Could Aussies end up paying over the odds for the Apple iPhone X?

All eyes have been on Apple this week as it unveiled its long-awaited iPhone 8 and then surprised us with the new iPhone X.

The handset offers a whole range of exciting features, from Face ID, an impressive dual camera system and a super-fast A11 Bionic chip with a neural engine.

Apple's iPhone X also marks the fulfilment of the company's ambition to create a handset that is all display, which is made possible by what it describes as "the most durable glass ever in a smartphone".

But how much does it cost?

Well, this might be a bit of a sore point for Aussie customers, as the New Daily is suggesting we could have to pay hundreds of dollars more than those in other countries, such as the United States.

While US consumers will pay about $A1,245 for the 65GB model and $A1,426 for the 265GB device, the cost in Australia will be $A,1579 and $A,1829 respectively. 

Allan Asher, chair of the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governments at the Australian National University (ANU), said there are a number of reasons why prices differ in some countries.

"Geo-blocking explains a lot in software with iTunes and things like that, where because these products are almost totally owned overseas, the owners of those rights can divide the world up and whack up the prices to whatever they can squeeze out of people," he commented.

Furthermore, he said the ban on parallel importing in Australia also pushes up prices, as companies can't approach Apple distributors overseas to buy in bulk and sell in local retailers at a lower cost.

Mr Asher stated that he was “annoyed and flabbergasted” at the greater price in Australia, and laid some of the blame at the door of ministers.

"The Australian government is pretty lazy and foolish about these things, and has never acted in the best interests of Australian consumers,” Mr Asher said.

He added that Australia's market size and low population also mean it is common for products to be marked up in Australia.

"If you want the stuff, you’ve got to pay, and we do," he stated.

Nevertheless, consumer group has argued that while the iPhone X prices might initially appear unfair, they are actually "remarkable close in reality", as the figures don't take into account state sales taxes in the US.

"Here in Australia we have a flat ten per cent GST," said spokesman Alex Kidman.

"Add that and you’re at $1,369 [for the US 64GB model], which gets closer to the local pricing.

"It’s also a firm that basically never adjusts for currency fluctuations, so even a small-to-moderate rise in the value of the Australian dollar could see the iPhone X become cheaper down under.”

Despite this, Mr Kidman said that Australia is a smaller market that is spread over a wide distance – and that these factors will therefore influence Apple's pricing strategy.

The fact Apple has priced the iPhone X at such a high level across the globe is a measure of its confidence that people will be happy to pay whatever is required to bag the latest top-end smartphone.

As Jony Ive, chief design officer at Apple, noted at the launch this week: "With the introduction of iPhone ten years ago, we revolutionised the mobile phone with Multi-Touch. iPhone X marks a new era for iPhone – one in which the device disappears into the experience."  

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, added that the iPhone X represents the "future of the smartphone".

"It is packed with incredible new technologies, like the innovative TrueDepth camera system, beautiful Super Retina display and super-fast A11 Bionic chip with neural engine," he stated.

"iPhone X enables fluid new user experiences, from unlocking your iPhone with Face ID, to playing immersive AR games, to sharing Animoji in Messages. It is the beginning of the next ten years for iPhone."

These are impressive sales pitches and could convince plenty that money is no object when it comes to upgrading their phones.

While some may grumble at the price disparity in some parts of the world, the fact is that most gadget buffs will happily pay whatever it takes to be among the first to own one of these potentially ground-breaking devices.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is Australia's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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