UPDATE: Apple lowered the iPhone 12 price for T-Mobile/Sprint subscribers on Friday.
The prices Apple promotes for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini aren’t for everyone. Subscribers to T-Mobile/Sprint must pay $30 more. The same goes for anyone who wants an unlocked unit.
This isn’t the case for the iPhone 12 Pro series.
Although Apple announced Tuesday that the iPhone 12 price is $799 and the iPhone 12 mini is $699, those prices are just for people who’ll connect the handsets to AT&T or Verizon. Other buyers have to pay $829 for the iPhone 12 or $729 for the iPhone 12 mini.
Apple isn’t hiding this difference, but it’s not calling attention to it. One the Apple Store page for these handsets, the prices given first are the lower ones. Only when customers scroll down to choose a carrier version do they see that the prices for T-Mobile and Sprint (which are really the same company now) are $30 higher.
It’s not known why there’s a cost difference between carriers. One possibility is that AT&T and Verizon are subsidizing the iPhone 12 to encourage user of their new 5G networks. If that’s true, it’s not clear why there’s no reduction in price for the iPhone 12 Pro models, as they also have 5G.
Not the only iPhone 12 price rise
This extra charge for some customers isn’t the only price hike to affect the iPhone 12. Even at $799, it’s 15% more than the model it replaces. 2019’s iPhone 11 debuted at $699. That’s $100 less than the 2020 model.
The new device going in the $699 slot is the iPhone 12 mini. While this model will surely attract customers, the significant reduction in screen size — from 6.1 inches down to 5.4 inches — means this isn’t a true successor to the iPhone 11.