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iPhone narrative pivots from low-cost to higher prices

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 9, 2014
Last year the talk was about a US$330 iPhone 5C; now it's about a US$749 5.5-in. mega iPhone 6

The developing consensus is that the latter will be priced $100 higher than the stock iPhone 6, which will replace the iPhone 5S. That would put the 5.5-in. iPhone at $749 sans contract, or $299 with a two-year commitment for the model with the smallest amount of storage space.

There have been hints of higher prices for the 5.5-in. model, including a purported screenshot of prices from China Unicom, one of Apple's carrier partners in the People's Republic of China (PRC). In China's currency, the lowest-priced "iPhone 6 Pro" was the equivalent of $163 more than the lowest-priced "iPhone Air," its name for the iPhone 5S's successor.

Because prices in the PRC include the country's national VAT (value added tax), the probable price differential in the U.S. would be $100.

Today, both Bajarin and Dawson said they expected a higher price for the larger iPhone.

"Apple has a history of screens with different sizes, and bigger ones are more expensive," said Dawson, pointing to the iPad and MacBook lines. In the latter, the 13-in. MacBook Air, for example, costs $100 more than a similarly-configured 11-in. Air; the difference between the 9.7-in. iPad Air and the 7.9-in iPad Mini with Retina is also $100. "Once you take for granted that there will be a larger screen, it's reasonable to expect it to cost more."

"As the most-premium product, it will cost more," Bajarin concurred. "Because it's a bigger screen, it makes sense for Apple to price it higher."

Apple will webcast its launch event tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). Users must be running Safari on OS X or iOS, or the Apple TV to view the live broadcast.


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