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The iPhone experience may get a little sweeter

As Apple mulls over cuts to its Mac prices, iPhone partner AT&T is also looking to trim the contract prices on the Apple iPhone in the U.S.  The new decrease would reportedly accompany a new version of the handset hardware, that is widely expected to launch in June, along with Apple's new iPhone operating system.

Michael Cote of Cote Collaborative says that his inside connections at both companies reveal that there is a "strong possibility" that the price of the iPhone's introductory plan will be cut from $69 to $59.  He expects the cut to be announced, along with a new iPhone, at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 8.

The iPhone currently retails for $200 which is in line with its smartphone competitors.  However, the total cost of basic ownership -- the price of an 8GB phone and 24 months of the most basic iPhone voice and data plan -- amounts to a whopping total of $1,856.  A cut would sweeten the deal, dropping this slight to around $1,600.

Apple's previous cost cut proved to be very effective.  An early cost cut from $599 to $399 propelled the iPhone to sales of 4 million units in 2007.  A second cut in 2008, with the release of the 3G iPhone, saw even greater success, boosting sales to 17 million units.

Cost cutting is a painful, but growing necessity for companies competing in the smart phone market.  Research in Motion utilized Verizon's "by one, get one" promotion to propel its Blackberry Curve smart phone past the iPhone in total sales for the first quarter of 2009. 

With the much-anticipated Palm Pre set to hit the market, and strong competition from T-Mobile/Google's G1, which recently sold its millionth unit, Apple and AT&T have much at stake.  And analysts believe a price cut could be just what they need to restore growth to the iPhone's momentum.

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RE: wait a second
By theapparition on 5/10/2009 1:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
As of recently, all major carriers, AFAIK, force you to buy the data plan (coincidentally, all are also $30/mo) with the purchase of any phone that is remotely interesting.

For example, Verizon mandated it in Nov(?), AT&T I believe was in Jan. Sprint and TMobile also mandate it now. So watch when upgrading contracts.

RE: wait a second
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2009 1:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad I don't buy phones from carriers anymore. They never have any of the good ones anyway.

RE: wait a second
By AlexWade on 5/10/2009 9:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
I got my Blackberry in February and it was a renewed contract. I got in online and there was no requirement for a data plan. In fact, I've been on the exact same plan for 6 years and I have never once been told to change plans or get a data plan or anything extra. I think you are dealing with the incompetent help AT&T has.

(P.S. I stay with AT&T because where I live the cell quality is as good as everyone else, probably because AT&T, er Cingular, er BellSouth was the first carrier to offer digital phones and it was GSM. I also stay with AT&T because I can get by with so much without being charged extra. But I won't recommend AT&T to everyone because they aren't good everywhere.)

RE: wait a second
By theapparition on 5/11/2009 7:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
I got my Blackberry in February and it was a renewed contract.

There's your answer.

If your plan allows, you can upgrade phones without modifying your contract. Try walking in cold to any AT&T store and ask that question. You won't like the answer. Data plans are now mandatory for all "internet" enabled devices.

RE: wait a second
By AlexWade on 5/11/2009 8:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
You got me curious. So I tried to get a Blackberry without a data plan online and I could. You talk about walking into an AT&T store, that is why I say it is the incompetent help AT&T has and not an actual requirement. I know my local AT&T store has new people working in it every time I walk in. So I really think it is the stupidity of the store.

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