Steve Jobs saw fit to ballyhoo the price reduction for the iPhone 3G when he announced it at WWDC earlier this month, calling his newest release “twice as fast at half the price.” On the surface of it, $199 for the 8GB and $299 for the 16GB versions seems a grand gesture from the company that charged the phone’s earliest adopters $599 for the 8GB model.
It wasn’t long before plenty of people had figured out that, when the true costs of not only buying the phone but putting it into service with AT&T were factored in, the 3G model is actually a bit more expensive than iPhones purchased after the initial price reduction to $399 for the 8GB model last September.
AppleInsider reports today that approximately ten percent of iPhone 3G buyers are likely to be international pre-paid subscribers who’ll find themselves paying in excess of $600 for the touch screen handset.
Softbank, the carrier that won the coveted right to sell the iPhone in Japan, said Monday it will sell for 23,040 yen (US$215) comparable to the marked down U.S. price for the hit device. However, whether the announced price will be seen as a discount by Japanese gadget fans is still unclear, because subscribers to Japan’s 3rd largest cellular provider will see the cost of their phone bills reduced over a two year period to reflect the published price of the phone itself.
While the pricing picture for the iPhone may be somewhat fuzzy from the consumer’s viewpoint, financial analysts and investment advisers are seeing clear-cut indications of profitable days ahead for Apple once the new phones hit the market. The Piper Jaffray analyst detailing pre-paid subscriber costs in the AppleInsider article maintains a buy rating on Apple’s stock, with a price target of $250 per share, and Barron’s reports more bullish indications from Pacific Crest’s Andy Hargreaves, who sees $225-$235 per share based on a relatively modest prediction of 15.5 million units sold in 2009.