The iPhone 7 is available to pre-order starting tomorrow, but we’ve got some seriously bad news for UK customers.
Apple has disproportionately hiked the price of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the UK, when compared to its 2016 handset cohort. This decision means UK customers will be paying over the odds for Apple’s new devices in the UK, where iPhone prices have now risen to their highest point in history.
When the iPhone 6S launched in the US, it was priced at $649. And as expected, the new iPhone 7 also costs $649 in the US. By contrast, the iPhone 6S launched at £539 in the UK, which is far lower than the iPhone 7 release price of £599 – that’s a £60 hike.
And it’s the same story for the iPhone 7 Plus.
In the US, the iPhone 6S Plus cost $749, while the iPhone 7 Plus costs $769 – a meagre $20 rise. But UK customers who paid £619 for the iPhone 6S Plus will now have to hand over £719 for the iPhone 7 Plus – that’s an incredible £100 price rise.
Apple's new handsets are the most expensive iPhones ever
One possible reason for the price rise could be the new storage tiers on offer. With last year’s iPhones, storage options included 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB, but Apple’s iPhone 7 tiers have now changed to 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. But as Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CSS Insight, told TrustedReviews earlier this year, Apple pays very little for smartphone storage:
“The cost of memory keeps dropping all the time. So the marginal cost for Apple to put that really huge memory allocation in the phone would be minimal, and it would make a lot of sense.”
In fact, analysts at IHS believe it cost Apple just $6 (£4.50) for 16GB of the NAND flash memory used in the iPhone 6S. And for a 64GB iPhone, it cost Apple an extra $17 (£13). But that hardly explains the 11% price rise for the iPhone 7, nor the 16% price rise for the iPhone 7 Plus.
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A better explanation for the jacked-up pricing may be Britain’s recent currency fluctuations. After the result of the UK’s EU Referendum in June, the Sterling-to-Dollar exchange rate was thrown into flux, seeing the value of the pound quickly falling to 30-year lows. A single pound now gets you $1.34, which is far below the $1.50 it would have netted you prior to the Brexit vote result.
In fact, it was these same tumultuous market conditions that caused OnePlus to increase the price of the new OnePlus 3 smartphone from £309 to £329 for UK customers back in July. At the time, a OnePlus spokesperson said:
“We’ve seen a downward trend for the Pound against the USD over the past few months. While we’ve held off action for as long as we can, the sharp drop witnessed in the currency markets following the Brexit decision has forced us to re-evaluate the OnePlus 3’s pricing in the UK at a time of significant demand."
It seems that Apple may be following a similar tactic; after all, the company’s end-game finances are managed in US dollars. But it’s clear that UK customers will find the iPhone 7 prices – the most expensive of which is £919 – seriously tough to chew.
We’ve asked Apple for comment on the disparity, and will update this article with any response.
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Watch: iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus – What's the difference?
What do you think of the new iPhone 7? Let us know in the comments.