- Last Active
The T-Mobile One "Unlimited 55" plan is a great one for us older folks. You overlooked that in the article. Also, you didn't compare the prices for adding an extra line for Apple Watch cellular.
I've been using iPhone since v1.0, so I suffered through that horrible first five years of the AT&T exclusive. Never going back to them. Ever.
I had been using T-Mobile prepaid service since 2014. That was $40 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data (5GB a month at LTE speed, the rest in 3G). That was fine for me, until I bought an Apple Watch (cellular) last year.
I switched to the T-Mobile One "Unlimited 55+" service, adding an extra line for the Watch. The base price is $55 a month for unlimited talk, text, data (throttles to 3G after 50GB), Netflix, unlimited video streams (480p), free roaming to Canada/Mexico and a big one for me, unlimited text/data in 210 countries. Base price for the extra line for the Apple Watch is $15 (actually under the 55+ plan any two lines are $70/mo before the auto pay discount, so you can apply it to Apple Watch or not).
I save $10/mo using Auto Pay (direct from bank monthly payments), so my total monthly comes out to $60 for two lines, which is pretty great compared to most.
As far as service coverage, I'm in an location that has both small-urban and semi-rural areas (Boise, Idaho). I've been up here for about four years, and although the coverage was occasionally lacking a few years ago, it's solid and entirely on par with everyone else up here now. The old idea that T-Mobile was behind on coverage is pretty much a thing of the past now.
Finally, I can't say enough about T-Mobile's support and customer service. That is where they really shine. Compared to my experiences with customer service at AT&T, it's like night and day...
Finally, I really like that T-Mobile states the price for the service, and that's the price you pay. No hidden fees or additional charges. I hated how AT&T charged a base price of $80/mo, then added fees and charges galore until it arrived at more like $130/mo for each line... outrageous!
Anyway, I can't recommend T-Mobile enough. Price, service, support, perks... all good. (I'm not affiliated in any way, just a happy customer). If you're over 55, it's pretty hard to beat.
There is gross margin, which, after the crisis period after Jobs' return to the helm stabilized pretty consistently at just about 38% on average, give or take a bit. It's a very consistent Gross, and has been for well over a decade now. They keep their pricing across all their lines (hardware, software, services, etc.) at levels clearly designed to maintain that +/- 38% gross margin. They've been incredibly adept at keeping it there. I was interested in a similar comparison of Net Margins over the same period. How much did the business cost, how much of that steady Gross did they have to spend to keep it all running, and running profitably? How steady are the Net Profits? That, in the end, is a better measure of whether a company is "gouging" or not. Gross is fine, but Net is where the 'bottom line' sits. If a company manages to keep their net always at or above break even (even in slimmer quarters) then they're doing it right. This chart seems to indicate (for the last 5 years, at least) that they are. Scroll down to see a longer list (uncharted) of margins going back to 2006 when they were at or around 10%. Apple was still recovering, helped in part by the iPod, and just before iPhone. Then the magic happened. They've been in the 20-percentile range for most of the past decade. This is before-tax profit, I believe. So not at all gouging, considering they have a pretty specactular global demand. They see more profit in better quarters, and typically razor thin in slimmer quarters (summer), but they aren't in the red, ever. That's where a company should be to remain healthy. https://ycharts.com/companies/AAPL/profit_margin So, after-tax profits in the area of 15% ~ 20%, which is still above average but not exactly gouging, especially with products they can't make enough of for a couple of months after they release. Their services are all pretty reasonably priced, none are at all higher than the market in general. iCloud (I pay $3/mo for the 200GB of storage, which is reasonable, and it's extremely secure), Apple Music @ $100/year is basically the same as Prime's annual. I think the $100 ~ $120 annual for unlimited content access is becoming kind of a standard. The rest, Apple Care has been affordable,, and Apple's support is second to none. You get what you pay for... All to say, if anyone accuses Apple of gouging, that's nonsense. You can only accuse them of making "high end" products, that sport a premium price tag, but also have the quality to match. I know of very few people who kept a Samsung "smart phone" for 5 years without a glitch or the slightest decrease in performance (other than battery life)... I've owned iPhone 1, 3GS, 5S, and now X... I had the 5S for about 5 years, and never a single issue. It performed the same from day to the day I traded it in for the iPhone X. Same is true of my 9 year-old iMac (replaced last year as my main workstation, but still going as an "everyday computer"), my soon-to-be-replaced 5-year old MacBook Pro... Problem-free, running strong, and worth every penny I paid for them. This is why the "premium" is so worth it. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is still lower than all the disposable crap in the PC world. So, is it really gouging because we have to pay a bit more up front? Not when it ends up performing better and costing less in the long run... And that's my big fat 2-cents worth on the topic.