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UPDATE: Apple may test the bounds of iPhone love with a $1,000 model

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Just how much are you willing to pay for the latest iPhone? How does $1,000 sound?

On Tuesday, Apple is expected to unveil a dramatically redesigned iPhone at the first product event it’s holding at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. True to its secretive ways, Apple hasn’t confirmed what it will be announcing, though a financial forecast issued last month telegraphed something significant in the pipeline.

The souped-up “anniversary” iPhone, which would come a decade after Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first version, could also cost twice what the original iPhone did. It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.

What a thousand bucks will buy

Various leaks have indicated the new phone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or “bezel,” that currently surrounds most phone screens.

It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet, too.

All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than $1,000, but Apple’s sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible — and worth the extra expense.

“Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.

Why phones cost more, not less

Various leaks have indicated the new phone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or “bezel,” that currently surrounds most phone screens.

It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet, too.

Apple is expected to demand $1,000 for the fanciest iPhone that it has ever made, thrusting the market into a new financial frontier that will test how much consumers are willing to pay for a device that has become an indispensable part of modern life. (Sept. 11)

All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than $1,000, but Apple’s sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible — and worth the extra expense.

“Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.

The luxury-good challenge

Longtime Apple expert Gene Munster, now managing partner at research and venture capital firm Loup Ventures, predicts 20 percent of the iPhones sold during the next year will be the new $1,000 model.

Wireless carriers eager to connect with Apple’s generally affluent clientele are likely to either sell the iPhone at a discount or offer appealing subsidies that spread the cost of the device over two to three years to minimize the sticker shock, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

Even if Munster’s sales forecast holds true, it still shows most people either can’t afford or aren’t interested in paying that much for a smartphone.

That’s one reason Apple also is expected to announce minor upgrades to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. That will make it easier for Apple to create several different pricing tiers, with the oldest model possibly becoming available for free with a wireless contract.

But the deluxe model virtually assures that the average price of the iPhone — now at $606 versus $561 three years ago — will keep climbing. That runs counter to the usual tech trajectory in which the price of electronics, whether televisions or computers, falls over time.

“The iPhone has always had a way of defying the law of physics,” Munster said, “and I think it will do it in spades with this higher priced one.”



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