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An Apple Ecosystem For Under $800

The Walled Garden is not only for the rich

Bob Pepe
3 min readMar 14


Like many people, I am beyond frustrated by the price of Apple products these days. I know inflation is hitting every sector of the economy and Apple is not immune. Having said that, Apple is infamous for making you think that you need to get the latest and the greatest of whatever they are selling to remain relevant and productive. I want to show you that is not true.

First, What is an Ecosystem ? My definition of an ecosystem is three or more devices from the same company that work well and compliment each other to make each piece of the ecosystem more valuable than it is by itself. The sum has to be greater than the parts.

The first piece of the Ecosystem is the iPhone. The central piece in any ecosystem. I am going to go back to Amazon and Ebay to find me a iPhone XR from 2018. The XR has the right combination or power, smarts, battery life and style to handle most peoples needs. I found a 128GB version in Yellow from EBay refurbished for $230. I could have gotten the 64Gb for a little less, but decided on the 128Gb. I remember having this phone back when it came out. It was a workhorse. It had a good, but not great screen, great battery life and still runs all the latest software from Apple and should be getting the next few updates as well. Giving you about as much support as some brand new Android phones that you could buy today.

The next piece of the puzzle is the iPhone’s favorite sidekick. The indispensable and incredibly useful Apple Watch. For this piece, I am going to go new and get the Apple Watch SE2. I was afraid of going used with this product as the battery life is marginal on a new watch and the future proofing was worth the additional cost. Starting at $249 it is a no-brainer. The SE has about 90% of the features of its bigger brother the Series 8 for about half the price. You get an SE today, you will have a great Apple Watch on your wrist for the next three years or longer. For most of us, the SE is the perfect Apple Watch when you combine features with price.

Next, iPad. The iPad is tricky for me. You can get refurbished iPads on EBay and Amazon Renewed. You can save some money, but when it comes to the average user, the iPad is a consumption device and if that is what you mainly do with it, the 9th Generation iPad will do the trick for $329 Brand new from the Apple Store. It is hardly the perfect iPad, but like the Apple Watch SE , when you combine its features and benefits to its cost, it is an easy choice.

When you combine these three products, you are officially in the club and a full fledged member of the Wall Garden of the Apple Ecosystem for little more than a half the cost of an iPhone 14 Pro Max alone. If you get these products and enjoy them, you can then upgrade and add on to your Ecosystem as needed. Maybe you can get a laptop or Apple TV or AirPods. There are so many products that Apple sells that make your life better.

Don’t let the marketing make you think that living the Apple Sheep life is only for the rich.



Bob Pepe

Just a guy with some thoughts. I love tech, my family, sports, and trying to find my place in this crazy world