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Apple is expected to cross $1,000 in its next edition of the iPhone–will consumers be willing to pay the extra money? We reached out for their responses, on #TalkingTech.

LOS ANGELES — It’s a fact that iPhones have gotten more expensive every year, now topping off at a whopping $969 for an iPhone 7 Plus with 256 GB of storage.

So the 10th anniversary iPhone, the next model, expected to be massively re-designed and packed with state-of-the-art technology, could sell for as much as $1,200 to $1,400, according to some estimates. At which point you’ve got to wonder, will people actually pay that kind of money for an iPhone?

Yes, and happily, reports Tim Bajarin, an Apple analyst and president of Creative Strategies. “It will fly off the shelves.”

First reason, the bragging rights: Bajarin expects the 10th anniversary edition to have an OLED screen (brighter, more colorful), a bigger, thinner body, the best (new and improved) smartphone camera and more graphics and computing power.

It’s the extra cost of the bigger, OLED screen, plus expanded storage, that could push the top of the line iPhone to the $1,200 to $1,400 range, he says. Apple is also expected to update the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models with similar size bodies and new features.

Of course, many people opt for the smaller, lighter versions — the least storage, and the non-Plus model. For instance, the smaller, 4.7-inch iPhone 7, with 32 GB of storage, is $649 — $320 less than the biggest, most fully loaded current iPhone.

And if you ponder the thought, why not charge more for the ultra-premium model? Apple has a new computer coming out later this year that will sell for $5,000. Hotel rooms  that used to cost $100 are now $200 and up. Many people drop $100,000 on Tesla cars when $20,000 Toyota Corollas run just fine.

Unlike all of those, we live with our iPhones. We wake up with them, we spend more time with them than our own families, we put them by our bed at night. A new iPhone for roughly $4 a day for the first year?

A case could be made.

We went out and asked consumers if they were ready to step up and were surprised that we actually got as many yeahs as we got nays.

“Absolutely,” said Ben Sugarman, a bookkeeper in Los Angeles. “It’s worth it.” 

“People will come up to me and say, `Wow, I want that new iPhone—and you’ve got it.”

Josh Srinka, who works in insurance, said he was “committed” to buying one, and upgrading from his iPhone 6. “As technology evolves, everything gets more expensive. The iPhone is an integral part of my life. You walk around with a computer in your pocket.”

But student Mayra Alvarado is in the “never” camp. “No way—too expensive,” she says. “It’s just not worth it.”

The first iPhone sold for $599 in 2007, then $399, and eventually we started getting used to subsidized pricing from the wireless carriers that resulted in a price tag of $200 for a two-year contract. This masked the real price of the handset, which was factored into monthly wireless payments.

Now, even though many carriers offer leasing deals, the base price of the iPhones is steep—the 7 starts at $769, while the previous edition is available starting at $699. (Rival phones like the Samsung Galaxy S series or Google’s Pixel aren’t cheap either—the loaded Pixel XL is $869 and the top of the line Galaxy S8+ is $824.) 

“Early adopters are always willing to spend more, to be first,” says Bajarin. “In Apple’s defense, the costs of materials will be high, so this needs to be priced as a premium. And remember, whatever Apple does, regardless of price, they’ll sell out every one they make, and be backordered.”

The new iPhone is expected to be introduced in September, at a splashy event in the San Francisco area.

 


Meanwhile, in other big tech news this week: 

Say it isn’t so–ads are coming to Facebook Messenger. It won’t happen overnight, but Facebook said some members of the 1.2 billion strong Messenger app will start to see ads shortly. If you find this intrusive, remember that there are other messaging apps out there as well, like Apple’s ad-free iMessage, the Japan cult favorite Line (which does have ads) and Facebook’s WhatsApp, which so far hasn’t shipped ads to all its users.  

Amazon’s Prime Day – The E-tailer’s Christmas in July made up holiday was bigger than Black Friday or Cyber Monday for Amazon, which said they surged 60% from a year earlier. The bargains seemed wanting to us, for the most of the part, unless you wanted Amazon goodies like the Echo speaker ($90, down from $179) or the best-seller of the day, the smaller Dot speaker, $35, down from $50. 

Jawbone disappears– The consumer products company, best known for fitness trackers and bluetooth speakers, began liquidating without a word to the public, and customers were furious. “I hate Jawbone,” Melissa Camman of Utica, NY told us. “I am so mad at them.” Be sure to tune in to my #TalkingTech podcastand hear how the tell-tale signs of Jawbone’s demise were all there for folks to see, just by reading the Amazon reviews.

Waze – Stay left! Turn right! The fun navigation app added a silly feature this week. Now, you can ditch the voice that reads you directions and add in your own instead. But folk, if you try this, play it straight. You’ll be glad you did. Click the link to read all about it, listen and watch as I check out the app update. 

Verizon — And what would a tech week be without one huge data breach, right? 

The names, addresses and phone numbers of millions of Verizon customers were publicly exposed online by one of the company’s vendors. Verizon says about 6 million customer accounts were made publicly available when an employee of Nice Systems put information into a cloud storage area and permitted external access to the information. What to do if you’re a Verizon customer?

 


Our audio week in tech:

—TalkingTech recently had a fabulous vacation in the Canadian Rockies, where we brought all sorts of fun camera gear, but we mistakenly left a vital traveling tool at home—the GoPro. Listen to why that won’t happen again.  

Waze. Having fun with the new Voice Recorder in the Waze app, which lets you record directions.  

Jawbone. If you’re going to buy consumer products, read the online reviews. The ones for Jawbone have been brutal for the last year, and a good window into how the company wasn’t responding to consumer complaints.

Siri and apps. It was a great idea: Apple’s Siri comes to apps, and out of that experience, becomes more useful and more relevant. But alas, the grand experiment just didn’t work out. Apple made the move in 2016, and since then, very few app developers have taken the bait. Of the top 50 most downloaded apps, only 6 work fully with Siri. 

—Accessories for photographing the August Eclipse. Better start preparing for the biggest photo event of the year, the August 21, Total Eclipse. I run down the glasses and filters you’ll need for this once-in-a-lifetime event. 

—This week’s show: consumers tell why they don’t think spending $1,400 for a new iPhone is really that crazy. 

 

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the new #TalkingTech newsletterusat.ly/2qaIVVQ, the #TalkingTech podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Tunein and wherever else you like to hear great online audio. and follow me on Twitter, @jeffersongraham and on Facebook.com/jefferson_graham. While you’re at Apple Podcasts, don’t forget to rate and review the #TalkingTech podcast.