It was back in February that I first caught wind of the idea that Apple might decide to price a new model of the iPhone at $1,000 or more. Mark Sullivan’s anonymously-sourced piece in Fast Company said a special 10th anniversary edition of the iconic smartphone would have special features and a price tag “very likely north of $1,000.”
It seemed a little preposterous at the time, but in the ensuing months, the idea of a even-more-expensive iPhone has gained credibility. And much of Sullivan’s reporting was consistent with the forecast from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, he of the most accurate Apple rumor track record, from way back in November that Apple was prepping three new models for 2017 including one with a fancy OLED screen.
Now, with the expected launch of the new phones just a few months away, chatter about the high-priced special edition has exploded.
Some think it’s a mistake. Apple analyst Abhey Lamba at Mizuho Securities, worries that because Apple will be including the best new features, like the OLED screen, only on the top 2017 model, customers who can’t afford it won’t upgrade at all, hoping the cool features will trickle down to cheaper models in 2018.
“While some near-term upgrade activity may be associated with failing hardware of aged devices, customers with the flexibility to extend the life of their devices may choose to do so until OLED panel and incremental functionality are more widely available,” Lamba writes. “As a result, the product cycle could end up being more prolonged this time around versus prior launches.”
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But others see an opening for Apple to capture more revenue by moving up market. Tech columnist John Gruber of the web site Daringfireball.net, says it’s fitting for Apple (AAPL) to add a deluxe “Pro” model to the iPhone line as it has done with iPads and Mac computers, especially because the company probably can’t source enough of the OLED screens this year to include them on every phone.
“In the same way it made sense for Honda and Toyota to create their Acura and Lexus divisions to sell higher-end cars without eroding the value or popularity of their best-selling Accords and Camrys, it makes sense for Apple to create a premium tier for the iPhone, the best-selling product the company has ever made and likely will ever make,” Gruber says.
I’m on the fence. What do you think? Will you go for the top-end iPhone? Delay a purchase until next year? Maybe opt for one of the top new Google (GOOGL) Android phones already out instead?
You may be wondering about today’s Google doodle, depicting a march by African Americans of an earlier era. It’s worth clicking through and reading the history. It was 100 years ago today–July 28, 1917–that thousands of black people marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City to form the Silent Parade. A protest against violence attacking black communities, the parade was one of the first public marches for civil rights. Something to think about as we ponder the current political climate. Have a great weekend.