iPhone 6s: Don’t assume old iPhones are about to get way cheaper

Angus Kidman 28 August 2015

Will Apple cut Australian prices significantly on its older iPhone models when it announces the iPhone 6s? Don't bet on it.

Apple is holding a press launch on September 9 (September 10 in Australia). It's universally assumed that this will be for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which will become the flagship smartphones for Apple.

iPhone launches follow a predictable pattern. Apple typically has three generations of phones on sale: the flagship with three choices of storage capacity, two models of the previous generation with smaller capacity and a lower price, and a single variant of the model before that, with much less memory and a correspondingly smaller price tag. This is its range and pricing as of August 2015:

iPhone 616GB$999.00
iPhone 664GB$1,149.00
iPhone 6128GB$1,249.00
iPhone 6 Plus16GB$1,149.00
iPhone 6 Plus64GB$1,299.00
iPhone 6 Plus128GB$1,449.00
iPhone 5s16GB$829.00
iPhone 5s32GB$899.00
iPhone 5c8GB$529.00

Presuming Apple follows the same pattern when the 6s and 6s Plus launch, we'll see the iPhone 5c disappear altogether, the 5s will become the entry-level model, and the 6 and 6 Plus will see their prices reduced. However, there's an important caveat.

Apple usually follows the well-established pattern in technology of devices becoming cheaper over time, albeit at a slower rate than for Android phones. But that wasn't the case for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple actually increased the prices for those models in Australia in March this year. The table below shows the differences:

ModelStorageSep 2014 priceMar 2015 price
iPhone 616GB$869.00$999.00
iPhone 664GB$999.00$1,149.00
iPhone 6128GB$1,129.00$1,249.00
iPhone 6 Plus16GB$999.00$1,149.00
iPhone 6 Plus64GB$1,129.00$1,299.00
iPhone 6 Plus128GB$1,249.00$1,449.00

That means that even if Apple cuts $100 off the price of the 16GB iPhone 6, it will still be more expensive than it was when it launched. Given the continued weakness of the Aussie dollar, it's quite possible the cuts will be even smaller. Those high prices haven't deterred buyers. Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 models in a single weekend after launch. So don't hold your breath for big discounts.

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