Buy it, or don’t buy it – but spare us moan­ing about cost of iPhone X

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK -

IS A phone that costs €1,179 a valid source of ou­trage? The new iPhone X starts at a very lofty price. It’s the first smart­phone to start its pric­ing above €1,000. Some peo­ple have taken ex­cep­tion to this. Within min­utes of the price be­ing an­nounced, so­cial me­dia feeds in Ire­land started to seed dis­sent. “Ab­so­lute ripoff!” “How can Apple get away with this?” “This will cause thou­sands to move to An­droid.” What seemed to add in­sult to in­jury was that the euro price is con­sid­er­ably higher than the US price ($999 or €835 at to­day’s ex­change rate).

In fact, the dif­fer­ence is closer to €100 as the US price is a pre-tax price. That’s not un­usual – prices of elec­tron­ics (and many other things) are fre­quently 10pc to 15pc cheaper in the US than in the EU. It’s been this way for as long as I’ve been cov­er­ing the sec­tor.

But even if that wasn’t the case, all of this is still an odd rea­son to get an­gry with a com­pany sell­ing a re­place­able prod­uct in an ultra-com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

Is it pos­si­ble that peo­ple missed the other new iPhones that Apple launched?

Did they miss the silent price re­duc­tion on the iPhone SE to €419? Or the iPhone 6S, which many still re­gard as a top phone, to €539?

And even if they did miss that, why moan about the high price for an elite phone? Do peo­ple know how many smart­phone al­ter­na­tives are out there?

If we were talk­ing about the price of crit­i­cal medicine or ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als, there would be a point to get­ting an­gry. But a top-end smart­phone?

Apple’s mar­ket­ing goes some­thing like this: ‘Phones have taken over from PCs, tablets, stereos and cam­eras. But there are few real lux­ury mod­els out there. Let’s in­vest more in a su­per-hand­set with fu­tur­is­tic new ma­te­ri­als and technology.

‘We’ll charge a pre­mium for it, maybe €200 more than the price of our cur­rent top model. At that price, we know that only a mi­nor­ity of our cus­tomers will buy it. So we’ll also launch two other up­graded phones with bet­ter cam­eras, en­gines and soft­ware. But they won’t be quite as pre­mium as the new ultra-model. That way, our cur­rent cus­tomers can af­ford them and they’ll get a solid up­grade too.’

I’m hy­poth­e­sis­ing here. But that seems to be the com­pany’s strategy. The cus­tomer’s re­sponse? Buy it or don’t buy it. But spare us the moan­ing.

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