With a $1,000 Price Tag, Apple’s iPhone Crosses a Threshold
SAN FRANCISCO — When Apple unveils its new top-of-the-line iPhone on Tuesday, it isn’t just expected to offer features like infrared facial recognition and wireless charging for the first time.
The company will also enter new territory on price: The latest phone will start at about $1,000, compared with the $769 minimum for its current top phone, the iPhone 7 Plus.
“It’s a whole new threshold,” said Debby Ruth, a senior vice president at the tech consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates. I really do think it’s going to make people pause.”
“這是一個全新的門檻，”技術咨詢公司弗蘭克·N·馬吉德公司(Frank N. Magid Associates)的高級副總裁黛比·魯斯(Debby Ruth)說。“我真的認為，它會讓人們猶豫。”
From the iPhone’s introduction a decade ago, Apple has always priced it as a premium product — a more refined and polished alternative to the legions of cheaper smartphones available in the market.
But this time, the company is pushing into luxury territory. The new phone will cost as much as the company’s entry-level MacBook Air laptop. “They’re doubling down on their strategy: They are going much more to the high end,” Ruth said.
Apple declined to comment before the product announcements scheduled for Tuesday. (On Saturday, Steven Troughton-Smith, a developer who combed through the iOS 11 software, found references indicating that the new high-end phone will be called the iPhone X.)
在周二發布產品之前，蘋果拒絕評論（周六，參與開發iOS 11軟件的工程師斯蒂芬·特勞頓-史密斯[Steven Troughton-Smith]找到一些資料表明，這款新高端手機將被稱為iPhone X）。
Investors are betting that Apple’s move up the price ladder will pay off with much higher profits, especially in mature markets like the United States and Western Europe, where many of the buyers will be people upgrading from older iPhones. The company’s stock has risen nearly 50 percent over the past year as anticipation has built about the 2017 models.
Apple’s strategy carries risks, however, especially in developing countries where smartphone sales are growing briskly but its market share is a blip compared to devices running Google’s Android software. 紐約時報中英文網 http://www.uydujn.live
In Brazil, for example, Apple devices will account for just 8 percent of the 125 million active smartphone subscriptions this year, according to Forrester, a research firm.
Steep taxes, higher retail profit margins, and added costs from a botched attempt at building iPhones in Brazil have pushed the price of an iPhone 6s, a 2-year-old model, to more than $1,000 at Casa Bahia, a store in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. In late August, the retailer was selling Apple’s most basic smartphone, the iPhone SE, for more than $600, while a Samsung Galaxy J1 Mini, which runs Android, was just $136.
由于關稅高昂，零售商追求更高的利潤空間，再加上在巴西設廠生產iPhone失敗所致成本增加，在里約熱內盧科帕卡巴納區的一個店鋪里，兩年前的iPhone 6s的價格已經推升至1000多美元。8月底，在這家零售店里，蘋果最基礎的智能手機iPhone SE的售價也超過600美元，而運行安卓系統的三星Galaxy J1 Mini的售價僅為136美元。
At another Rio store recently, Vanessa Perreira, 25, a university student, was browsing the 65 models on display, looking at the offerings from Samsung and LG but ignoring the six from Apple. She once owned an iPhone, she lamented, but could not afford to continue buying them. “Price is the most important factor for me,” she said.
Still, the iPhone is coveted by wealthier Brazilians, many of whom buy the phone while traveling abroad to avoid their country’s high costs. “There will always be users in Brazil that will be interested in buying it,” said Tina Lu, a senior analyst with Counterpoint Research.
China’s reception to the $1,000 iPhone will be even more crucial to Apple. The Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, contributed $8 billion to Apple’s revenue last quarter, but sales have been sluggish.
Apple’s market share has declined slightly in China over the past year, according to Counterpoint. High-end phones from Chinese brands like Huawei and Oppo have gained ground, in part by undercutting Apple on price.
The new iPhone has the potential to reverse that trend. More than any other tech product, the iPhone has long denoted status in China. If a new iPhone looks the same as the previous one — and won’t be recognized by others as new — it often doesn’t sell well.
“If the phone’s appearance changes, I think people are going to be crazy about it, because we’ve seen the iPhone with a similar look for such a long time now,” said He Peihuan, a Shanghai-based financial analyst.
For all that, Zhang Xiang, a phone reseller and repairman in Shanghai, said he still expected strong demand for the new iPhone. “I think when people can afford it and want a high-end phone with good features, they’ll still choose to buy an iPhone,” he said.
One important factor offsetting the next iPhone’s expected high price is the increasing prevalence of financing options for buyers around the globe. In the United States, most phone carriers allow customers to spread the cost of a new phone over two years, and the new phone would add less than $10 a month to the payments a customer would make on an iPhone 7 Plus.
有一個重要因素能抵消新款iPhone預期中的高價的影響，那就是，全球各地為消費者提供的支付方案越來越普及。在美國，大部分手機運營商允許顧客在兩年內分期支付新手機的費用，與購買iPhone 7 Plus的費用相比，購買新手機每個月將增加不到10美元的費用。
“There’s not that much difference in the monthly fee you have to pay,” said Brian Blau, a technology analyst at Gartner, a research firm.
Similar installment purchase plans are emerging in China, Brazil and other countries, making Apple’s products more affordable there.
“I’ve seen some banks providing installment plans for the iPhone with very low, or even no interest, so ordinary people could get an iPhone that way,” Zhang said.