What is the first thing you notice about holding an iPhone X in your hand? No, it’s not Face ID. It might be the screen’s vibrant colors. It could also be the screen’s rounded corners. No, it’s something else.
Size. iPhone X is smaller than iPhone 8 Plus, or any previous Plus model iPhone. Notably smaller. In fact, it’s just a shade longer and thinner than iPhone 6, 6s, 7, or 8– Apple’s smaller iPhone models for the past few years. That got me to think about price.
Less For More
Apple has done something very clever with iPhone X. Yes, it’s a great smartphone. Face ID works as advertised. The OLED display even makes Samsung’s Galaxy OLED displays look over saturated and unreal in a Kodachrome way. iPhone X fits well in your hand. The Notch is not as distracting as expected.
Beyond the obvious, what did Apple do to make iPhone X so special? The price tag.
iPhone X starts at $999 and because the screen has more pixels and is longer than the iPhone 8 Plus screen– 5.8-inches vs. 5.5-inches– we think we’re getting more screen and advanced technology for a couple of hundred dollars more.
Yes, iPhone X has Face ID, OLED display, micro-bezels, but this really is more of an iPhone 8 size. iPhone 8 starts at $699. That’s $300 less than iPhone X’s base model. Apple differentiates iPhones via models as it always has– SE, 6s and 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus– by age and storage. The new iPhone 8 is about the same size as iPhone X but is priced $300 less.
What about next year? Now you’ll see how sneaky Apple is about price.
Assume that iPhone X circa 2018 starts at $999 again. What will the price be on the larger 6-ish-inch screen iPhone X Plus model? It’s likely to start at least $100 more than iPhone X in 2017, so $1,099.
See what just happened?
Apple’s new iPhone X is not a Plus-sized iPhone but it has a price tag great– not by much– than last year or this year’s Plus-sized iPhones. That means next year iPhone X Plus will be priced even higher and those of us who love iPhone X 2017 but who want the larger screen real estate in iPhone Plus models will pay more money.
Apple’s pricing is oh so clever.
The problem is screen real estate. iPhone 8 Plus, and all plus models before it, has more usable screen space than iPhone X 2017 even if the latter has more pixels and a longer diagonal measurement.
Here in 2017 and for most of 2018 Apple’s iPhone X customers will lap up the 5.8-inch OLED display not fully aware that the usable screen is smaller than an iPhone 6s Plus from four model years ago.
What do we want next year? iPhone X Plus. We’ll get it. We’ll pay more for it.