True cost of the iPhone

So you like the iPhone and think you’ll buy one?

In the USA…

If you live in the USA then thanks to Cingular’s exclusive multi-year deal if you want an iPhone and go with their cheapest voice-only plan at $39.99 a month (which you have to pay for 24 months) you can expect your iPhone to cost you (assuming you can get out of your current contract without penalty):

4GB – $499 + $959 = $1,458

8GB – $599 + $959 = $1,558

Being that Cingular normally discount smartphones by around $150 when you take a contract I guess Apple could end up selling them for $599 and $699 once they are out of the Cingular deal. Hopefully this “exclusive deal” leaves the door open for Apple to sell them direct without a plan for a slightly higher price.

This guy believes the text, voicemail and Internet supplements needed push the monthly price up by another $35 a month!


When Apple come to Europe signing such an exclusive deal could severely hamper adoption and gaining that elusive 1% worldwide market share. Europe is a massive patchwork of operators and people won’t want to switch and loose their number – especially the sort of heavy-use/business people they’re aiming for.

Perhaps we just have it cheaper in Europe for once?

My current plan costs around $30 a month and includes 50 free minutes, 50 free texts and gives a whopping $350 discount off a HTC TyTN smartphone when you take out an 18 month contract. On that basis the price would be:

$481 + $360 = $841

The user interface can’t touch the iPhone and it has less storage (for now, thanks to the microSD slot) but it is also UTMS/3G, can load third party apps, has instant messaging and also can connect to a Bluetooth GPS device to interact with third-party mapping software. I can also change the battery when things go bad if needed and it runs Skype – the second camera – the one on the front means I can video-call.

Nice try Apple but I’ll wait for the 3G iPhone – why not add some of these fun features in the mean-time ;-)


3 responses

  1. Avatar for Mike Perry

    I don’t know about Europe, but number portability works well here in the US. I moved across Seattle and kept my number. I switched from wired to cellular and kept the number. I’m sure that, if I could afford the iPhone, Cingular would be happy to let me keep the same number yet again. I’m wondering if Apple doesn’t have a cellularless version waiting. As a music and video player, the iPhone seems marvelous. And Internet browsing would still be there even it were WiFi only. It’d let users check their email anyplace they can find a WiFi hotspot. The added space could be used for a higher capacity battery.

    Mike Perry – January 10th, 2007
  2. Avatar for Damien Guard

    I think number portability in Europe is still quite far off. You’re right with it making a great non-phone device however and perhaps Apple will replace the 5G iPod with a just that. The only thing I can see stopping that is that if Apple are making a huge profit on the iPhone (probably a $10 a month kickback from Cingular per device giving them another $240 per unit) then they might not want to go for smaller margins again.

    Damien Guard January 10th, 2007
  3. Avatar for Lee Wallace

    > Nice try Apple but I’ll wait for the 2G iPhone Er, Don’t you mean 3G iPhone ? Lee

    Lee Wallace – January 11th, 2007