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 10, 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 10, 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 Wallace January 11, 2007