Millions of iPhone users looking to upgrade their devices are waiting for the 10th anniversary iPhone. The anniversary edition could be called iPhone 8 or iPhone X or something else. The name isn’t that important. What really matters is that the iPhone 8 would bring the most radical design changes since the original iPhone. Another important thing is the iPhone 8 price.
New features/components to lead to the iPhone 8 price hike
So, how much is it going to cost? Back in February, Fast Company reported that the iPhone 8 could be the first iPhone to cost upward of $1,000. Later, Japanese publication Nikkei also claimed the 10th anniversary iPhone would have above-$1,000 price tag. Don’t panic, not all storage variants of the device would cost in four figures. Before jumping onto what Wall Street analysts expect the iPhone 8 price to be, let’s first look at why it will be the most expensive iPhone.
Numerous leaks have confirmed that the iPhone 8 would switch from LCD to a bezel-less OLED display panel. The device is also rumored to have exciting new features such as wireless charging and a 3D sensing module for facial recognition and augmented reality applications. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be integrated into the display. The physical home button will be replaced by a virtual home key with a new function area.
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All these features are only going to increase the manufacturing costs for Apple, which the company would eventually pass on to customers. For instance, DigiTimes recently reported that TPK Holdings would charge between $18-$22 per unit for integrating 3D Touch into the iPhone 8’s display. That’s a nearly 150% jump in the cost compared to just $7-$9 for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
TPK Holdings quoted a higher price, and Apple accepted it, because integrating 3D Touch into an OLED panel requires a more complex process than integrating it into the LCD panel. According to Goldman Sachs, the OLED display itself will add $35 to the iPhone 8’s manufacturing cost. The 3D sensing module is estimated to increase the bill of materials by $20, and the upgraded memory will add another $16-$29.
The new features are easily going to add more than $100 to the cost. Considering the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus already sells at $969, we wouldn’t be surprised if the iPhone 8 price goes above $1,000. Apple is unlikely to compromise on its industry-leading profit margins.
iPhone 8 price: What the Wall Street expects
Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski expects the iPhone 8 to be available in 128GB and 256GB storage options. There will be no 32GB and 64GB variants. Jankoski predicts the 128GB version would cost users $999 while the 256GB model would be priced at $1,099. The analyst said in a research note last month that the iPhone 8’s bill of materials would be at least $70 more than that of the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple will offset it by increasing the phone’s price by $130.
UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich also believes that the iPhone 8 deserves a premium over the iPhone 7 Plus. However, he expects the device to cost less than what Simona Jankowski predicts. Milunovich told investors last week that the iPhone 8 price would start at $870 for the base model and go up to $1,070 for the 256GB variant.
It is difficult to say whose prediction would turn out to be correct. But we can say with certainty that it would be more expensive than the iPhone 7 Plus, and price for the highest storage option would go above $1,000.
Will people buy such an expensive phone?
Now a big question is: Will customers pay such a huge amount for the iPhone 8? Absolutely, says Steven Milunovich. The analyst expects the iPhone 8 to account for at least 45% of the new iPhone sales.
When Apple launched the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus last year, it significantly underestimated the demand. The iPhone 7 Plus, despite its higher price tag, was out of stock for weeks. Apple’s sales have been declining in China, but the iPhone 7 Plus continues to fly off the shelves. Its success proved that customers would happily pay a higher amount if a phone has incredible features. That’s why analysts believe that the iPhone 8’s price tag won’t hurt its sales.
Last month, Morgan Stanley conducted a survey to gauge people’s interest in the upcoming iPhones. The research firm found that 92% of the current iPhone owners were planning to upgrade to the next-gen iPhones over the next 12 months. The current iPhone installed base is more than 715 million. Most of them are using the iPhone 6S or older, and are looking to upgrade this year.
iPhone 8 release date
This is one of the most debated topics in the Apple community. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty says she has “not yet seen delays in the supply chain,” suggesting that the iPhone 8 production is going as per schedule. And then there is KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is almost certain that the iPhone 8 production won’t ramp up until October/November.
Kuo says Apple is struggling with a few technical challenges, including the integration of Touch ID into the display. Apple may need more time to overcome these hurdles, which could potentially delay the iPhone 8 launch. Even if Apple unveils the device alongside the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus in September, it will likely face supply shortages during the first few weeks.
Twitter tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer, more popularly known as @OnLeaks, has learned from his sources that the iPhone 8 is on track to enter mass production in August. The device would launch in September without any delay, claims Hemmerstoffer. He has a proven track record when it comes to leaking details of the upcoming Apple products. He reported that Foxconn has already started hiring staff in preparation for the iPhone 8 production.
According to my sources: DVT started last month. PVT will start between June and July. Final mass production in August for September launch. https://t.co/2M2YyMjyi8
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) May 11, 2017
It won’t be a huge surprise if the iPhone 8 gets delayed by a few weeks. Apple has to put all the pieces together and then ensure that each component could be produced in large quantities, which is a major challenge if you are introducing a series of new technologies with a single phone. Even if there is a delay, Apple will certainly make the 10th anniversary available before the crucial holiday shopping season.