iPhone prices can go higher, Apple CEO Tim Cooks tells investors

Notoriously expensive iPhones will soon get even pricier, if four words from Apple boss Tim Cook are to be believed.

Speaking at a recent earnings call, the CEO told listeners that fans are desperate to get their hands on the best-selling item – and are willing to pay top dollar to pick up the best model they possibly can.

After being questioned about the rising cost of iPhones, and whether endless increases were sustainable, Mr Cook replied by saying the technology had become an essential part of users’ day-to-day lives.

“The iPhone has become so integral into people’s lives,” he said.

“I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category.”

Those four key words – “best they can afford” – have been interpreted as a clear sign of yet another price rise in the near future, with Bloomberg noting his comment “could be quite telling about the company’s future”.

When the top-of-the-range iPhone X was released in Australia in 2017, they cost $A1579 for the 64GB iPhone X, while the 256GB iPhone X cost $1829.

When the iPhone 14 Pro Max reached Aussie shores last September, the starting price was $A1899 for the 128GB version, while the 1 terabyte option retailed for a staggering $A2769.

But according to Mr Cook, not only will Apple fans keep lining up for iPhones despite the steep price point, they’re also likely to continue paying more and more for them in future.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has been quietly considering adding a “higher-end iPhone” to its line-up, and has been adding features to premium models in order to differentiate between them and the more standard products.

There’s also widespread speculation that Apple is planning to launch a new top-end brand, the Ultra – a name the company has already used for its smartwatch and the top-tier version of its M1 processor.

Alternatively, Apple could opt to add a new high-end model above its Pro models, which could come to pass next year, when the 2024 iPhone is slated to be released.

The speculation comes after a horror few months for the tech juggernaut, which was massively impacted by China’s zero-Covid policy.

Last month, Apple shares plunged by more than 4 per cent in one day, with Apple going into 2023 with a market value below $US2 trillion ($A2.9 trillion) for the first time since early 2021.

It means the company saw a staggering $US1 trillion ($A1.45 trillion) wiped out in just one year, joining Amazon which became the first public company to ever lose more than $US1 trillion ($A1.45 trillion) in value in November 2022.

The dramatic share price plunge came after a report from Nikkei Asia sparked concerns about demand for Apple items.

According to the report, Apple allegedly contacted suppliers to request they build fewer parts for certain best-selling products such as AirPods, Apple Watch and MacBooks.

Recently, investors have also been worried about Apple’s capacity to keep up with demand for some items after China’s Covid lockdowns and policy uncertainty wreaked havoc with production and supply chains.

Late last year, an insider claimed Apple was set to face a staggering shortfall of six million iPhone Pros – its most popular product – as a result of spiralling Covid lockdown chaos in China.

Foxconn, Apple’s main subcontractor, had locked down its huge factory in Zhengzhou in October as a result of surging Covid cases, in line with China’s former zero-Covid policy – a move which at one point was costing the tech giant $A1.5 billion a week.

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