Tim Cook is the CEO of the most valuable company on the planet, so it makes sense that he is well compensated. Of course, he deserves every penny. You might not know it from all the whining in the press and among analysts, but Apple is actually doing quite well. In the most recent quarter, when iPhone sales were supposed to plummet because no one wanted to buy the new iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone sales totalled 46.6 million units, up over a million units from the year-ago quarter. Apple crushed the Street’s September-quarter estimates with a whopping $52.6 billion in revenue, and its cash pile swelled to $268.9 billion. Yeah, Apple’s doing pretty well right now.
Back to Mr. Cook. With an estimated net worth approaching $1 billion, it seems like he might have a different perspective than most people when it comes to affordability. At least, that was our takeaway following some comments he made during Apple’s earnings call on Thursday evening.
Apple’s new iPhone X is a lot of things. It’s gorgeous. It’s fast. It’s powerful. It’s revolutionary. It’s also very, very expensive… or so we thought.
While speaking on the call on Thursday, Cook addressed chatter that the new tenth-anniversary iPhone is on the pricey side. Not so, according to Apple’s CEO, who said that when you buy an iPhone X on a monthly installment plan the cost is “less than a coffee a day at one of those expensive coffee places.” Hmm.
Similar to carrier installment plans, Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program lets customers spread their payments out over the course of two years. So instead of paying either $999 for a 64GB iPhone X or $1,149 for a 256GB model, buyers can pay $49.91 or $56.16 per month.
Broken down over the course of a month, Cook is correct that Apple’s new iPhone X costs less than a cup of fancy, overpriced coffee each day. Even the most expensive iPhone X model costs less than $2 a day, in fact. But does that make the iPhone X affordable? Is affordability in the consumer electronics industry now measured against the cost of food? I certainly hope not, because a cup of coffee at a Starbucks Reserve costs as much as $7, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to pay $5,000 for next year’s iPhone.
That’s… not how things work. An $800-per-month Mercedes isn’t affordable because it costs less per day than you spend on dinner. It’s still really expensive. And so is the iPhone X.