I still remember my first phone. My parents made me wait until high school to get one, so I barely missed out on the experience of having a flip phone. Instead, I had an HTC Rhyme, a purple smartphone marketed toward women whose most noteworthy feature was the charm it came with that you could plug into your headphone jack. It lit up when you received a notification, and was designed to dangle outside of your purse (because obviously women need to have a phone that doubles as a fashion accessory).
I hated the thing. I thought its gimmicks were stupid and since the phone was slower than my iPod touch, I hardly considered it an upgrade. The only thing it could do that my iPod touch couldn’t is send texts and call people, but I guess that’s all cell phones were really meant for to begin with.
During school, I vividly remember being embarrassed by the only phone my parents could afford for me. It was nowhere near as cool and trendy as an iPhone 4 and I could definitely feel the sense of self importance these phones gave to their owners, as my phone was commonly the butt of some jokes from many of my peers.
Fast forward to my junior year, and I’ve finally upgraded to an iPhone 6. I got it when it first came out, and everyone in my class who hadn’t paid much attention to me before was suddenly asking to look at my phone and get a glimpse at all of its features for themselves. This phone was more than just a step up for me in terms of technology, it was a step up for my social status as well.
Now, I was suddenly the girl in class with the new phone, and I gave off an aura of coolness that lasted for about a week until the rest of my classmates upgraded their phones as well.
Today, Apple unveiled not just one new phone, but two. The iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. The iPhone 8 starts at $699, the special-edition iPhone X costs a whopping $999. To put those prices into perspective, the cost of the original iPhone was about half as much.
The $1,000 price tag on this phone ventures into a new financial territory that will test just how much consumers are willing to spend on a device that has become such an integral part of how we live our lives today.
But Apple is not alone, Samsung Electronics also just unveiled the new Galaxy Note 8 with a price tag of $930.
These new prices won’t just affect the people who are willing to buy these phones though, they will set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to have mass market appeal, meaning that you shouldn’t be surprised to see an increase in the prices of future devices.
But why are phones costing more? The answer is simple, smartphones are becoming more and more sophisticated. The iPhone X features an OLED screen that stretches from each edge of the device, facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging.
While none of these features are particularly new nor unique to Apple and can be found on phones with a price tag under $999, Apple has a way of making them seem exclusive, luxurious and worth the price.
Smartphones are increasingly becoming a status symbol similar to how automobiles are, and because they are viewed this way, consumers are willing to spend a premium price. And as long people are willing to spend this much, companies will continue to sell for this much.
Despite the rise in phone prices, prices on technology like laptops and TVs have plummeted. But these patterns make sense. People practically live on their phones, so it only makes sense that they’d be willing to spend more. Take the Note for example. Even though it costs more than any Samsung phone ever has, it’s already sold more than any previous version of the Note.
Of course, there are many people who still think the new price tag is ridiculous. CNBC put out an article about things you could spend $999 on instead of an iPhone X and many people even took to social media sites like Twitter to voice their opinions on the new iPhone’s premium pricing.
Still, Apple analyst Gene Munster is convinced that 30 to 40 percent of customers will be willing to spend $999 on the new iPhone.
Personally? I’m a broke college student. I think I’ll stick with my iPhone 7 and wait until a smartphone that doesn’t cost more, half or equivalent to a month of rent is released.