A Cheap iPhone? Maybe Not!

In recent days, many websites–this one included–have reported rumors of a possible “low-budget” iPhone, a move certain to startle those attracted to the exclusive nature of Apple products, which can be cost-prohibitive to those who don’t truly want them.

Enter Phil Schiller, an Apple executive who handles global marketing, and who is the second most powerful man at the company behind CEO Tim Cook.

Schiller said, “despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products,” a move clearly designed to protect Apple’s integrity, and comforting words for those who have earned their Apple products.

Though many companies may be placating the crowd that wants something for nothing, Apple seems intent on continuing to serve the market which has supported it since its inception: the middle-to-upper class.  That is integrity. After all, nobody wants to hear reports that the iPhone is on sale at the 99-cent store.

Although the world may be spared from cheap products aimed at the poorer markets–thereby potentially ruining the cult-like culture that owners of Apple products enjoy–Apple may sell some of its models for a lower price from time to time, as is happening with the iPhone 4 now that the iPhone 5, and soon iPhone 5S, are out.

That’s fine. That’s what happens to outdated laptops, desktops and even cars. That is a whole different ballgame than offering an iPhone for $200 or less (full price) after years of devoted fans paying already reasonable prices that are up to three times higher.

Walmart will still sell its prepaid iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 models, a move which has the potential to cheapen the concept of Apple ownership, but the world can breathe easily: with a few startling exceptions, the iPhone will remain out of the reach of those who are unwilling or unable to show they truly want iPhone ownership by plopping down a reasonable five or six-hundred of their favorite dollars, a reasonable request indeed.

While it can’t be denied that selling a cheap iPhone would expose the phone to new markets, such as poor neighborhoods in the United States and financially disadvantaged countries around the globe, the iPhone is a proud product intended for the affluent, and that is precisely how it should remain if its integrity is to remain intact.

If plans for cheap iPhones move forward, the phone could run the risk of becoming like a BlackBerry…the product that means nothing because everyone got one. No Apple fanboy wants that.

There’s nothing wrong with global expansion. Apple is a corporation that is known around the world, after all. The company plans to expand its presence in China, and that’s wonderful.

The Chinese have every right to enjoy Apple products just like the rest of the world, if they’re willing to pay for the privilege, just like the rest of us.

But in the real world, things cost. Wonderful things cost a lot. Paying the price, whether it’s for a cell phone or any other product, shows one is serious about ownership.

No one in their right frame of mind would deny that the iPhone is a wonderful thing, and that’s going to cost. There’s a reason that one would be hard-pressed to find an iPhone free of charge, even with a two-year contract: such a move would cheapen the concept of iPhone ownership.

Hardly anyone would claim that the price points thus far for the iPhone are unreasonable, so there’s no reason to offer a free iPhone. Most people sign a contract and as a result enjoy a subsidy, taking home an iPhone for $200 or less.

That’s the perk of being a responsible consumer who has shown himself responsible and respectful enough to step up and sign a contract. iPhone ownership is a privilege, a sacred privilege. Ownership should not be cheapened or mocked by “cheap” price points, which is fine for the 99-cent store crowd, but is absolutely not acceptable for iPhone hipsters.

Those who want to go the prepaid route, however, should pay for the privilege, paying full price. If a customer feels that signing a contract is beneath them, then they should prove they want an iPhone by paying $600 or slightly more. No one’s going to subsidize them if they won’t sign on the dotted line. That’s not just the way it is in the cell phone market, but in life.

A “cheap” smartphone would lessen the consumer experience for those in both realms, and it’s comforting to see that–at least for the moment–Apple plans to continue respecting its customers by refusing to make such a notion a reality.


[via: Washington Post]

Photo source: Ubergizmo

The preceding article is an opinion/editorial piece which reflects the opinions and observations of its author.  iPhone Alley and its management do not necessarily share the same views.