iPhone Price Index reveals true cost of our precious devices

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Customers in the UAE pay more for iPhones according to the iPhone Price Index
Happy customers in Dubai pick up their iPhone X in 2017. According to the iPhone Price Index, the cost of owning an iPhone in the UAE rose 123 percent.
Photo: Apple

To a British Apple fan, a new iPhone is 133 percent more expensive than it was when the iPhone first launched in 2007.

In Ireland, it’s only 2 percent.

A new iPhone Price Index tracks actual price changes based on real-world affordability after inflation. The guide, created by Darren Kingman of the credit monitoring service Self Lender, is modeled after The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which measures purchasing-power-parity between countries using the popular burger to tell the story of currency levels.

iPhone Price Index: a deeper dive into the cost

In the United States, the cost of the iPhone rose 54 percent. Joining Ireland on the low side is the Philippines (4 percent) and Poland (10 percent). On the high side, Sweden, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil are above 120 percent.

“Essentially, we all know the price of an iPhone has increased massively over the years, but here I wanted to look at how those prices changes are really felt country to country,” Kingman told Cult of Mac. He lives in the UK, the most expensive place for iPhone users on the index, and it’s “really shocking as iPhones are a staple phone and more so in 2019 than it was in 2007-2008 by far.

“It’s like buying Bitcoin at an all-time high without knowing it.”

Apple has been criticized for high iPhone prices from the beginning. But its popularity helped Apple reach a temporary $1 trillion market value.

Apple says the iPhone is not cheap to produce but recently acknowledged price concerns. After a terrible quarter in 2018, CEO TIM Cook said the company will “rethink” its prices.

The research for the iPhone Price Index documents the launch prices for each flagship iPhone in each country. It doesn’t consider the cost of an iPhone through network contracts.

Kingman also compared the GDP (PPP) per capita for each country since 2007 and the currency exchange rates. He converted the figures to U.S. dollars as a way to understand country-to-county costs.

The difference between the UK and Ireland has to do with purchasing power and how wages keep up with a rising cost of living. Ireland’s economy grew faster than the UK’s during the life of the iPhone, Kingman said.

You can check out an interactive map here that shows the rise of iPhone costs from country to country after inflation.