One can always count on Apple to take a unique path in product innovation and now it's flying in the opposite direction of competitors when it comes to smartphone pricing.
As wireless carriers battle for the heart of consumers by dropping rates, handset costs and even eliminating overage charges, as announced today by T-Mobile, Apple's allegedly mulling increasing the price of the impending iPhone 6 by about $100, according to published reports and an analyst's market report.
According to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, Apple has broached the idea with wireless carriers and the initial response has not been positive. That's not surprising, given it's becoming a Wild West among the carriers in the quest to grow customer base.
And who would actually pay for the increase, carrier or consumers or both, is likely at the heart of discussion and unclear. Carriers typically subsidize smartphone costs, but that's been ebbing as carriers are looking to make money, not spend money. What is clear, according to the analyst, is that the price boost would help Apple's bottom line.
"Our checks indicate Apple has started negotiating with carriers on a $100 iPhone 6 price increase," wrote Misek. "The initial response has been no, but there seems to be an admission (by wireless firms) that there is no other game-changing device this year. We think Apple might be able to get at least some of the increase, with the additional costs split between the carrier and consumer.
But then again no one has yet to poll consumers, whether current iPhone users or potential users. Apple apparently believes that since there's supposedly no stunning competitive device on the horizon, it could spike the price with the blessing of carriers and market watchers. But a ChangeWave poll does indicate high consumer interest in the iPhone 6. As TechTimes reported, 40 percent of consumers polled intend to buy or are definitely interested in getting the new handset.
The thing is, September (the reputed launch time of the iPhone 6) is five months away and some market reports indicate today's smartphone users are already steadily turning toward lower-cost devices. If that trend continues, while carriers continue to duke it out on cheaper plans, better services and eliminating overage strategies (which were a clear revenue maker), spiking the iPhone 6 by a $100 bucks may be a tough sell even if the handset boasts the iPhone's biggest screen yet. Those polled in the ChangeWave survey said a larger display is the prime reason they're itching to buy the phone.
Rumors hint that Apple will release two models of the iPhone 6: a 4.7-inch version due in September, and a 5.5-inch model that is due at a later date. Ironically, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will actually be considered to be on the small side in comparison with the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5, the 5-inch HTC One M8, and the upcoming LG G3, which is rumored to sport a 5.3-inch display. Still, a 4.7-inch display will be a huge leap for Apple from the 4-inch iPhone 5S and an even bigger jump from the 3.5-inch display the company stuck with on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S.