Apple fans have several reasons to look forward to the next-generation iPhone models. According to reports from multiple media outlets, the iPhone 6 will be released in two larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The devices may also be covered with sapphire, an extremely hard and scratch-resistant material that Apple currently only uses for its Touch ID fingerprint scanner and the iPhone camera lens. Other rumors have suggested that the device will feature a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip that will enable wireless purchases via a new mobile payments system. The upcoming devices will also likely include the usual hardware upgrades, such as a higher resolution screen and a more powerful processor.
With the widely expected increase in screen sizes and the possible inclusion of several new types of components, some industry watchers are raising questions about just how much the two iPhone 6 models could end up costing consumers. Apple typically sells its entry-level (16GB) flagship iPhone for $199 with a standard two-year service contract. While large resellers such as Walmart and Best Buy may drop this price a little during special promotional deals, the flagship iPhone’s off-contract price is usually set in stone at $649.
However, some analysts have already predicted that Apple will be forced to raise the starting price for at least one, if not both the upcoming iPhone 6 models. In a research note issued to investors in April, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek cited sources that said Apple was negotiating with carriers to raise the on-contract price of the entry-level 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by $100, reported StreetInsider. This would give Apple’s entry-level 5.5-inch iPhone 6 a starting price of $299.
Although some carriers were initially refusing the price change, Misek noted that Apple was likely to eventually get some sort of price increase concessions. Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt predicted a similar price increase in a research note issued in June that was obtained by MarketWatch. More recently, TechRadar cited an even higher price. According to TechRadar’s sources, the 5.5-inch model could cost more than $800 off-contract, while the 4.7-inch model would retain the $649 starting price. However, it should be noted that TechRadar’s information was based off rumored prices for the Chinese market and it is unclear how those prices would translate to the U.S. market.
While the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is likely to cost more than any other previous model, there are several reasons why iPhone buyers may feel comfortable shelling out some extra cash for either model. While the larger screens are the most obvious improvement, it is the implementation of sapphire coverings that may actually save users’ money in the long run. Broken screens are one of the most common iPhone damage problems and a more durable screen could help extend the life of Apple’s products. There have also been rumors that have suggested that the entry-level capacity for the next-generation devices will start at 32GB, rather than 16GB. Since Apple already sells the 32GB iPhone 5S for $299 with a service contract, it could be argued that buyers are actually paying the same price as before.
While it remains to be seen what pricing tiers Apple will use for the two iPhone 6 models, the considerable buzz over the screen size upgrades suggests that most consumers are willing to spend a little extra cash to get their hands on the latest flagship iPhone. For those who aren’t, it should be pointed out that there are also several industry observers who believe Apple will not raise iPhone’s price. Apple fans will likely find out on September 9, when the Cupertino-based company is rumored to be holding a media event to unveil both the new iPhone 6 models.
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