Commentary: Why the price of an iPhone hasn’t gone up amid soaring inflation

And though smartphones are showing the biggest drop in the index, tech gear more broadly – from computers to smartwatches – also tend to fall over time. In the previous 12 months, televisions are down 19 per cent and what the government calls information technology commodities are down 8.8 per cent.

Part of the reason for their steady decline is found buried in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website. The consumer price index tries to measure a constant quality of goods and services in the economy. This means it seeks to track the price changes of the exact same set of goods and services each month. It’s comparing the price today with the price of the exact same thing a month or year ago.

For most goods, it’s not really an issue because their quality doesn’t change much over relatively small periods of time. For example, an apple you bite into today is pretty much the same as an apple you ate a year ago.

Smartphones and other technology-heavy gadgets are different. Because smartphones are constantly improving in quality – with the latest updates of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy awaited breathlessly every year – it is more difficult to ensure you’re comparing prices of products of the exact same quality.

For rapidly improving items, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics uses what are called “hedonic regression models” to estimate these changes in quality over time. Hedonic models measure the same amount of satisfaction. While this sounds complicated, the goal is simple: To figure out how much each new smartphone feature changes the price.

As a consumer, you are essentially doing this whenever you decide whether it is worth paying the extra money for that marginally better camera or extended battery life when buying a new phone.

And so, the 20.4 per cent drop doesn’t mean you’re going to pay less for a new smartphone. But it does suggest you’re getting 20 per cent more bang for your buck versus the same phone a year earlier. Whether it’s worth it is another question.