How the price of the iPhone has increased over the years
The iPhone XS Max grabbed negative headlines earlier this month, when its $AUD2,369 (it costs $US1449 in the US) price was announced. The eye-popping figure means that Apple has increased the price of its top-model iPhone by its highest ever amount.
Will consumers still bite?
It all begs the question: are iPhones actually more expensive than they were a decade ago?
We’re taking a trip down memory lane to see how its price has evolved over the years.
Alternatively, if you’re already convinced a new iPhone is already overpriced there’s now a large used market, with much lower price points.
Launched: June 2007
Launch Price: $US599 (8GB model)
$AUD820 (according to 0.73 AUD to US rate in June 2007)
Price Considering Inflation*: $US728 ($AUD997)
* Based on yearly US Dollar currency value from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The iPhone revolutionized the smartphone market more than a decade ago. Back then, the device’s 3.5-inch touchscreen display, in-built browser, and media playback were classed as state of the art tech.
It also came equipped with a 2MP camera and 8GB of storage. This allowed users to store hundreds of photographs and songs all on one device.
Ironically, the introduction of the phone marked the beginning of the end for one of Apple’s other most successful devices: the iPod.
The original iPhone released in 2007 was not sold in Australia.
Launched: July 2008
Price: $US699 (16GB) – $AUD735 (according to 0.95 AUD to US rate in June 2009)
Price Considering Inflation: $819 ($AUD862)
The successor to the original iPhone capitalized on the introduction of high-speed mobile browsing through 3G technology. Along with greater browsing speeds, the phone also provided users with their first taste of the Apple’s App Store.
Launched: June 2009
Price: $US699 (32GB model) – $AUD884 (according to 0.79 AUD to US rate in June 2009)
Price Considering Inflation: $822 ($AUD1,044)
While its name didn’t suggest much change, the iPhone 3GS introduced a range of enhancements to help keep Apple at the top of the mobile market.
The device’s camera was bumped to a 3.2MP snapper that could now record video for the first time. On top of this, there was also more storage and faster performance.
Launched: June 2010
Price:$US699 (32GB model). Price in Australia: $AUD999 (32GB).
Price Considering Inflation: $US808 ($AUD1,154)
Things moved up a gear with the launch of the iPhone 4. It boasted a thinner design and the first Retina display. Camera performance also improved markedly thanks to its 5MP lens and HD video capabilities.
Despite a huge price increase over its previous incarnation, the device smashed sales records worldwide.
Launched: October 2011
Price: $US849 (64GB model) – Australian price: $AUD999 (64GB)
Price Considering Inflation: $US952 ($AUD1,120)
By now Apple had settled into a routine of releasing a yearly upgrade of each device. The 4S might have looked the same as its predecessor, but it boasted a speedy A5 processor under the hood.
Apple once again ran ahead of the market at the time, with a 8MP camera and 1080p video recording on the 4S.
The device also introduced Siri voice assistant for the first time
Launched: September 2012
Launch Price: $US849 (64GB model) – Australian price: $AUD999 (64GB)
Price Considering Inflation: $US932 ($AUD1,096)
It was all change on the design front with the iPhone 5. Apple not only changed screen size but also its aspect ratio.
This iPhone was also 20% lighter and thinner than before, thanks to a new aluminum body.
Internally, Apple’s latest A6 processor ensured it delivered faster performance levels than any of its predecessors.
Sadly, the iPhone 5 was the last device overseen by Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Launched: September 2013
Launch Price: $US849 (64GB 5S model) Australian price: $AUD1,129. Australian 5C price: $AUD869 (32GB)
Price Considering Inflation: $US919 ($AUD1,222)
With Android making gains in the middle-priced mobile market, Apple decided to change strategy with the release of two phones – the 5S and 5C – in 2013.
The latter was essentially a repacked iPhone 5 made with a cheaper plastic back and larger battery.
The 5S, however, continued Apple’s tradition of fine-tuning, with an improved camera and the introduction of a fingerprint scanner on the device’s home button.
iPhone 6/6 Plus
Launched: September 2014
iPhone 6 Launch Price: $US849 (128GB model) – Australian price: $AUD1,129 (128GB)
iPhone 6 Plus: $US949 (128gb model) – Australian price: $AUD1,249 (128GB)
Price Considering Inflation (6): $904 ($AUD1,202)
Price Considering Inflation (6 Plus): $1,011 ($AUD1,331)
Screen size was the talk of the town with Apple’s eigth generation iPhones. The 6 Plus introduced a whopping 5.5-inch full high definition display that saw Apple introduce itself into the phablet market with a bang.
Its sister model, the iPhone 6, wasn’t far behind, with a new larger 4.7-inch display in comparison with its predecessor.
iPhone 6S/6S Plus
Launched: September 2015
iPhone 6s (128GB): $US849 – Australian price: $AUD1,379 (128GB)
iPhone 6s Plus (128GB): $US949 – Australian price: $AUD1,529 (128GB)
Price Considering Inflation (6s): $US903 ($AUD1,466)
Price Considering Inflation (6s Plus): $1,010 ($AUD1,627)
While the ninth generation of iPhones didn’t change design-wise, Apple’s internal tinkering still made it unique.
There was an improved 12MP camera, a faster A9 processing chip, and perhaps most interestingly, 3D Touch.
iPhone 7/7 Plus
Launched: September 2016
iPhone 7 (256GB): $US849 – Australian price: $AUD1,379 (256GB)
iPhone 7 Plus (256GB): $US969 – Australian price: $AUD1,569 (256GB)
Price Considering Inflation (7): $US892 ($AUD1,448)
Price Considering Inflation (7 Plus): $US1,018 (AUD$1,648)
Apple stuck with the trend of releasing two different sized models for its tenth generation of iPhones.
While both devices’ cameras received praise, it was only the iPhone 7 Plus that came equipped with a 2x lossless optical zoom.
Both devices did share an Apple first: a waterproof rating. Their IP67 ratings meant that users could submerge their iPhones for the first time without fear of damage.
iPhone 8/8 Plus, X
Launched: September 2017
iPhone 8 (256GB): $US849 – Australian price: $AUD1,329 (256GB)
iPhone 8 Plus (256GB): $US949 – Australian price: $AUD1,479 (256GB)
iPhone X (256GB): $US1,149 – Australian price: $AUD1,829 (256GB)
Price Considering Inflation (8): $US873 (AUD$1,367)
Price Considering Inflation (8 Plus): $US976 (AUD$1,521)
Price Considering Inflation (X): $1,182 (AUD$1,933)
Never one to stick to tradition, Apple released three brand new smartphones for the first time in 2017.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus saw improvements on their predecessors. It came with a better camera and processor onboard.
The most visually striking feature was a glass back. That meant wireless charging was possible for the first time.
Buyers’ attention, quickly turned to the iPhone X, Apple’s top of the range model. Its $US999 price tag meant it was the most expensive smartphone ever released at the time.
Apple justified the steep price with a 5.8-inch display, that encompassed the whole front face of the phone. This allowed users to navigate through their phone using gestures instead of a dedicated home button.
The loss of the home button saw fingerprint technology replaced by a new 3D facial scanner. This became part of the phone’s much talked about notch.