Neither Apple's phones nor Google's Pixels are "cheap" phones. I've had both and am currently on a Pixel. I certainly prefer Android to iOS but a big problem with Android (and it is an OEM's issue because I know I've installed LineageOS on older phones) is the support is short especially for OS updates and patches. The average time can be two to three years.
One thing Apple does do right is provide OS support and even hardware support for a good 5 to 8 years. That can justify that higher cost for many people as to be honest I'm still seething over my Nexus 6P battery issues which left me with zero support in South Africa after Orange pulled out of the country.
If you're going to pay a lot of money for a phone you want to ensure you can sweat out its use a bit longer if needed. Batteries are especially a big risk and not everyone has a heat gun to melt the glue inside a phone to dissemble it (despite that my Nexus 6P never came right).
So bottom line is you want to think medium term as to how long you want to use a new device and be aware of that when choosing what you buy. As time goes on we have more choices of OS too but as I've discovered with banks going mobile app only, you may find if you don't have a stock iOS or Android you lose some of those options and you also need to compromise on your freedom or your banking
See iPhone 12 South African pricing revealed
iStore South Africa has revealed the local pricing for the new Apple iPhone 12 lineup.