The latest report from Taiwanese industry analyst Trendforce (opens in new tab) includes some great news about the iPhone 13’s rumored battery life compared to the weak performance of the current generation, but also has encouraging words about the supposed pricing of Apple’s upcoming handsets.
“As for retail prices, the iPhone 13 series is expected to remain similar to the iPhone 12 series assuming Apple is able to effectively control manufacturing costs, since the latest models do not come with significant hardware upgrades,” the report reads.
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“Similar” tends to be interchangeable with “identical” in these kinds of predictions, because companies favor round numbers, and the jump involved to the next tier up would probably no longer be describable as “similar.” So for the moment, let’s assume that’s the case: that would give the following pricing:
|iPhone 13 mini||$699||$749||$849||N/A|
|iPhone 13 Pro||N/A||$999||$1,099||$1,299|
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||N/A||$1,099||$1,199||$1,399|
What’s perhaps more interesting about these numbers, if they turn out to be accurate, is what the static pricing could do to the existing iPhones on sale. Apple couldn’t very well continue to sell the iPhone 12 at its current price if the iPhone 13 eclipses it, so we should expect a cut there. If the current iPhone 11 pricing is the benchmark, we can hopefully expect to see the iPhone 12 start at $599. That, in turn, could have a knock-on effect, and make the iPhone 11 take the iPhone XR’s current $499 price.
There is plenty of speculation here, but it may all be moot anyway: if the ongoing global chip shortage impacts Apple in the same way every other company is being hit, then stock shortages may mean a field day for scalpers. We’ve already seen eBay vendors take advantage of weak PS5 stock with enormous markups, and the iPhone 13 could suffer the same fate, regardless of Apple’s intended pricing.
The company has previously told investors that there would be “supply constraints during the September quarter” that would “primarily impact iPhone and iPad.”
That said, Apple has a certain insulation against such external factors on account of building its own chips, with Tim Cook stating that the aforementioned supply constraints were largely for “legacy nodes” rather than the company’s own silicon.
This reassurance was given before a gas contamination hit Apple’s production line, of course. Whether or not this particular incident seriously affected Apple’s output — and the indications are that it didn't — it is a timely reminder that making your own chips may solve one problem, but leaves you vulnerable to a whole set of others.
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