back to article The grand-plus iPhone is the new normal – this is no place for paupers

So. The £1,000 iPhone X was not an aberration – Apple wants it to be the new normal. A grand is the new "mid-range". Yesterday Apple discontinued its budget iPhone SE and unveiled new models costing £1,500. Since relatively few people switch between platforms, Apple's growth relies in part from making more money from people …

  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Re: Time to switch platforms

    In my opinion the iPad is still the best value tablet, but the iPhone prices have got silly. Then again so are the top-end Droids.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: Time to switch platforms

    I really don't like iPhones and iOS but use one because it's the only choice.

    How do you figure that. Android isn't perfect but it's perfectly good for nearly everything I need.

  3. Ikoth

    Exchange rate

    I'm more disgusted by the $999 = £999 bullshit.

    No wonder their market valuation hit 1 trillion.

    I wonder if any of my UK travelling American friends fancy a spot of shopping...

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    The US uses different frequencies, no?

  5. Ikoth

    Re: Exchange rate

    My phone works fine when I go there...

  6. Velv Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    Frequencies do vary around the world, that’s why most phones are “quad band” or similar and are capable of operating in most countries “roaming”

    Given the radio chips are all made by a tiny number of suppliers it’s just as easy to put a world capable radio in than have specific radios for specific markets.

    If only there was a standard... you know, something like a Global Standard for Mobile communication... or something issued by the International Telecommunications Union for the Third Or Fourth generations of device

  7. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    "I'm more disgusted by the $999 = £999 bullshit."

    Say hello to Nigel and Boris. And Raab and Rees-Mogg doing their best to help out. The dollar is down to about 1.25 again. Add in 20% VAT (US sales tax is not displayed in the price), the cost of European consumer protection laws, and that's what you get.

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    Boris and Co's efforts will not do anything to drop VAT (might even increase it). The consumer protection laws are not something I would want to lose and the state of the weak pound is down to the,.

  9. Updraft102 Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    The consumer protection laws are not something I would want to lose

    That's fine, of course, but they come at a price. When you take out 20% VAT, then convert to dollars, you're at about $1090 US, so you're paying $90 for the consumer protection.

  10. nanchatte

    Re: Exchange rate

    You're making assumption that the price difference basically consumer protection?

    No, it's that people in the UK will pay that difference.

    It's always been the case. Nothing to do with consumer protection.

    All to do with UK companies fleecing the public over there and international companies doing the same by restricting after sale services to grey market devices.

  11. DougS Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    The US uses different frequencies, no?

    They have a single SKU for the whole world, so you can buy your iPhone anywhere and use it anywhere. I wonder how many iPhones in the original sealed box I could pack without resulting in arrest when customs at Heathrow opens my luggage? It could pay for the trip, and then some :)

    Just a few gifts for my friends in the Reg readership, I swear officer!

  12. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Re: Exchange rate

    Oh no, another poor downtrodden Brit. They are all out to get you.

    The reality is that since Nigel and Boris started their project "self destruct", you got $1.50 for a pound, and now it is $1.25. And the VAT is 20%, which means out of every £999 a whopping £166.50 goes straight to HMRC. And yes, if your iPhone breaks down between one and two years when it's not covered by manufacturer's warranty, the seller in the UK has to fix it, when in the USA you are out of luck. That's close in value to a year of extra warranty,

  13. simon gardener

    Re: Exchange rate

    currently $999 = 762 + 20%VAT (the US price doesnt include sales tax) and you get £912

    It's not as bad as it was when £1 = $1.5, then $999 would have been £799 inc tax.

  14. David Austin

    Hoping SE2 Comes later...

    Probably just put on the site without an event or much fanfare; I like the 4 inch form factor, although I recognise I'm in the minority with that one (along with a desire for an iPad mini 5; In my mind, Bigger is not always better)

    However, not having an air quote "Budget" iPhone seems a bit remiss; £449 for a starting price (As opposed to an almost-reasonable £359 for the SE) is basically cutting price conscious customers off from jumping into the Apple ecosystem, and tempt them to upgrade later.

    Still, I don't run a trillion doller company, so I'm sure Apple have a solid gameplan. I just don't fully get it, right now...

  15. AndyMulhearn

    Re: Hoping SE2 Comes later...

    Probably just put on the site without an event or much fanfare; I like the 4 inch form factor, although I recognise I'm in the minority with that one (along with a desire for an iPad mini 5; In my mind, Bigger is not always better)

    I'm with you on the bigger is not always better. To be honest the 4" screen is a little too small for me to read books on but fine for pretty much everything else. And no one asks me if I have a canoe in my pocket or I'm just pleased to see them any more.

    However, not having an air quote "Budget" iPhone seems a bit remiss; £449 for a starting price (As opposed to an almost-reasonable £359 for the SE) is basically cutting price conscious customers off from jumping into the Apple ecosystem, and tempt them to upgrade later.

    When I got my SE I looked at Apple then spotted CPW had them for £259 so got one there. Then noticed that JL had them for £230 so shopping around saved me a bit of cash, just not as much as I could have done.

    £449 on the other hand is just a bit too rich for my blood, and CPW have the 7 for £549 which is odd when the SE was lower in price.

    Still, I don't run a trillion doller company, so I'm sure Apple have a solid gameplan. I just don't fully get it, right now...

    Me neither. I now have a family iTunes plan which is another £14.99 a month that I probably wouldn't be bothering without the SE. An iPhone isn't the only reason to get it but it's a strong one. if I were Apple, someone paying £249 for a phone and then another £120 or £180 a year for iTunes makes more sense than someone not paying £449 for the phone.

  16. DougS Silver badge

    I always thought the expectations for this launch were overblown

    There were analysts that seriously expected the new phones including SE 2, new watch, new iPads, new Macs, new AirPods, AND thought Apple would have some sort of surprise. They'd have needed to start at 8am to get through a list that long!

    The SE came out in the spring, I suspect that's when we'd see an SE 2. Maybe they discontinued it to make sure all the resellers run out of stock before they replace it. They probably wouldn't want to get stuck holding thousands of SEs in inventory once the SE 2 is released.

  17. matjaggard


    "iPhone 8 prices started at £699 or £849"

    Well which is it? It a price can't "start at" two values!

  18. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Re: Homework

    "iPhone 8 prices started at £699 or £849"

    Well which is it? It a price can't "start at" two values!

    It's one of those weird, quantum probablistic effects.

    The phone comes with a free cat in the box. When you open the box you find out whether the cat is alive or dead. If the cat is dead then the extra £150 pays for the cat's funeral.

  19. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    Time to buy an SE. My last iPhone, probably. No jack socket and I jump ship to another platform.

  20. Allonymous Coward

    Giffgaff have the 32GB SE for £199 (+ £15 "goodybag" which is their monthly prepay offering & I think you avoid if you're already a subscriber).

    That's as cheap as I've seen them anywhere - I was sorely tempted when in the market for a new phone a few days ago.

  21. Tippis

    Quite so. It has a better form factor than any of the subsequent models and infinitely more clever and elegant security system than any of the modern ones. Of course they had to cut it loose.

  22. DougS Silver badge

    Better jump platforms quick

    Looks like you can add OnePlus to the list pulling the 3.5mm connector, which is expected to be gone on the 6T. They just introduced a $20 USB-C "Bullet" earbud.

    In a couple years, I suspect it will be really hard to find a phone that still includes the 3.5mm jack.

  23. MrMerrymaker

    Re: Better jump platforms quick

    Oneplus have basically lost my custom, and I'm on a 5, I started with the 1, then got the 2 when the 1 got nicked. So you could say I'm a loyal customer. Though...

    - Notch

    - Upward trending prices

    - No headphone socket

    ... Is why my loyalty is gone. Methinks in a couple of years, I'll be looking for a Xiaomi.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I recently got a mint condition A 64GB SE for the wife with little hands, it was £119. Maybe those deals will be hard to find now you can't buy a new one anymore. Lots of people still love the smaller handset.

  25. DougS Silver badge

    You'll be able to buy it for months - a lot of carriers were buying them by the boatload. Dropping the SE before introducing the SE 2 (assuming there will be an SE 2) makes sense so they aren't caught out with tons of inventory that won't be worth nearly as much when the SE 2 is introduced.

  26. armyknife

    Conspicuous consumption FTW.

    Why not just up the price on the next model to that of a small family car and see if it sticks?

  27. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

    Re: Conspicuous consumption FTW.

    I've bought plenty of half decent cars for less than the £1499 of their mobile phone.

  28. Bavaria Blu

    Go AAPL go!

    My modest 7 shares in Apple are up £24 today. Might be a while before I can afford to buy an iphone though!

  29. nanchatte

    Re: Go AAPL go!

    In 2005, a then new friend of mine with a wedge of spare capital was looking to invest in tech although he was not tech savvy. He came to me for some advice about what companies I thought were on the cusp of making it big.

    Apple had just released the Mac mini or something like that, IIRC, and I was somehow convinced that this showed a new, refreshing direction for Apple and that they would suddenly break into the mainstream.

    That sucker only went and bought about 2000 shares in AAPL. (I think he spent $10k at the time).

    You know what they say, a fool and his money are easily parted...

    ...Oh hang on...

  30. MMR


    £1500 for a phone? Sheesh. Not so long ago I sold my perfectly good Nissan for £750.

    I inhereted an iPhone 6S and while I admit it's a very good phone there isn't a lot (if anything) that does better than a much cheaper Android phone.

  31. The Onymous Coward

    Is it just me?

    Apple have now killed off my favourite laptop form factor (the old Macbook Air) and now my favourite phone form factor (iPhone SE)

    I'd have paid good money for a retina Air with 16GB of RAM, and I'd pay good money for a smaller phone with up to date specs, but Apple won't make them. Shirley I'm not alone...?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TL;DR but ...

    it's not a phone. It's a statement. It's a lifestyle choice.

    And while we are rubbing our eyes, it's worth noting the really nasty news underlying this. News that would have politicians shitting in their pants, if politicians had any sort of brain.

    This is the logical progression of "generation rent" (which is not an isolated UK phenomenon).

    When the younger generations realise there's fuck all point in saving for a deposit on a house you'll never buy, then you'll look elsewhere to splash the cash. Why not a £1,500 phone ?

    This is why there's more travel and "year" outing amongst the youth.

  33. DougS Silver badge

    Re: TL;DR but ...

    I was thinking the same thing. Millennials can't afford a house and the ones who live in the city don't even want to own a car. Probably for more than a few an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy is their most valuable possession.

    Besides, like I always say - I use my phone a minimum of two hours a day, and often more. Let's call it 1000 hours a year. Even upgrading every year and throwing your old phone in the trash is only $1/hour, if you upgrade every other year and trade in your old iPhone for 50% of its value I'm looking at 25 cents an hour.

    People pay far more for an RV they only use a couple dozen days a year, or a TV for their patio they only watch while they're grilling.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: TL;DR but ...

    Boy, you geezers sure have swallowed the news media's 'millenial' bashing wholesale.

    The only iPhone users I know are in their mid to late 40s and early 50s...

    But yeah, I don't doubt the iPhone is used by younger folk, but assuming everyone younger is the same?

    This is age, having a go at youth... Shame on you boys for using stereotypes. Neither of your points needed the age-bashing element.

  35. DougS Silver badge

    Re: TL;DR but ...

    I own a business that employs a bunch of 20-somethings, so I'm pretty familiar with them and they do fit most of the stereotypes. Most of them have iPhones, too.

    If you think it is mostly 50 year olds who have iPhones and the younger crowd have Android, you are seeing a totally different demographic than I am in this college town (the students overwhelmingly have iPhones)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: the ones who live in the city don't even want to own a car.

    Aged 22, my lad knows more people who don't have a licence than those who do (including him). Cheaper to Uber everywhere than run a car.

    Again, something that should cause car manufacturers to shit their pants.

  37. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Re: the news media's 'millenial' bashing wholesale.

    Shame you didn't bother to stop and process what the poster was saying. It wasn't a value judgement (although it says a lot about you that you read it as such).

    Seemed a statement of fact to me. Millenials are growing into a world where they won't be able to buy houses (not their fault). They are therefore deciding to spend their money as they see fit, rather than in the manner to which the previous generations would have understood. Again, no judgement.

  38. nanchatte

    I have found my sweet spot and it's two ranks down from bleeding edge Apple gear.

    The iPhone 8 i got last year might be stuffy but in a 2 year contract with Japan Softbank it was half the price of the iPhoneX that a few of my colleagues purchased.

    There was no way I was going to pay an extra 500 smackers in US money for what basically amounted to an OLED screen with a fucking great wedge cut out of it and an infrared LED.

    I'll admit, I have always been liberal with my cash when it comes to tech - and perhaps a bit too liberal when it came to Apple - but recent fruity devices are starting taking the piss even more than usual.

    Sorry, Apple, I moved to the second hand desktop/laptop market after you shat on your techie customers in 2012 by glueing everything together tighter than a nun's chuff so that nothing can be upgraded at home and now it looks like I'm moving to the second hand phone market, too.

    $1T... Mental.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You want HOW much?

    Bwa Hahahahahahahahahahhahhhahhaha


    Not just no but FUCK NO.

  40. ronya_t

    Well, you don't become a trillion dollar company by catering to people's sensible side, do you?

  41. mistergoodbytes

    One area where Samsung exceeds Apple is in digital payments. Apple requires a vendor have Apple Pay, and the same for Android's Google Pay. Samsung Pay requires nothing except that a vendor accept credit cards. This being the US,a lot of old school scan stripe readers are still in use, and Samsung can even use those. More than a couple of US vendors have been extremely amazed that 'You paid with your phone?' meaning that they have little knowledge of the process and will probably not be expanding their payment options any time soon. Samsung does not require them to do so. I really, really like not being trapped in an ecosystem with very limited support, be it Apple or Android.

  42. bygjohn

    This is down to the US being behind on switching to up to date card readers (I believe because the retailer has to buy the kit?).

    In the UK, you can use Apple Pay and Android Pay anywhere you can use a contactless card, which is an awful lot of places these days. Places that don't do contactless are rapidly becoming a novelty here.

    Most retailers have also dropped the £30 limit for devices (not for cards) due to the extra authentication they provide (fingerprint or face recognition).

    There's no lock-in, either (for payments): if you switch phones, you have to deregister cards from the old device anyway and re-register on the new one, so platform is largely immaterial.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And next year's models....

    Will be known as the Wretched Excess, and the Excessively Wretched Excess. And we'll still buy em.

  44. simon gardener

    No surprise the SE vanished

    Exactly one month ago I brought a brand new SE from GiffGaff for £199. Lots of stores were selling it for £250, I think John Lewis had it at £270 while Apple were still pricing it at £350. Apple doesn't give its retailers that much of a margin on their devices so it was clear they were using third parties to clear the supply chain of the SE.

    Its a fantastic device and for someone with fairly small hands like me the only attractive phone in the lineup.

    Hopefully it'll last a good few years :)

  45. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    my SEis just going to have to soldier on.

  46. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Could someone PLEASE allow us the old interface as an option - as I said at the time it was announced in beta - it is CRAP.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fucking peasants.

    Sorry for swearing, but it does make me cross when people delude themselves that the latest beautiful iPhone won’t make their life immeasurably better. Stop moaning, and get in the queue, idiots.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fucking peasants.

    Good to see Jobs has returned from beyond the grave, but you'd think he has better places to haunt.

    Might I recommend the ladies' showers in any gym?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dont get it

    I bought a Lumia 630. Can't remember how much, but cant have been much more than 200AUD, since I am a stingy old git and would refuse to spend much more than that on any phone.

    It still does everything I need it for. Makes calls, SMS, runs the few apps I need, gets great reception in the arse end of Oz. Can be used for web browsing in extremis, but I intensely dislike browsing on any mobile device unless I have no other option.

    The battery still lasts a week between charges and is replaceable when it finally dies. I can add additional storage. It connects directly to my PC to transfer files and has a headphone jack.

    To all the people who will no doubt start criticising for the mere mention of liking Windows phone OS. I really don't care. The UI on my last Android phone (a HTC) was abysmal and I had to charge it daily.

    When the Lumia finally dies I will probably have to hold my nose and get an Android, since I refuse to be tied to Apple and pay these insane prices. Hopefully not for a while though.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I dont get it

    Cool story bro.


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018