IPhone X puts ex­cla­ma­tion point on Apple’s pric­ing strategy A

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

PPLE has made a lux­ury iPhone that punc­tu­ates its tech­no­log­i­cal swag­ger with a high-priced ex­cla­ma­tion point. And that ex­cla­ma­tion point ap­pears to be a sign of things to come.

The long-an­tic­i­pated iPhone X un­veiled Tues­day will sell for US$999, dou­ble what the orig­i­nal iPhone cost a decade ago and more than any other com­pet­ing de­vice on the mar­ket. That’s very much in line with Apple’s long-term po­si­tion­ing of it­self as a pur­veyor of pricey as­pi­ra­tional gad­gets.

But it’s also a clear sign that Apple is ramp­ing up that strategy by con­tin­u­ing to push its prices higher, even though im­prove­ments it’s bring­ing to its prod­ucts are of­ten in­cre­men­tal or de­riv­a­tive. Among other things, that runs con­trary to decades in which high-tech de­vice prices have fallen over time, of­ten dra­mat­i­cally, even as the gad­gets them­selves ac­quired new fea­tures and pow­ers.

On Tues­day, for in­stance, Apple also in­tro­duced a TV stream­ing box that will sell for $179, far more than sim­i­lar de­vices, and a smart­watch with its own cellular con­nec­tion that will cost al­most $400. In De­cem­ber, Apple will start sell­ing an in­ter­net­con­nected speaker, the Home­Pod, priced at $349, nearly twice as much as Ama­zon’s mar­ket-lead­ing Echo speaker.

Apple is also rais­ing the price of its runner-up phones, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which will re­spec­tively cost $50 and $30 more than their im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sors, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Pay­ing more for some­what more The pre­mium pric­ing strategy re­flects Apple’s long-held be­lief that con­sumers will pay more for prod­ucts that are so well de­signed that they can’t fathom liv­ing with­out them.

Apple CEO Tim Cook left lit­tle doubt in the com­pany’s con­fi­dence in the iPhone X (pro­nounced “ten”), whose name ref­er­ences the decade that’s passed since com­pany co­founder Steve Jobs first pulled out an iPhone that sold for $499.

Cook at­tempted to frame the iPhone X as a sim­i­lar break­through, hail­ing it as “the big­gest leap for­ward” since the orig­i­nal iPhone.

But the orig­i­nal iPhone rev­o­lu­tion­ized so­ci­ety by putting con­nected hand-held com­put­ers and apps into the hands of mil­lions of or­di­nary peo­ple. The iPhone X mostly prom­ises to do what ear­lier smart­phones have done, only bet­ter.

The tech­no­log­i­cal wiz­ardry in the iPhone X is un­ques­tion­ably im­pres­sive. It in­cludes a bright new edge-to-edge screen, a spe­cial ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence-en­abled chip, new sen­sors for fa­cial recog­ni­tion and a grab-bag of fun items like an­i­mated emo­jis that mimic your ex­pres­sions, por­trait-mode self­ies that blur the back­ground, an aug­mented re­al­ity game plat­form and wire­less charg­ing. Apple said the phone’s bat­tery will last two hours longer than that of the iPhone 7.

But ri­val phones — many of them from Sam­sung — al­ready of­fer sim­i­lar dis­plays, fa­cial recog­ni­tion, aug­mented re­al­ity and wire­less charg­ing, if of­ten in cruder forms that mostly haven’t won over large numbers of phone users.

Break­ing new ground None of which is to say that Apple won’t break new ground. In par­tic­u­lar, the iPhone X gives Apple the op­por­tu­nity to bring aug­mented re­al­ity — es­sen­tially the pro­jec­tion of com­puter-gen­er­ated images into re­al­world sur­round­ings, a la the mon­ster hunts in “Poke­mon Go” — into main­stream use.

No one can say with cer­tainty what sort of “killer app” will make aug­mented re­al­ity a hit. What­ever it turns out to be, it seems as likely to emerge from an un­known startup as an es­tab­lished com­pany. But Apple is cer­tainly tak­ing a stab at the prob­lem.

On Tues­day, Apple demon­strate a sim­ple use for so­phis­ti­cated cam­era technology on the iPhone X with “an­i­moji,” which lets peo­ple an­i­mate emoji char­ac­ters with their voices and fa­cial ex­pres­sions — and then send them to their friends.

Show­ing off a new technology with some­thing that ev­ery­day peo­ple can use and un­der­stand is “what Apple does best,” said Gart­ner an­a­lyst Brian Blau. Aug­mented re­al­ity won’t be re­stricted to the iPhone X; the apps will also run on hun­dreds of mil­lions of other iPhones so long as they in­stall new op­er­at­ing-sys­tem soft­ware called iOS 11 when Apple pushes out a free up­date next week.

In a way, Apple may have its rivals to thank for this op­por­tu­nity. Fiercer com­pe­ti­tion from Sam­sung, Google and Huawei in­creased the pres­sure on Apple to make a big splash with its new iPhone, says technology an­a­lyst Pa­trick Moor­head.

“It looks like they have a good chance at cre­at­ing a new mar­ket seg­ment called the ‘su­per phone,’” Moor­head said. “You could tell they re­ally poured their heart and soul into this.”

Other Apple de­vices are also get­ting bet­ter. A new Apple Watch can finally make phone calls and stream mu­sic over cellular net­works with­out an iPhone nearby, and the com­pany’s Apple TV stream­ing box will now de­liver su­per-sharp “4K” video.

– The As­so­ci­ated Press

Photo: AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook an­nounces the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple cam­pus, Tues­day, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, Cal­i­for­nia.

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