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Google Laughs at the New iPhones

Stocks in this article: AAPL SSNLF GOOG MSI DELL BBY NOK

In another move of capitulation -- not just copying Nokia's design and the age-old fingerprint sensor of Windows laptops and Android smartphones -- Apple went ahead and copied Google's free productivity suite: Word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. This has been free from Google for years: Google Docs and Google Drive. Now it's free from Apple too. But is it nearly as good as Google's?

Back to the plastic iPhone 5C for a moment: Isn't the point about this kind of plastic that it's supposed to be relatively scratch-resistant, compared to the regular iPhone 5? No sooner did Apple show the 5C, before it also introduced cases for it.

Gee ... and is that then a sign of confidence? Not.

For those of you who have recent Samsung (SSNLF) smartphones, whether the 2011 Galaxy Nexus or the newer Galaxy S3 and S4 models, you know that they are resistant to scratches and don't require special cases. Have you seen anyone using a Samsung with a case around it? Me neither.

Apple has many dilemmas. The biggest among them is that it's facing Android and Chrome competition from so many hardware players who move very quickly and with great diversity. You can get pretty much any kind of Android smartphone you want, in any size, with or without keyboard, stylus, this-or-that kind of camera, and so forth.

The other problem is price. Apple's products are priced well above Google's.

For example, the cheapest Apple laptop is $999. For that price, you can get one Google laptop, one Google smartphone and one Google tablet, yet still have $322 left! Here is how it all breaks down:

LG Nexus 4: $249 + Asus Nexus 7: $229 + Acer Chromebook: 199 = $677

So Apple is many times more expensive, just for the hardware. On top of that, Apple encourages you to buy an extended service plan, so that you can feel more comfortable on your weekly trek to the Apple store. This service plan can cost anywhere from $99 to $349 for each of your Apple devices.

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