Apple pulls a Samsung! US iPhone 14 not same as UK, EU iPhone 14: Huge value and feature differences

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Apple pulls a Samsung! US iPhone 14 not same as UK, EU iPhone 14: Huge value and feature differences
If you’re like me, you’d be rightfully puzzled when a phone-maker happens to be selling different phones under the exact same name, as if they are exactly the same phone… Ideally, of course, there shouldn’t be any differences between a Galaxy 22 or iPhone 14 you’ll buy in North America and the same phone that’s sold in Europe, the UK or elsewhere.

However, even though some flagship phones have the same names, design, and packaging, that doesn’t tell the whole story. “One phone for everyone” is far from what you get these days and the two companies that you can point a finger at happen to be the two biggest and most influential ones - Samsung and (now) Apple!

Speaking of Samsung, I’ve written several stories expressing my disapproval of the company’s bizarre decision to give Galaxy flagships in North America and South Korea Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, while leaving the rest of the world with what turn out to be generally inferior Exynos-powered Samsung flagship phones.

Most recently, in a series of interesting twists and turns, North America and Samsung’s homeland were joined by India, South Africa, and the UAE, and now these regions offer Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S22 models. However, buyers in the UK and Europe (one right here!) still need to settle for the Exynos 2200 chip inside what are supposed to be the same Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra flagships. Reportedly, Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S23 series will stick to a similar strategy.

And now, to my surprise, Apple is pulling a Samsung on us! No, there aren’t different chips powering the iPhone 14, but there are now enough differences between iPhones sold in North America and those sold in the rest of the world to raise a fair question… Is Apple now following in Samsung’s footsteps?

Cheaper US iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models have more features than more expensive iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro sold in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world?

To jump straight to the point, here is how iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models sold in North America differ from those sold in the rest of the world.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models sold in the US have features such as:

  • Satellite connectivity for sending emergency messages via a satellite connection when you don’t have 4G/5G coverage - a potentially life-saving feature
  • Virtual ID and virtual driver’s licence (available in certain US states such as Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio and the territory of Puerto Rico and expanding)
  • Apple Maps three-dimensional city view, available in select US and Canada (gradually expanding)

Sorry, US buyers! iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models sold in the EU and UK offer features that can’t be found on US iPhone 14 models

Speaking of differences in iPhones sold around the world, you might know that US iPhone 14s now don’t have a SIM card tray. This means that US buyers will have to be ready to switch to using an electronic SIM (eSIM) through their carrier.

However, this is not the case for people based outside the US, who finally have something to brag about. So, yes - as it turns out Apple’s regional division doesn’t work out too well for US buyers too, who serve as the pilot study for Apple’s early adoption-type of features/or their lack of.

iPhone 14 features available around the world not available to US iPhone 14 buyers:

  • iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro sold outside the US have a SIM card tray, and support for eSIM, which means international buyers now have much more flexibility when it comes to using foreign SIM cards when travelling the world (eSIM isn’t supported all over the world)
  • In some countries where it’s demanded by law, iPhone 14 will be shipping with a charger in the box - Brazil recently fined Apple $2.34 million for selling iPhones without a charger

Unfair? iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro priced significantly higher in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world, compared to the US

Now, this argument might seem a little bit different from the general “the same phone with different features” tone of the story, but it’s arguably more important than all of the above-mentioned things. That’s because the price of a product, including the iPhone, plays a big role in the perceived value for customers. You want to get more/the best for your money. Or ideally, the same as everyone else.

Given the ongoing global chip shortage, financial crisis and inflation, wars, tradewars, and all other things considered, it’s not that surprising that products cost more than they used to. You see it everyday - from phones and laptops to coffee and lunch.

However, what stands out to me is that iPhones sold in some parts of the world are now much cheaper than iPhones sold elsewhere. In certain cases it makes no sense and almost feels like Apple is making the rest of the world pay up so the price of the iPhone in North America and China could stay unchanged…

  • In the UK, iPhone 14 prices have jumped by an average 15%, as the cheapest iPhone 14 now costs £850. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max cost a whopping £1,100 and £1,200 (up from £950 and £1,050)

  • In some European countries like Poland, iPhone prices are through the roof - the iPhone 14 is now 24% more expensive than last years’ iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 Pro costs 25% more, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max has seen a 26% price bump. Poland isn’t anywhere near as economically developed as other countries in central and western Europe

  • In Germany, the price increase is similar to that in the UK, as I’d have to pay €200 extra for a Pro Max iPhone compared to 2021, while people in France and Italy must shell out nearly €1,500 for the same phone that costs “only” $1,100 in the US - as much as it did last year (which is also the case in Canada, China and Australia)

Now, sure, I’m not a financial expert, and I certainly take into account the fact that taxes aren’t included in the price of iPhones sold in the US. However, the average sales tax in the United States comes up at about 7.5%, which doesn’t make iPhones that much more expensive - certainly not as much as a 26% price increase does. And that’s for states where taxes are a thing…

Hey, Samsung and Apple, we want one phone for everyone! Also... Make it cheaper if you can?

Anyway, the idea behind this story is to show that Samsung isn’t the only company that gives its flagship phones different features according to location (your phone’s chip affects all areas of its performance and therefore features).

Sure, Apple is the “lesser evil” in this story, and we can talk all day about how Cupertino treats different customers, and even phones. For example, the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are now significantly easier to repair, while the more expensive Pro models aren’t. We can also talk about Apple’s divisive pricing strategy for the iPhone 14 series, but we aren’t going to change anything, are we…

I guess my call is for one phone for everyone, Samsung and Apple! It’s probably silly of me to ask for cheaper iPhones around the world, but I can surely ask for them to be the same, right? Sure, some features like satellite connectivity might be a matter of local regulations and a hassle Apple might not be ready to deal with right now, but in that case, is it fair to focus so much of the iPhone 14’s marketing on a feature that’s only available to 4.25% of the world’s population?

There’s no way adventurists around the world won’t be shocked to find out their iPhone 14 doesn’t support sat connectivity after having bought it, and after having bought into the marketing hype around this futuristic feature that’s… not available in their region.

Anyway! I guess Google wins this one?! The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro used to be equally as buggy in every part of the world. OK, at least in the 13 countries where they are sold. I’m kidding, I love my Pixel 6 Pro.

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