keeps around older models and drops their prices. You can get an iPhone 7 for $450 (and a 6S or SE for even less through a retailer) or a maxed-out iPhone XS Max for as much as $1,450. The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are just skipping out on an upgrade altogether. “People are looking at the R as the step-down product. Like it’s less of a smartphone,” says BayStreet’s Cliff Maldonado. That makes sense if you think about Apple as a luxury good. When you’re spending that much, who buys last season’s stuff? (No surprise, Apple’s head of retail used to be the CEO of Burberry.) The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top-of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.” What’s changing Back in 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to Bay Street. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off. The reality is that smartphones, like laptops and tablets, haven’t been getting dramatically better. There’s some interesting new tech on the horizon, but over the past three years, the advances in processor speeds and other capabilities have been hard to feel. That wasn’t true in the earlier days of smartphones. “I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies. Especially when software upgrades keep coming through: Apple’s latest, iOS 12, still works on an iPhone 5S from 2013. From our perspective, we get more life out of a phone that we hold on to for three or four years. That’s just a hard thing to see. And Apple has another trick to get us to spend more in the years between the big upgrades: services and accessories. It’s got AppleCare+ for when you crack a screen, iCloud to store all the photos that no longer fit on your phone, Apple Music for entertainment – and likely more to come in 2019. Then there are stocking stuffers like cases, ludicrously overpriced dongles, or if Santa’s feeling very generous, AirPods and Apple Watches. A certain Apple logic kicks in: I spent so much on this, maybe I’ll spend even more to get the most out of it. Apple made 16 percent of its revenue from services in the most recent quarter and signaled that it was the company’s new focus by announcing it will no longer even disclose how many phones it sells. So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow? There’s always the option of moving to a different tech tribe. It’s hard to find an alternative for all the problems Apple solves, though Google is trying to replicate some aspects of the experience with its Pixel smartphones and Home speaker devices. (Those products aren’t much cheaper, though.) So far, there’s little evidence many are interested in switching. “I don’t think people are going to say this is too expensive, so I am going to switch to Android,” says Bajarin. “Your regular consumer just wants guarantees. They want to know that what they bought works and rarely stray from what they’re familiar with.” Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need? Just because you have an iPhone doesn’t mean you need the $350 HomePod to listen to music. (It’s now easier to avoid that hardware: Apple last week announced it would make Apple Music subscriptions available on Amazon Alexa devices such as the $50 Echo Dot speaker.) Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money. Or: Before buying the new thing after one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.
06 Dec 18
Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Geoffrey Fowler and Andrew Van Dam | Washington Post You can’t put a price on loyalty. Just kidding, it’s $1,000. Apple this year became a trillion-dollar company. But it also became the thousand-dollar company: Suddenly you need at least 10 Benjamins to get the best new iPhone or the big iPad Pro. [dfm_iframe src=”https://apps.mercurynews.com/newsletters-signup/?campaign=morning-report” width=”100%” height=”220px” allowfullscreen=”yes” scrolling=”yes” /] Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall, many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt like the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel. For some perspective, we charted out the last few years of prices on a few iconic Apple products. Then we compared them to other brands and some proprietary data about Americans’ phone purchase habits from mobile analytics firm BayStreet Research. What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation – faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most-important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders. Apple says prices go up because it introduces new technologies such as FaceID and invests in making products that last a long time. Yet it has clearly been feeling price discomfort from some quarters. This week, amid reports of lagging sales that took its stock far out of the trillion-dollar club, it dedicated its homepage to a used car sales technique that’s uncharacteristic for a an aspirational luxury brand. It offered a “limited-time” deal to trade in an old iPhone and get a new iPhone XR for $450, a $300 discount. The company offers trade-ins for many products now. And not everything Apple has gone up in price: An entry-level iMac and iPad have gotten cheaper since 2014, though in both cases the company has since added a new higher-end (and higher-price) “Pro” version to its lineup. It’s a good time to take stock of what you’re paying for. Back at the end of 2014, when the iPhone 6 came out, the average price paid for any iPhone was $634, according BayStreet. This year, it’ll be $898. (Samsung owners over the same period went from $635 to $710, not accounting for promotions.) Add in services such as iCloud storage and AirPod headphones, and our Apple bill climbs even higher. Our charts of Apple’s rising prices are like a Rorschach test: Some see a tech giant gouging us more for ho-hum upgrades. Others see the increasing usefulness of Apple products in our lives. What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value. Why Apple charges more Most technology products are commodities that go actually down in price over time. Apple has worked very hard not to become a commodity. Take the MacBook Air, the entry-level laptop, which at $1,000 became more common in U.S. college dorms than futons. After letting the laptop’s features languish for years while it focused on pricier models, Apple updated the Air in October with a new screen, processor and fingerprint reader. Oh, and that 20 percent price bump, too. Laptop competition is fierce, and by many measures the new Air can’t compete with a leading Windows 10 model like Dell’s XPS 13. For the same price as a new Air, the Dell offers a faster processor, more flash storage – and it weighs less, too. But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud – a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to the Apple Store and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy. Sure, there are things Apple isn’t best at anymore, including smartphone cameras and voice assistants. Even if any one of those features or services isn’t as good as a competitor, it doesn’t much move the needle – the sum is far greater than the parts. Apple isn’t totally ignoring budget shoppers. The iPhone is now available in an incredibly wide band of prices because Apple keeps around older models and drops their prices. You can get an iPhone 7 for $450 (and a 6S or SE for even less through a retailer) or a maxed-out iPhone XS Max for as much as $1,450. The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are just skipping out on an upgrade altogether. “People are looking at the R as the step-down product. Like it’s less of a smartphone,” says BayStreet’s Cliff Maldonado. That makes sense if you think about Apple as a luxury good. When you’re spending that much, who buys last season’s stuff? (No surprise, Apple’s head of retail used to be the CEO of Burberry.) The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top-of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.” What’s changing Back in 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to Bay Street. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off. The reality is that smartphones, like laptops and tablets, haven’t been getting dramatically better. There’s some interesting new tech on the horizon, but over the past three years, the advances in processor speeds and other capabilities have been hard to feel. That wasn’t true in the earlier days of smartphones. “I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies. Especially when software upgrades keep coming through: Apple’s latest, iOS 12, still works on an iPhone 5S from 2013. From our perspective, we get more life out of a phone that we hold on to for three or four years. That’s just a hard thing to see. And Apple has another trick to get us to spend more in the years between the big upgrades: services and accessories. It’s got AppleCare+ for when you crack a screen, iCloud to store all the photos that no longer fit on your phone, Apple Music for entertainment – and likely more to come in 2019. Then there are stocking stuffers like cases, ludicrously overpriced dongles, or if Santa’s feeling very generous, AirPods and Apple Watches. A certain Apple logic kicks in: I spent so much on this, maybe I’ll spend even more to get the most out of it. Apple made 16 percent of its revenue from services in the most recent quarter and signaled that it was the company’s new focus by announcing it will no longer even disclose how many phones it sells. So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow? There’s always the option of moving to a different tech tribe. It’s hard to find an alternative for all the problems Apple solves, though Google is trying to replicate some aspects of the experience with its Pixel smartphones and Home speaker devices. (Those products aren’t much cheaper, though.) So far, there’s little evidence many are interested in switching. “I don’t think people are going to say this is too expensive, so I am going to switch to Android,” says Bajarin. “Your regular consumer just wants guarantees. They want to know that what they bought works and rarely stray from what they’re familiar with.” Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need? Just because you have an iPhone doesn’t mean you need the $350 HomePod to listen to music. (It’s now easier to avoid that hardware: Apple last week announced it would make Apple Music subscriptions available on Amazon Alexa devices such as the $50 Echo Dot speaker.) Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money. Or: Before buying the new thing after one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.
06 Dec 18
Silicon Valley
By Geoffrey Fowler and Andrew Van Dam | Washington Post You can’t put a price on loyalty. Just kidding, it’s $1,000. Apple this year became a trillion-dollar company. But it also became the thousand-dollar company: Suddenly you need at least 10 Benjamins to get the best new iPhone or the big iPad Pro. [dfm_iframe src=”https://apps.mercurynews.com/newsletters-signup/?campaign=morning-report” width=”100%” height=”220px” allowfullscreen=”yes” scrolling=”yes” /] Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall, many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt like the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel. For some perspective, we charted out the last few years of prices on a few iconic Apple products. Then we compared them to other brands and some proprietary data about Americans’ phone purchase habits from mobile analytics firm BayStreet Research. What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation – faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most-important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders. Apple says prices go up because it introduces new technologies such as FaceID and invests in making products that last a long time. Yet it has clearly been feeling price discomfort from some quarters. This week, amid reports of lagging sales that took its stock far out of the trillion-dollar club, it dedicated its homepage to a used car sales technique that’s uncharacteristic for a an aspirational luxury brand. It offered a “limited-time” deal to trade in an old iPhone and get a new iPhone XR for $450, a $300 discount. The company offers trade-ins for many products now. And not everything Apple has gone up in price: An entry-level iMac and iPad have gotten cheaper since 2014, though in both cases the company has since added a new higher-end (and higher-price) “Pro” version to its lineup. It’s a good time to take stock of what you’re paying for. Back at the end of 2014, when the iPhone 6 came out, the average price paid for any iPhone was $634, according BayStreet. This year, it’ll be $898. (Samsung owners over the same period went from $635 to $710, not accounting for promotions.) Add in services such as iCloud storage and AirPod headphones, and our Apple bill climbs even higher. Our charts of Apple’s rising prices are like a Rorschach test: Some see a tech giant gouging us more for ho-hum upgrades. Others see the increasing usefulness of Apple products in our lives. What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value. Why Apple charges more Most technology products are commodities that go actually down in price over time. Apple has worked very hard not to become a commodity. Take the MacBook Air, the entry-level laptop, which at $1,000 became more common in U.S. college dorms than futons. After letting the laptop’s features languish for years while it focused on pricier models, Apple updated the Air in October with a new screen, processor and fingerprint reader. Oh, and that 20 percent price bump, too. Laptop competition is fierce, and by many measures the new Air can’t compete with a leading Windows 10 model like Dell’s XPS 13. For the same price as a new Air, the Dell offers a faster processor, more flash storage – and it weighs less, too. But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud – a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to the Apple Store and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy. Sure, there are things Apple isn’t best at anymore, including smartphone cameras and voice assistants. Even if any one of those features or services isn’t as good as a competitor, it doesn’t much move the needle – the sum is far greater than the parts. Apple isn’t totally ignoring budget shoppers. The iPhone is now available in an incredibly wide band of prices because Apple keeps around older models and drops their prices. You can get an iPhone 7 for $450 (and a 6S or SE for even less through a retailer) or a maxed-out iPhone XS Max for as much as $1,450. The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are just skipping out on an upgrade altogether. “People are looking at the R as the step-down product. Like it’s less of a smartphone,” says BayStreet’s Cliff Maldonado. That makes sense if you think about Apple as a luxury good. When you’re spending that much, who buys last season’s stuff? (No surprise, Apple’s head of retail used to be the CEO of Burberry.) The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top-of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.” What’s changing Back in 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to Bay Street. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off. The reality is that smartphones, like laptops and tablets, haven’t been getting dramatically better. There’s some interesting new tech on the horizon, but over the past three years, the advances in processor speeds and other capabilities have been hard to feel. That wasn’t true in the earlier days of smartphones. “I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies. Especially when software upgrades keep coming through: Apple’s latest, iOS 12, still works on an iPhone 5S from 2013. From our perspective, we get more life out of a phone that we hold on to for three or four years. That’s just a hard thing to see. And Apple has another trick to get us to spend more in the years between the big upgrades: services and accessories. It’s got AppleCare+ for when you crack a screen, iCloud to store all the photos that no longer fit on your phone, Apple Music for entertainment – and likely more to come in 2019. Then there are stocking stuffers like cases, ludicrously overpriced dongles, or if Santa’s feeling very generous, AirPods and Apple Watches. A certain Apple logic kicks in: I spent so much on this, maybe I’ll spend even more to get the most out of it. Apple made 16 percent of its revenue from services in the most recent quarter and signaled that it was the company’s new focus by announcing it will no longer even disclose how many phones it sells. So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow? There’s always the option of moving to a different tech tribe. It’s hard to find an alternative for all the problems Apple solves, though Google is trying to replicate some aspects of the experience with its Pixel smartphones and Home speaker devices. (Those products aren’t much cheaper, though.) So far, there’s little evidence many are interested in switching. “I don’t think people are going to say this is too expensive, so I am going to switch to Android,” says Bajarin. “Your regular consumer just wants guarantees. They want to know that what they bought works and rarely stray from what they’re familiar with.” Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need? Just because you have an iPhone doesn’t mean you need the $350 HomePod to listen to music. (It’s now easier to avoid that hardware: Apple last week announced it would make Apple Music subscriptions available on Amazon Alexa devices such as the $50 Echo Dot speaker.) Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money. Or: Before buying the new thing after one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.