Are you ready for $1,000 smartphones?
Premium features on high-end devices add to production costs
Will you need to take out a mortgage to purchase your next smartphone?
OK, that’s an exaggeration. But with a new iPhone 8 expected to crack the $1,000 price barrier when it goes on sale (most likely) next month, it is worth asking what kind of deep pockets buyers need to have.
Indeed, the price for Apple’s 10th-anniversary iPhone could conceivably go much higher than a grand, especially if supplies are constrained.
“A $1,000 iPhone would be testing the limits of what consumers are willing to pay,” says
Neil Mawston, executive director for the global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics in London. “$1,000 is more than what many people pay for a new television.”
Of course, you already came close to spending that much last year if you purchased the iPhone 7 Plus and maxed out on storage.
It’s not just Apple. The up-
coming Galaxy Note 8 that Samsung recently announced will cost between $930 and $960 when it comes out next month (depending on carrier). And there’s no word yet on how much the soon-to-launch LG V30 smartphone will cost.
Some of the higher cost has to do with premium features. The V30 will sport the kind of pricey edge-to-edge OLED display we may see on the iPhone 8, and, in fact, LG could be a supplier of just such a screen on the iPhone.
As the battle among high-end devices intensifies, manufacturers are having to invest in flashier features to make their products stand out. Edge-to-edge displays, water resistance, iris scanning and dual cameras are becoming more common, but they also add to the cost of manufacturing.
“Smartphones have not become commodities, and, in a maturing market, it is healthy to see segments willing to pay more for higher end features, materials and design,” says Avi Greengart, the research director for consumer platforms and devices at GlobalData.
For instance, consumers who need to have a phone hyped as the world’s first “holographic media machine” must be ready to pay at least $1,200 for the Hydro- gen phone, a yet-to-be released device promised from high-endcamera maker Red.
Greengart points out that there are bargains to be had. Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus, for example, sells phones with robust specs, including the same Qualcomm processor as the Note 8, at prices starting at $479.
For all the publicity surrounding $1,000 smartphones, the average selling price for premium smartphones lately actually has fallen slightly or remained relatively flat worldwide, according to researcher Gartner. In the first quarter of 2017, average prices in the premium segment (the highest-end smartphones) were $460, compared to $482 during the same period a year earlier.
How we pay for phones has certainly changed over the past couple of years — and so the sticker shock is more apparent. The norm used to be to pay up front for a phone that was subsidized at a somewhat reduced price by your wireless carrier, typically tied to a two-year contractual obligation. That is how a
$649 iPhone could be listed at
While an iPhone 8 almost certainly is going to command top dollar, some analysts expect the phone to fly off of shelves. There’s pent-up demand for the phone, which may boast such missing iPhone features as wireless charging and facial unlocking.
That said, there’s equal speculation Apple will also unveil less expensive iPhone 7S models to appeal to buyers who don’t have an unlimited budget.
Neil Mawston, executive director for the global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics in London “$1,000 is more than what many people pay for a new television.”
The iPhone 7 Plus already cost more than $1,000 if you purchased generous storage.
From left, Samsung ’s Galaxy Note 8 — which will cost between $930 and $960 when it comes out next month — Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy S8.