Apple just announced its iPhone 12 lineup today. The company seems to be quite proud to offer the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini at a significantly lower price than its flagship Pros. But there’s a catch.
At Apple’s “Hi, Speed” virtual press event, the company unveiled its newest iPhones. The lower-end iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are a good deal cheaper than the Pro models. The standard model is $799, and the Mini is $699. These price points are a good deal lower than the $999 and $1,099 Pro versions.
However, what Apple did not mention in its keynote was that the starting prices for the iPhone 12 and the Mini only apply to AT&T and Verizon subscribers. For everyone else, the two devices start at $829 and $729, respectively. In other words, if you are a T-Mobile or Sprint customer, or if you just want an unlocked iPhone 12, you are going to pay $30 more for that privilege. This “instant discount” does not apply to the Pros, which are the same price no matter what carrier you have.
In Apple’s press release for its budget phones, it had a footnote regarding the pricing. The fine print reads, “Price includes a $30 AT&T or Verizon discount. Requires activation with carrier.” It also listed some limitations on the trade-in pricing noting that exchanges will vary on the condition and model of the iPhone being turned in, but this is pretty standard and expected.
What was not expected was that Apple would put such a price discrepancy as a small footnote. It’s not like $30 is going to break anyone’s bank. It could have been forthright by saying the phones are $729 and $829 and then mentioned a discount for AT&T and Verizon customers, and nobody would have batted an eye.
The reasoning probably lies with the old marketing strategy of marking products down a dollar or a penny less to make it look cheaper. Subliminally, $799 looks much cheaper than $800 even though there is only a a one dollar difference. Still, the way it was handled looks a bit underhanded and misleading. It’s not a good look for a company in the middle of antitrust battles on all fronts.