Snippet: iPhone Pricing and Inflation ☇

Shared on September 17, 2023

Nick Heer:

I thought this analysis by Wally Nowinski, of PerfectRec, was intriguing, but perhaps not completely convincing. Nowinski says the most recent batch of iPhones are, with the exception of the Pro Max, the “most affordable” iPhones since the product’s launch, when adjusting for inflation, and has the figures to prove it. The data is sound. The point of this is what I did not find as compelling.

For a start, it is purportedly a price comparison of unlocked iPhone models in the United States, which immediately makes it less relevant to me. But it is worth noting that Apple did not sell unlocked iPhones in the U.S. until the iPhone 4 in June 2011 — just before the launch of the iPhone 4S — and that the original iPhone was $499 but only worked with AT&T when it came out.

This is an interesting write-up, as the iPhones have generally stayed about the same price for a long time (with minor fluctuations of $50 and new models adding to the variety). While even $800 is a lot of money to be spending every year for a device, the average person isn’t and these will be good for a few years (my 12 mini is pushing 3, and could go for another year or two easily, save for a battery replacement). In a time when it feels like everyone is raising prices astronomically because “times are hard” and “inflation,” it’s sort of nice that Apple’s iPhone pricing has been fairly consistent.

Fascinatingly enough, the original iMac sold for $1299 in 1998. Twenty-five years later, it’s still the same price.

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