Mini, 12, Pro, or Pro Max? How about broadening your horizons beyond the latest and the greatest from Cupertino instead?
2020 has been an unusual year, to say the least. However, things seem to be humming along smoothly at Apple. The Cupertino-based tech giant has largely stuck to its annual product refresh cycle and dropped the iPhone 12 earlier this week. The latest and the greatest from Apple comes in four models with three storage capacities each. They are the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Coincidentally, this makes for a total of 12 configurations. Prices have remained identical to last year except for the Mini, which is a new addition to the family. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean the 4-digit price tags are any easier to stomach. Can the money be put to better use instead?
Here are 12 ideas to help you think twice.
1 Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G 256GB: $1,698
Not everyone is an Apple fan, given that you have to buy into the brand’s hardware and software ecosystem to make the most out of your iPhone. And, of course, there’s the price. Perennial competitor Samsung has thrown down the gauntlet once again this year with its flagship Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G.
For $101 less than an iPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB, you get twice the storage, the same 5G capabilities and number of cameras, a slightly bigger display, and a stylus. The best part? The Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G is readily available, which can’t be said for iPhones during their initial launch period.
2 tickets on Singapore Airlines to Japan: $1,537.40
To say that people miss travelling is a grave understatement. Even experiences like cruises to nowhere and flights to nowhere have attracted hordes of cabin fever-sufferers.But leisure travel will likely resume once nations scale up safety protocols and vaccination programmes, so save your money and keep your eyes on the prize.
For $1.60 less than a standard iPhone 12 256GB, you can purchase round-trip tickets for two to Japan on Singapore Airlines in Economy Class, taxes included. Clear all that accumulated annual leave and enjoy a well-deserved holiday with your spouse or friends after the chaos that was 2020.
3 working years worth of MRT rides: $2,258.48
As the MRT expands its network by lengthening current lines and adding new ones, the case to abandon your personal vehicle strengthens. The increased reliability in recent years is a bonus, with only the occasional incident occurring.
And strengthening the case for you to abandon your iPhone purchase would be the fact that an iPhone 12 Pro Max 512GB costs you 3 working years worth of MRT rides. For real. There’s even enough change for a meal at your favourite casual dining joint.
4 years of kopi: $1,728
Speaking of work, there are days where you need a jolt of caffeine to get things done. But can there ever be enough time to brew a cuppa at home and leisurely enjoy it before heading to the office? Enter the humble coffeeshop’s kopi, a lifesaver for desk divers across the island.
For $71 less than an iPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB, you get to enjoy four years worth of kopi. That’s equivalent to 1,152 cups of hot coffee that will keep you fueled during the toughest days at work. The change can go towards more coffee during crunch time.
5 gold rings: $2,115
There’s a reason why this line from the classic Christmas carol is emphasised, and it’s not just for the singers to take a break before the next verse. Those five golden rings are the most valuable objects out of the 12 gifts listed, especially in today’s economic climate.
At exactly $34 less than an iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, you can purchase these five gold rings. Specifically, the aforementioned price is for five rings that are fashioned from 18.5g of 99.9% gold. With the remaining $34, it’ll net you a partridge (pear tree not included).
6 years of Netflix: $1,438.56
Netflix has been entertaining everyone silly ever since its launch. Today, it has more entertainment than you can shake a TV remote at – not to mention its secondary purpose as a backdrop for adventures of the amorous kind.
For $69.56 less than a standard iPhone 12 256GB, you get six years of Netflix’s Premium plan. It allows for viewing on four screens simultaneously, a maximum video resolution of 4K+HDR, and unlimited films and TV programmes.
7 days at the Royal Plaza on Scotts: $1,386
If there’s one consolation this year, it would be the adaptability of businesses. Staycations have been the getaway of choice due to attractive packages offered by hotels and international travel bans.
For $3 less than an iPhone 12 Mini 256GB, you get a 7-day staycation at the 5-star Royal Plaza on Scotts. Although the hotel isn’t approved for staycations yet, it’s offering vouchers at $197.80 each for a 1-night stay in a Deluxe Room with Premier Lounge access and more. These are valid for stays till 30 June 2021, so there’s no harm in purchasing them speculatively.
8 tickets to Universal Studios Singapore with Universal Express Unlimited: $1,088
After being closed since April, Universal Studios Singapore has welcomed guests back from 1 July onwards. Although the amusement park’s opening hours have been reduced, having one more entertainment option is better than none at all.
For $61 less than the price of an iPhone 12 Mini 64GB, you can snag eight tickets to Universal Studios Singapore with Universal Express Unlimited. You won’t have to worry about social distancing since you’re zipping to the front for almost any attraction. These eight tickets are perfect for an extended family outing once Phase 3 of Singapore’s reopening kicks off.
9 months of economy rice for lunch: $1,350
The economy rice stall is an evergreen fixture at almost every coffeeshop, food court, and hawker centre. It caters to the fickle-minded diner who can’t decide on a single dish and acts as a financial lifebuoy for many an employee hanging on for payday.
Should you decide to purchase a standard iPhone 12 128GB, you’re giving up nine months worth of economy rice at $5 a pop, with leftover change that can get you a nice cafe brunch. The irony is that you might just resort to having economy rice for a while after purchasing an iPhone.
10 different adult learner courses to upgrade yourself: $1,800
It’s been said that learning is a lifelong journey. Locally, there are a plethora of post-graduate certificates you can attain to upgrade your skills and improve your employability.
For an average of $19 less than an iPhone 12 Pro 256GB, you can take up a host of part-time diploma or post-diploma courses. These span a wide range of disciplines, be it business, engineering, design, or nutrition. An old dog can definitely pick up more than a few new tricks.
11 rounds of cocktails to celebrate: $1,479.55
After being hit by several restrictions in a row, cocktail bars in Singapore have been reopening at a steady clip. Chief among them is Jigger & Pony, which was awarded top spot in Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year. This old school cocktail bar in the Amara Hotel serves up classic mixed drinks with a twist.
For $59.45 less than a standard iPhone 12 256GB, it’s a full eleven rounds of cocktails for you and four buddies, GST and service charge included. There hasn’t been much to celebrate in 2020, but if you’ve found something worth commemorating, why not go all out? Make your own happy hour plans.
12 months investing: $1,200
With the continued advancement of technology and a multitude of online and offline resources, investing is less daunting than it was a decade or two ago. There are also more options than before to make your money work for you.
One way to invest would be through dollar cost averaging. Instead of an iPhone 12 Mini 128GB, deposit $100 every month into a robo-advisor, a regular savings plan, or an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). Watching your money grow can be as satisfying as cute cat videos on a 5.4-inch OLED screen.
With at least 12 things that you can use your money for instead of splurging on an iPhone 12, we hope that we have given you some food (and drinks) for thought.
As the famous Warren Buffett said, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get,” and not everyone has an identical valuation of the listings above. Here’s hoping this made you ponder a bit before rushing off to the pre-order page and selecting your favourite colour (gold is the best, by the way).
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By Ebel Tang
A geek culture enthusiast who’s also a little too invested in the wide world of whisky and watches. And no, he was not named after the Swiss timepiece brand.