Sam Rutherford’s Flexible Phone Pricing Standards

Sam Rutherford of Gizmodo, shortly after Apple announced their new iPhone lineup in September:

The new iPhones are here, and with them, Apple has once again pushed the price of smartphones even higher — especially the iPhone Xs Max which starts at $1,100 and goes all the way up to a staggering $1,450 if you upgrade to 512GB of storage.

This isn’t unusual for Rutherford; when the iPhone X was launched last year, he described its price as “eye-watering” and “outrageous”.

Rutherford today, reacting to the rumoured price of Samsung’s experimental foldable screen phone, in an article with the headline “Samsung’s First Flexible Phone Could Cost $1,700, and That Price Seems Totally Reasonable”:

That’s because Samsung’s flexible screen device — which has been dubbed the Galaxy F for now — may cost around 2 million won (about $1,760 U.S.) when it goes on sale in the first half of 2019, according to an estimate from Golden Bridge Investment published by the Korea Times.

That price may come as a major downer for people who have been searching for alternatives to the boring glass bricks we’ve been living with for the past decade or so. But if you consider the state of smartphones today, 2 million won doesn’t actually seem that outlandish.

Rutherford does a bunch of math based on guesses — like an assumption that the screen will withstand wear and tear for years — still ends up $350 short of the rumoured price of the flexible phone, and somehow just hand-waves that away.

I have absolutely no problem with anyone trying to justify to themselves the high price of a product they want. But you can bet that, if Apple were the ones launching an $1,800 phone that has two folding screens, Rutherford’s commentary would not be so glowing.

I don’t mean to pick on just one person, either. I just think it’s quite weird that it’s somehow less justifiable to charge a high price for a well-made and proven product that people actually want than it is for an experimental and gimmicky product.