June 9th, 2008
Steve Jobs today got up in front of a crowd of 5200 adoring fans and announced to the world the new 3G iPhone. He claimed that Apple has listened to the marketplace and decided to make the new iPhone more affordable and quoted a new price of $199 USD for the 8GB version (the old iPhone initially debuted at $599 and then dropped to $399). What Steve, and his adoring 5200 fans, have failed to note is that the price of the phone has actually increased given AT&T’s new voice and data plans tied to the device. The base AT&T iPhone price used to be $59.99 but according to a press release AT&T put out today, the new base rate plan will be $30 for unlimited data with voice plans started at $39.99 a month, an increase of $10 a month for the cheapest plan. Carry the $10 price increase out across two years and you’re now paying an additional $240 to AT&T which means the phone actually costs you an extra $40 over the two years. What’s even worse is that this price increase is tied to your phone plan and locked into a two year contract. At least if the price increase was tied to the device itself, there could be a chance that device could drop in price in the future. So much for more affordable.
I’m an Apple fan. I have a MacBook Pro at home with a big Cinema Display and use a MacBook Pro at work with a Cinema Display. And like any good Apple fan, I recommend Apple products to friends and family. However, Apple’s purposeful obfuscation of the new iPhone price is unacceptable. For a company that challenges itself and its consumers to think different, Apple appears to have joined the rest of corporate America by burying their real pricing and instead has put on a dog and pony show with the hope no one notices the reality of the announcement.
The fact more people haven’t realized this doesn’t surprise me. When it comes to Apple, the media and blogosphere seems to be more and more of an echo chamber with the attitude that Apple can do no wrong.
UPDATE [6/10]: I forgot to mention that Exchange support (ActiveSync) will be an additional $15/month and that unlimited text messaging (SMS) is no longer included in the plan (that’s extra as well).