Apple has long been the undisputed king of the profits of the smartphone industry, taking by far the biggest share of the profit cake. Indeed, at one point, Apple – by a measure eccentric indeed – made more than 100% of profits, taking into account the deficit brands.
IPhones have also always been the most expensive smartphones, lowering insignificant promotions like Vertu. Even when Samsung had theoretically matched or surpassed Apple's prices for its flagship products, its offerings were generally significantly reduced 2-3 months after its launch.
But all that changes …
Bloomberg has put together a very interesting picture (below) of the rise in smartphone's flagship prices over the years.
Samsung was technically the first to break the four-digit mark, with the leading version of the Galaxy 6 Edge in 2015. But it's Apple who launched shamelessly a new model whose price without taxes start at $ 999.
Many eyebrows were raised at the price, even more so when last year's list of players reached nearly $ 1,500. Some took pleasure in adopting a line "tell you" while Apple was well below its initial forecast for the holiday quarter.
Apple has been forced to react by combining takeover agreements, additional monthly payment plans and a reduction in iPhone prices in some foreign markets.
And yet, far from leaving the rest of the industry a good lesson to draw, some brands believe they can still raise their prices. Samsung has even crossed the $ 1,500 mark with its most expensive model, the Galaxy S10 +.
And then there are folding phones on sale this year. The Galaxy Fold, whose advertised availability date is April, is close to $ 2,000. Huawei Mate X to go on sale in second half departures at an amazing price of $ 2600!
With these types of prices emerging this year, iPhones are starting to look cheap.
But there is a trap
Many think that folding phones are the future. In fact, an analyst considers the Fold as potentially "the main challenge" for Apple: offer a feature not yet offered by iPhone and leave Samsung a step ahead of Apple in terms of the price it orders for its model top of the line.
But I am less gung-ho. I absolutely think that folding phones have a future, as I said last year.
I can see the company doing exactly the same thing as the iPhone X with a foldable iPhone. Launch a high-end collapsible iPhone at a higher price than more conventional models, allowing consumers to choose to switch the same day or wait for technology to become more affordable in the following years.
I certainly saw myself buying a collapsible iPhone – I like cell phones, but also big screens, so that would be the best of both worlds.
But apart from admiring the technical success, I'm not sold at all on the Galaxy Fold.
In its closed form, it is a pretty bulky device. In fact, it is not very different from the flip-flops I used at the time of the pre-iPhone. And the huge forehead and chin on the front also contribute to an old-fashioned appearance.
I will not buy one, and I would not even do it if it worked on iOS. It's just too much money for a clumsy device. There is more than one reason why Samsung launched the Fold now, which is why it can claim to have been the first on the market (although Royole can dispute the complaint).
I am even less persuaded by Huawei's senseless scratch magnet.
I do not expect that one or the other phone is a commercial success – and in truth, I guess Samsung and Huawei share this view. At present, they mean that they've been pioneers of a new innovative technology, and they wish the halo effect of this technology helps sell models to more realistic prices.
Thus, the pricing that potentially makes iPhones cheaper is rather artificial. These are not prices that many will pay, and we can not even compare an innovative, clumsy first generation technology to the iPhone XS / Plus. I mean, it's a very good phone, but for now, it's not very different from competing models. All major brands have a version of a phone almost without glasses with an OLED screen and a superb camera.
The mere (promised) existence of super-prizes on folding phones does not change Apple's position, and the company seems to be aware of it.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said Apple was "very conscious" of price concerns over its products.
"We do not want to be an elitist society," said Williams earlier this month, during an appearance at Elon University, according to the Times News from Burlington, North Carolina. "We want to be an egalitarian company, and we have a lot of work going on in developing markets."
That's what I think; as always, please share yours in the comments.
Check 9to5Mac on YouTube for more information on Apple: