Burnam’s Breakdown: Apple’s accountability

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Photo taken by Arrington Linder

“Apple’s biggest problem is taking consumers for granted at home and abroad,” - Panos Mourdoukoutas

Leah Burnam, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

June 29, 2007: The world changed forever.

After the first iPhone was released nearly 13 years ago, the age of digital technology became so enhanced, creating many new opportunities for app and software developers, that its effect helped boost the economy for a short period of time (contrary to what others may believe or have been told).

Today if asked, most people would say that technology has changed our world for the better and is continuing to show great improvements within communities. While all of that is great and partially true, is it really all for the better? In reality, the stock market for Apple specifically has been in quick decline ever since their prices have been rapidly increasing since 2007, according to Loup Ventures (frontier technology investing firm) founder, Gene Munster. Due to the nearly 20% plus price jump enforced by Apple on their latest phones, they have reduced their revenues from $93 billion to $84 billion in just last year. In addition, many consumers in areas including Brazil, Russia and India were quite upset about Apple raising their iPhone prices, as they are an emerging market and have only just been under development within their economies.

In January of last year, Apple reached a 52-week low in shares traded and in October, they fell an additional 40%. Yet, the consumer demand for iPhones has still been high. Why is that? Well, ever since Apple recently released their latest models, the iPhone 11 ($699), the iPhone 11 Pro ($999) and the iPhone 11 Max (prices starting at $1,099), they have reported an unexpected surge in demands. While unit sales have subsided, Nikkei Asian Review does not seem to think it will last, explaining that although the demand may be strong right now, it is not guaranteed to last. Whereas, J.P. Morgan appears to be optimistic in reporting that they expect Apple’s shares to rise by 21% due to its new line of iPhones and have since raised their price target to $265 a share (previously $243).

Here in lies the issue at hand: why do major tech companies continue to up their prices (majority Apple) when the average consumer cannot afford their products, only forcing stock prices to drop. In addition, just one of Apple’s latest phones (the iPhone 11 Pro Max) takes only about $490.50 to produce. That is half the market price and this is because Apple has undeniably been overpricing their products since I could remember. And most of their phones continue to be made in sweatshops in China, with Apple only paying their employees $3.15 an hour. If Apple is seemingly making so much money, why do they not pay their workers more? Where is the rest of the money going? Is it being pocketed? Now, I am not intending to harp on Apple because I myself, am an avid Apple buyer and have loved using their products. However, I have only been fortunate enough to use and buy their products because of my parents and without them, I would never be able to afford an iPhone of my own. Along with that, the greater majority of people do not have $1,000 to drop on a brand new, latest edition iPhone. There is an overall minority that Apple needs to work towards catering to if they are hoping to share some of the most common, household technology.

In conclusion, is Apple taking advantage of the everyday customer? Yes. Do they still produce good technology that is helping others? Yes. But their Chinese sweatshops are not the only problem. People used to want to spend money on Apple products, especially when they released their first ever touchscreen iPhone, pioneering the way for smartphones and other subsidized service/network providers. But as of today, when people think of Apple, the first thing that comes to mind is “Great technology…but at a big price tag.” “Great technology” is not something that needs to be harbored “unless you have the money.” It is something to be shared (at the right price) and help others advance their own dreams or aspirations, solve new crises and even stop world issues. Apple’s accountability within the tech industry is something that should not be taken lightly and they still have a long way to go in order to help create an affordable market for the average consumer.