Price history of Apple's iPhones: how did we get to 1,600?

04 November 2018
Early on, Apple hid the true cost behind carrier subsidies. Even now that that's over, it's not shy about raising the prices.

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  • kiloh3rtz

I dont see why ppl fight and argue over this...It is acutly quite simple Apple wants profit to keep there share holders happy....If they can sell 2 phones for the price of 10 why not do it...I know it sucks for us end users but for them its a wonder....I mean if we are willing to spend 3k for a phone insted of 1k for them is a profit that suits them...Just saying here for me as an iPhone user(iPhone 7 plus) the price of X-XS is really really not convinient and prob for many others and honestly, if samsung is kinda of doing the same(problem is in android market phones keep poping up 1one6 one plus 6t,p20 pro mate 20 pro list goes on) and for that reason s9 1k starting price meant 999, was high but now they have to drop those prices cuz of the competition since apple has not(no1 has iOS except them) they can keep it the hole year and in real life yes samsung hardweare and iOS would make a beast but when will apple sell there os to make that pair...prob never and again this prices gets higher and higher and this is how the likes of one plus and even huawei will become best sellers(tho atm mate 20 pro is around 1k also)....In short if ppl keep paying higher prices those who produce the phones will keep riseing the prices(Lets take an ex iPhone Xs ,if apple would have sold 2mil units insted of 20mil trust me next year apple would have not risk it to make 1,2k phones that would have sold it for 899 just to get ppl back same goes for all)

Realistic1, 05 Dec 2018Apple might have something completley new up their sleeve honest... moreI really hope Apple is doing something unique because with what I saw with Galaxy S10 renders, 2019 will be a disaster in terms of look, and I mean it. Samsung appears to have dropped the idea of regular bar-shaped flagships as S10 is as ugly as Note9 on the back and like a Quasimodo on the front. Look just to save themselves from copying their main rival Apple, Samsung decided to shift the camera sensors area below the actual bezel and separate it. This move has two main drawbacks: For starters there is a small area on the screen on top of this area where the sensors are placed that becomes useless, and secondly on top of this, is the entire "camera island" (I came up with it) that is a big no-screen area inside the actual screen. WTF they were thinking!! I understand the concept (to make the screen look as symmetrical as possible but with camera island being just a small hole). Saying so, A8s looks way better than S10 models.
Well, since Samsung is making ugly bar flagships, saving all it's arsenal for the foldable $2k guy and Apple is doing all their can to make their flagships as pricey as possible I already know what will happen. In 2019 Samsung will release it's first batch of foldable flagships complemented by S series, doing the same even in 2020. While in 2021 Samsung will opt for a different solution: They might release only 3 series of Galaxy's: A series being the entry to medium range, S series being the upper midrangers (with the latest CPU as always), and the X or F series being the true flagships (the foldable guys). Apple strategy is different. They wait for the technologies to be cheaper to incorporate them, which means Apple never drops the price; it is always going up. While Samsung will release the Galaxy X this year for around 2k, then next year for 1.5 or 1.7k, and then in 2021 when this thing become the norm for around 1-1.2k which is kind of a nonsense: paying less for a better tech. Our hopes with Apple products pricing were vanished this year. Remember the rumours in July if I remember it correctly where Kuo said that Xr will be available for around $600, which meant less costly than iPhone 8 before it, while the actual price was $50 more than 8. Same with Xs which was rumoured to be around $900 while right now Apple asks for 100 more for a brand new Xs 64GB model.
Chinese OEM's opt for different solutions. They copy Samsung in this direction. I'll give you an example for this: Xiaomi Mi 6 right now is more pricey than Mi 8 because it is made with 316L Stainless Steel while the latter with 7000 series Aluminum even though is faster than the former. So their prices are quite flexible and I predict they will drop faster than any other maker on the world, with that I include Xiaomi, and Oppo sisters except OnePlus which releases flagships devices and one-at-a-time only (they will jump to flexible smartphones around OnePlus 8T or 9) and Huawei which acts more like Samsung.
Other asian makers like LG, Sony and HTC (Nokia right now is not that stable and is semi-asian so it doesn't count) will all go Samsung way, that's why I excluded them from the discussion.
The future is interesting for sure, and my prediction is yet to be proved so I still hope.

Chris Apple, 27 Nov 2018Well, Samsung has always wanted to be like Apple: being able to ... moreApple might have something completley new up their sleeve honestly, it would not be this much fun if we just knew everything, and other manufacturers would simply copy them yet again.
Apple is likley working on something new, but it remains to be unknown when will they manage to patent it and release first devices.
Samsung and Huawei are already doing their part with foldable phones.
Now it remains to be seen how long will it take for folders to drop the price of regular phones?
And how will Chinese OEM's respond?
Will Apple be forced to drop their prices aswell?
All in all, we are in for interesting future.

Realistic1, 27 Nov 2018It is quite possible that Apple is making something big behind t... moreWell, Samsung has always wanted to be like Apple: being able to control it's own hardware and software and tightly integrate them for a buttery performance, which they tried with tizen but resulted a huge disaster. So if they can't have their own OS, they force their costumers to use their own apps to feel like an in-house OS rather than a custom UI. Imagine having two stores for apps, two message apps, two mails, two everything... it's a mess (it there is a reason why I stopped using Samsung devices long ago is exactly for that reason, because personally I prefer things simple yet complex, like having 5 apps that are able to do what 20 others do. I know, 5G is already implemented in some cities, and will be accessible to more in 2019, but I predict it will be spread globally around 2020. About holograms, I don't know if I got it right but you're talking about a similar tech like RED phone right? If so it is not too fancy, I mean I've seen these phones and when youtubers say that it causes headache if you focus on it for too long, you better believe them, its a true pain for eyes. But let's hope Apple finds a better implementation like their always do so we can truly enjoy quasi-holographic screens, because they're not really 3D. True 3D holographic monitors are all about popping images out of screen like a real object which is (even though nearly impossible with today tech) they can at least make their phones transparent and complemented with these quasi-holographic screens can reproduce nearly 3D images. But it is too fancy for Apple to act this way. Apple is like a rough dad that says no for everything to it's child in this case the child is us.

Chris Apple, 25 Nov 2018Well, Note9 is targeted for laptop users on-the-go so a laptop d... moreIt is quite possible that Apple is making something big behind the curtains. Face ID is actually useful when compared to iris scanner as example. Samsung is the king of hardware, but their software is far from best, not to mention that they ruin some parts on their own (Bixby) and also they sometimes do make gimmicks.
Note9 compared to a laptop - isn't that bad, but still laptop has the advantage.
2019 will probably be year of 5G and folding smartphones, but 2020 as you said, will probably be the year when real stuff comes in. Also there are already articles of Apple infestigating touch sensitive holographic displays. Which would be awesome and would actually be the next big thing.
If they launch that within next years - they will shake the market the same way they did when they released first iPhone.
Making holograms, while your competition spends funds on patenting foldable smartphone which is in essence a normal smartphone in different form factor - is definitley a good idea.
It might even be cheaper to produce, and more reliable (tech doesn't like to be bent).
I just hope that Apple does take a step in that direction.

Realistic1, 25 Nov 2018I agree on that, my ideal smartphone is also different than any ... moreWell, Note9 is targeted for laptop users on-the-go so a laptop does what Note9 does but in a slightly different way (via direct touch with a finger or stylus). Yes, it's true, Samsung is, hands down, the best hardware maker today and compared to Apple they are in a slight advantage because they produce most of the components in-house while Apple has to buy them from other makers, transport 'em straight to the assembling facilities (it is somewhere in China) and afterwards transport the completed product again to the retail stores around the globe (this explain the high price). Apple cares more for minor aspects though such as software-hardware tight integration which makes for a smooth experience compared to TouchWiz mess.
As a tech enthusiast I want the greatest of tech and quick advancements too, but smartphone industry today is driven by money; consumers money such as you and me, but unlike us most of the globe wants simplicity not complicated stuff. But things can't advance if they don't become complicated (while simplicity is the lowest level of advancement). Also advancement means more money to be spent on research and development or R&D as most call it which is bad news for consumers. While phone makers are doing certainly neither of these they keep raising prices without introducing any new breakthrough tech. But there are examples: as you already know Apple in September of last year introduced the famous iPhone X. While many complained about the notch and the high price, very little praised it for the introduction of the first chin-less screen in the history (by bending the already tall 21:9 screen into what is represented as 19.5:9 screen; saying it simply: Apple ordered an even taller screen than what they have represented on their phones because 1.5:9 part is hidden under the screen itself). This year they did it again with XR but this time it was an LCD (a lot more harder than OLED) and not by bending it but by masking pixels (actually making side pixels dimmer than the rest). Face ID is also an innovative tech. While the most innovative of all would have been masking all of the components under the screen such as camera sensors, proximity/light sensors, earpiece, etc but no they want to go cheap and end up with a hole in the screen which is not half bad but not what people want. My ideal smartphone would end up cost about 2000-3000 dollars if they manage to produce it today: MicroLED 120hz screen 5.8" 19.5:9 with components under the screen, an ultra fast CPU with about a week of battery life, enough RAM and storage to go for about 3-4 years (because is pointless in my opinion to buy a mobile device every year or two), DSLR capable camera on the back (2, 3, 4 it doesn't matter as long as image quality day and night, telephoto and ultrawide snaps are provided and well executed). Bio-metric authentication on the front (I prefer Face ID-like authentication but to work with partial scanning [like capturing your jaw, analyzing it and knowing that it's you] instead of the need to capture your entire face). And finally a decent front snapper, maybe not as good as on the back but to do it's job even on the move (without blurring artifacts) or at night.
I'm skeptical about 2019 because it's a year before global launch of 5G which may make phone makers go in a conservative way with their phones saving their cherries for 2020' cupcake, and yes, as you say about 2007, I believe it will be Apple which will lead again.

Chris Apple, 24 Nov 2018Note9 is not bad, I have to tell you, it will be better next yea... moreI agree on that, my ideal smartphone is also different than any of these configurations. But here we are now.
I will not complain on Note9, but current rumors again say it is more linkey we will get laptops. So I guess we will have to wait to see what happens. Samsung is pretty much making Apple level quality hardware, only software is where Apple has the advantage. Since well, Samsung also makes screens and some other parts for iPhones too.
Anyways 2019 will definitley be an interesting year when it comes to smartphones.
And who knows, maybe we are on the edge to new breaktrough? The same way how first iPhone changed the world?

Realistic1, 23 Nov 2018Yeah, new batteries and also new screen technology are on their ... moreNote9 is not bad, I have to tell you, it will be better next year when Samsung introduce Galaxy S10 series with a new lighter OS than actual TouchWiz UI (with help by Google itself). So, you may suffer for about 3 months :D if you don't like actual TouchWiz UI.

Well, for starters, based on actual trends and rumours I can confirm that most Android devices next year will include cutout be it a notch or a dot (I'm talking solely about regular smartphones, not foldables; after Samsung I expect screen dotted cameras to grow similar to this year notches) and an SD8150 CPU.
2019 phones will all have same specs: 19.5:9 ratio screen, 2 or 3 main cameras, 2 or 3 front ones as well, same battery tech Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer, etc etc. Generally I expect little upgrades next year save for software as main Android maker Samsung is expected to offer something somewhat similar to Oxygen OS although slightly heavier. These expectations are solely indicated by actual rumours, but nevertheless things may change.
Also, last but not least, Apple iPhones will be similar to this year save for a different boxy exterior that we have discussed earlier, an upgraded camera module (inclusion of glass lenses in an 3G2P configuration instead of actual 6P (G for glass and P for plastic), upgraded antennae, iOS 13, A13 Chip, etc. Once again based on actual rumours, while my ideal smartphone configuration is different than all these phones.

Chris Apple, 22 Nov 2018That's cool! A new iPhone would have been the best Christmas pre... moreYeah, new batteries and also new screen technology are on their way.
And as far as Apple goes - I expect major changes next year, or Apple might be in trouble.
The new iPhone would be perfect Christmas present, but I will not complain if I get Note 9 either.
And I get it that iPhones wouldn't be as fast as they are if they were more about saving a battery, so it's not a dealbreaker to me. I just know I like them for being fast and reliable.
What are your expectations for 2019?

Realistic1, 22 Nov 2018I agree with you. I think that I will also wait for 2019 to buy ... moreThat's cool! A new iPhone would have been the best Christmas present. But yeah, I feel same too. I wouldn't ever buy these overpriced iPhones by myself but I wouldn't say no to a present like that; note9 is not that bad too (still underperformed by new iPhones), not this year iPhones anyway as I'm more of a new iteration iPhone guy, not an S-year addict :D.
Well I don't know what do you do in that company that you're employed and I don't know how much intel do you have about this new battery tech but I've been talking for too long as of now about how old battery tech is. New efficient less spacey batteries are so mandatory for today smartphones as they are becoming thicker and thicker since 2014 because the battery capacity is growing YoY while tech behind these batteries is the same.
Well iPhones were never good in battery life because Apple use large CPU cores which are at the same time faster than ARM cores but also more power hungry. In addition to this Apple added tap to wake in new X series which drain more battery as is required that small cores must be active all the time for this to work which drain extra amount of energy. I just hope they introduce new battery cells which hold more capacity and have a smaller volume than Li-Ion or Li-Po cells.

Chris Apple, 21 Nov 2018Yes, is true. Google Pixel phones never had good hardware, not e... moreI agree with you. I think that I will also wait for 2019 to buy my next iPhone.
I think that my SE has what it takes to live another year. Plus, I plan to use that cheaper battery replacement which we can use to the end of this year.
In all honesty I agree with you that current iPhones are absurdly expensive. Even XR which barley does anything to justify still high pricetag.
Also, company where I work might give us some presents for Christmas. I already know that it definitley won't be the iPhone (Note9 is rumored) or Laptop, possibly a TV.
Also, new breaktrough in battery technology could make it indifferent to which smartphone you use, so Apple would greatly benefit from such technology (iPhones are not known for best batteries currently).

Realistic1, 21 Nov 2018Apple is overall best bet. But is also most expensive. Google P... moreYes, is true. Google Pixel phones never had good hardware, not even iteration 3. To compare it to Apple, Android Software Package which is made by Google doesn't get major upgrade support on top of these 3 years which is to shame. Well, Xr situation is complicated. To me it's an oversized SE 2, matching the PPI, same lack of 3D touch, but with an additional 120hz touch sensing filter which is present exclusively on the X series (it makes the screen response faster and better). It is sold as a cheaper alternative of Xs series although is larger than the regular Xs. SE 2 wouldn't harm Xr sales by any means, It will only slow down sales of the premium line (which is the Xs Series), which to me is the main reason why Apple decided to make a larger "cheap" alternative rather than go for a smaller footprint as they want to sell more of the premium line which is absurdly priced too high, rather than make a phone reminiscent of SE for half the price of the Xs which will be sold as cupcakes (bill of materials to build an SE or moreover an all-screen SE 2 with identical body wouldn't cost too much). I'm eying 2019 iPhones as my future phones too because of the design choice that Apple will make (they will return the boxy design after 6 damn years), fast 7nm gen 2 Apple A13 processor and possible 3 cameras on the back and Face ID gen 2 too!

Chris Apple, 20 Nov 2018Well if you take in consideration all these factors and a few ot... moreApple is overall best bet. But is also most expensive.
Google Pixel phones - display issues, only 1 camera and not that great hardware. On top of all this, they offer just 3 years of support, and their devices are almoust as expensive as iPhones, yet they fail to give you back the value that you pay for.
I really do hope that iPhone SE gets version number 2. And it would be a good move for Apple, though we all know they will probably ditch the idea. They have iPhone XR which is... underwhemling for the price. Only flagship feature it has is OS and A12. So SE2 would mean end of XR.
So buying an iPhone 8 or 8 plus is better option than XR in my opinion. Better display, 3D touch...
Samsung did some improvements on S9. But Bixby is still there, display is still curved, and iris scanner is as useless as ever.
At the end of everything you get what you pay for, so Apple will probably be my choice next year.

Realistic1, 20 Nov 2018My hands are also medium sized, I could use my S8 with single ha... moreWell if you take in consideration all these factors and a few others, the Galaxy S8 is one of the worst designed phones ever: worst grip, useless extra button, not-convenient-even-a-bit Iris scanner, worst fingerprint scanner placement, and the famous software mashup that Samsung is renowned for (8GB RAM Note 9 cannot keep all of it's apps open while 4GB Xs Max ironically can). A no-benefit money loss! Huawei is in the same situation: same software mashup and an unique thing about Huawei phones is that they have consistently the worst structural integrity on the market, because of bad interior architecture. Remember Nexus 6P which flexed like a piece of paper, it was for that reason! Same goes for P20. While Apple spends colossal amount of money for R&D to avoid this kind of shame, but still they are starting to ask too much for a phone nowadays. But I still praise iPhones and Apple products in general for their consistency (Except iPhone 6 series :D). Yes, that decline means Apple have to do something to reverse the trend, which in case means a return to old times with iPhone SE 2.

Chris Apple, 20 Nov 2018This is sadly true! Apple today likes huge screens and styluses,... moreMy hands are also medium sized, I could use my S8 with single hand easily if I didn't had case on it. But that phone was poorly executed.
You had to go out of your way to protect that curved screen.
Bixby button was awkwardly placed and you would keep hitting it accidentally all the time, and Bixby itself was useless.
Iris scanner was no use, and fingerprint scanner placement was mess...
I also had bad luck to have unit with camera blur (sometimes stucks and won't focus until you shake it). S8 had issues with that. Lots of units.
Then apps crashing and bloatware that cannot be removed (problem on every Android).
But S8 took lots of beating before it broke.
Huawei P20 Pro was pretty much just as dissapointing, photos looked artificial and it shattered from single drop despite having a case on it, which makes me doubt their build quality.
On Apple I so far experienced 0 issues and it's been refreshing after previous experience. I know that with Apple - everything is about user experience. But unfortunatley Apple does not seem to go back once they decide something. So I sadly doubt they will launch another compact flagship or just device in general. At another hand, Apple sales have been declining, so you never know what might happen.

Realistic1, 20 Nov 2018Exactly, if Apple plays this right, it could make a fortune with... moreThis is sadly true! Apple today likes huge screens and styluses, as opposed to 10 years ago when it was leaded by Steve. Well, if you think deeply there is nothing wrong with this as there are many people with large hands (mines are medium sized, and I'm comfy with either large or small screens). But there must be alternatives for small hands group. But none of the makers is doing anything to satisfy this group (which are nearly 30-40% globally).
I'll do a short analysis as I think things are and must be not only for Apple, but knowing the influence Apple have on the market, this is also for other OEM's too.
As things works with screen sizes, it also work with styluses. A stylus is not a mandatory side device, as it targets professionals (since Apple says new iPad Pro's are faster than 92% of laptops, this means it is build as a laptop replacement; which many professionals use and stylus helps in this case). What Steve probably wanted is that there must exist small phone form-factor (no matter the screen size, as long as the device is easy to use with one hand) and stylus mustn't be mandatory (as it is meant for large screens; at the time Steve said that quote about styluses average diagonal size in smartphone industry was about 3.0-3.2 inches, even smaller than original iPhone diagonal). Actually Apple has checked only the latter, while the former was obliterated for good this september both with the launch of new X series and the discontinuation of iPhone SE. I still hope will Apple reverse this trend (as they lead the market) just like they did when they introduced the famous iPhone X.

Chris Apple, 19 Nov 2018I totally agree! It's a shame that any phone maker dropped compa... moreExactly, if Apple plays this right, it could make a fortune with compact flagship device, considering there's lots of people wanting one, and yet basically no competition (nobody seems to bother with compact flagships anymore). Also, weird but iPhone SE was rated as best phone (by user satisfaction) when it came out. They should learn something from it. And yes, Steve Jobs believed phones should match ergonomics of your hand. Also, the iPhone 5 was designed while Steve Jobs was still alive. And 3.5 inch was the size Steve Jobs described as perfect for consumers. Same about tablets being smaller (7inch) which is size of some chinese phones today. And also, Steve jobs was greatly opposed to Stylus, he even said “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it,”. So yeah, Steve Jobs would probably be dissapointed with Apple today.

Realistic1, 19 Nov 2018At least iPhone XS is at least somewhat small, but still compare... moreI totally agree! It's a shame that any phone maker dropped compact flagships, including Apple! While iPhone XS is never meant to me small as their motto is: "Welcome to the Big Screens!". Comparing iPhone SE with an XS, XR or XS Max you'll find that the latter phones look more like tablets compared to the former. Hahaha yeah they certainly do like watching shattered screens or backs of their customer smartphones as this means more money! While Apple is the king of this, they also claim to be the lead in industry as belong to design, but if you ask me nobody has well designed phones today (mostly because all of 'em copy Apple) as long as grip is compromised. Apple proved to be a champ with 5 series design: both aesthetics and grip are well executed making for a lightweight, grippy and pleasantly beautiful phone. As you say, big screens come with additional problems. With gripping compromised, large screens means stretching and with stretching comes the first drop and then shattered screen. iPhone SE has none of these problems!
What I would prefer to see on Apple portfolio next year is actual form factors: 5.8", 6.5" and 6.1" but with a boxy design reminiscent of iPhone 4 with flush sides like 5 series. Since Apple won't go for small screens anymore this seems the most logic solution (indicated by new iPads too). Beside these screen behemoths, I would like an 4.67" (my calculations if iPhone 5 go all-screen) all-screen iPhone 5-like new device. This new small all-screen phone will surely be a bestseller, if Apple ever decide to produce it.

Chris Apple, 16 Nov 2018Yes, the reality is sad. Most of components on today smartphones... moreAt least iPhone XS is at least somewhat small, but still compared to how big phones were before... it's huge. Also I think that Steve Jobs was reason why iPhones stayed small as long as they did. Also iPhone SE is exceptionally easy to use with single hand. You literally can reach any corner of the screen and/or any button without adjusting your arm/grip and doing God knows what kind of gymnastic with your fingers. Even "one handed mode" on Android flagships simply sucks compared to compact phone. Another plus, it's being grippy since it's boxy. Either manufacturers like their customers walking around with shattered phones or they simply care about design over anything else.

Realistic1, 16 Nov 2018Yep, that's just sad, OEM's realized that they can rip people of... moreYes, the reality is sad. Most of components on today smartphones are the same year-on-year. hahaha to be honest with you, iPhone SE is a flagship performer, but because Apple released it 5 months after iPhone 7, it was considered a "cheap" alternative. If they would released it 17 months earlier, it would have been for sure a flagship device (pretty much like Xr today, but on the smaller side). I've been an Apple fan for ages and I can say that iPhone 5, 5s, 5se form factor is the most appealing Apple ever made. Rectangular boxy design feels nice in hand, and is also grippy, but they suddenly dropped it in favour of actual rounded sides, which are a slippery nightmare!! I just hope they return it next year, just like they did with new iPads.