The iPhone operating system, initially known as iPhone OS and as iOS since 2010, is one more element that makes up these Apple devices. It is an add-on, a priori free, and that is essential for the use of the smartphone if you do not want to have a paperweight. Apple does not give in any case the option of choosing another system or delivering it “empty”, but is it really free? How much does it really cost?
Its price is added to the complete “pack” of the iPhone
When we go to buy an iPhone, whether in an Apple Store or another store, there is no employee or document that specifies exactly what you are paying for the device. That is, you know the final price, but not the breakdown (X euros for the screen, X euros for the battery, X euros for the chassis, etc.). Logically, the company itself knows this data internally, but it has never been made public.
The iOS operating system is one more addition in that homogeneous pack that forms an iPhone. Obviously it has a cost, but it is practically impossible to know what it is exactly. And it is that possibly not even Apple itself knows it, since they will only have an estimate. Keep in mind that iOS is not only an intangible element, but it also has various indirect costs.
Salaries of workers who work in R&D, amortization cost of tools and equipment used… Even the price of electricity in the rooms in which they work should be added proportionally. Without forgetting the profit margin that the company always ensures. Therefore, as we already warned, it is practically unpredictable.
Another aspect that in the end is understood to be paid with the iPhone are the years of updates . Apple is the company that gives its devices the longest useful life in this sense, having phones like the iPhone 6s that will continue to be updated in the middle of 2022 (7 years after its launch). So, although its exact cost is also unpredictable, it would be one more element to add to the sum when obtaining the final price, taking payment for granted and without requiring the user to make a disbursement with each new version.
Updating iOS cost money in its day
As we have said, it technically does not cost any money to update the iPhone operating system. However, this has not always been the case or at least not on all devices. The iPod touch also mount iOS as the operating system and although now it is also free to update them, it was not until iOS 4 that this happened.
Those who owned an iPod touch between 2007 and 2010 will remember having to pay a cost of $ 10 if they wanted to be able to have the latest news for their operating system. It was done by connecting the device to a computer via iTunes, but only after making the micropayment. In this way, those who did not want to go through the box were left without being able to enjoy iPhone OS 2 and iPhone OS 3, which were the ones that incorporated this cost.