Earlier this week, Apple officially unveiled its new iPhone lineup. According to Apple, the company wants iPhones for everyone, and, as such, shuffled around price points after it introduced the new trio of handsets.
For what it’s worth, Apple’s cheapest iPhone at this point is the iPhone 7, which starts at $449. Prices go up from there, though, with the iPhone XR –the least expensive of the 2018 iPhone lineup– starts at $749. Meanwhile, if you want the new iPhone XS you’ll need to fork over the $999 starting price. And if you want the bigger iPhone XS Max (with that 6.5-inch display), that starts at $1,099.
Honestly, none of this is really all that surprising.
The iPhone X, if nothing else, should have prepared us for all of this. Apple wasn’t just testing the water –because the company very rarely does that, instead opting to just forge ahead and hoping consumers follow suit– but instead laying out the groundwork. Showing its hand. Apple was telling the world that the flagship iPhones were getting more expensive, so prepare accordingly.
Here we are a year later and Apple has followed its own game plan to the T. It drew up the plans on that big whiteboard in an office somewhere, with the circles and X’s and lines, and we’ve reached a point now where the biggest iPhone has a starting price over one thousand dollars. The good news for Apple is that, one year later, the “$1,000 phone” isn’t as crazy as it seemed last year, and maybe the iPhone XS Max doesn’t look that crazy, either.
Except when you look at the 512GB iPhone XS Max. Because then we’re getting to an iPhone that costs $1,449. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. The middle-of-the-road option retails for just $50 more than the top-tier iPhone XS Max. Somehow the 512GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro only costs $999 — and we’re saying “only” here because we’re comparing it to this specific phone. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro retails for $1,149 if you opt for the 512GB storage option. You could throw in a couple of Apple Pencils with the most expensive iPad Pro and you’d still be paying less than you did for that 512GB iPhone.
Does the pricing make sense for Apple products, based on what we’ve already seen? Yes, of course it does. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max start at 64GB and jump up to 256GB, which means we’re going to see Apple charge $200 more for that additional storage. Tack on another $200 for the jump up to 512GB — again, this all makes sense because this is how Apple prices things. But it’s still kind of crazy to see a new iPhone be priced higher than, or close to, two MacBook Pro models.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launched recently and it has a 512GB option, too. (Yes, it comes with a microSD card slot.) That phone is priced at $1,249.99. Sure, Samsung’s phone is $200 cheaper than Apple’s comparable handset, but that’s not a surprise, either. We’ve reached the point where these devices are going to be expensive now, because manufacturers know we’ll buy them. Smartphones are oftentimes vital for some owners, and spending money to get the best daily driver for them now means forking over a lot of money.
And yet, at least for Apple, we’re still going to see the company sell a lot of phones. We saw so many analyst reports before the iPhone X launched that the $1,000 iPhone wasn’t going to sell well. That the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus would be the handset to “fly off the shelves”. And yet the iPhone X is Apple’s most popular handset of that year. And we will probably see the same thing with the iPhone XS Max. (I still type “iPhone XS Plus” so many times. Name changes aren’t great for muscle memory!)
So, here we are. Which of these new iPhones are you going to pick up? And are you okay with the price changes?