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Australian Apple iPhone pricing: is it too high?

In the US, the iPhone 5s will be launching at the same price that the iPhone 5 launched at in November last year. In Australia, the price is higher. What happened?

In the US, the iPhone 5s will be launching at the same price that the iPhone 5 launched at in November last year. In Australia, the price is higher. What happened?

(Credit: Apple)

As has come to be expected, in Australia, we'll be paying quite a bit more for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. However, that price seems to have gone up since last year.

US iPhone buyers will be able to buy the iPhone 5s outright for the same price as they paid for the iPhone 5 when in launched on 30 November 2012. The 16GB model will be available for US$649, 32GB for US$749 and 64GB US$849.

Australians, however, will pay a little more. The iPhone 5 launched at AU$799 for the 16GB model, AU$899 for 32GB and AU$999 for 64GB. The new iPhone 5s will retail outright for AU$869 for the 16GB model, AU$999 for the 32GB model and AU$1129 for the 64GB model. (All of these prices include 10 per cent GST, which US iPhones will have added at point of sale.)

So why the difference? Well, we've had a significant drop in the exchange rate. When the iPhone 5 launched, the Australian dollar was extraordinarily strong — one Australian dollar was worth US$1.0428. Today, it's dropped over 10 cents to US$0.93 — 11.28 per cent.

Let's do some maths, then:

  • The 16GB iPhone 5s is 8.05 per cent more expensive than the 16GB iPhone 5

  • The 32GB iPhone 5s is 10.01 per cent more expensive than the 32GB iPhone 5

  • The 64GB iPhone 5s is 11.51 per cent more expensive than the 64GB iPhone 5.

So, exchange-rate wise, that checks out, at least.

But even with the exchange rate and the 10 per cent GST inclusion factored in, Australians are still paying a lot more.

iPhone Australian price US price US price + GST, converted Difference
5c 16GB AU$739 US$549 AU$649.86 AU$89.14
5c 32GB AU$869 US$649 AU$768.20 AU$100.80
5s 16GB AU$869 US$649 AU$768.20 AU$100.80
5s 32GB AU$999 US$749 AU$886.46 AU$112.54
5s 64GB AU$1129 US$849 AU$1004.81 AU$124.19

When Apple appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications inquiry into IT pricing, representative Tony King told the committee that Apple's hardware prices are generally on a par, once tax and the exchange rate have been taken into consideration. For iPads, iPods and Macs, this generally holds pretty true. The current MacBook Air, for instance, is currently starting at AU$1099 and US$999.

iPhones, on the other hand, are usually quite a bit higher, even taking the usual factors into account. When queried on the reason for both the price difference and the different pricing strategies between the iPhones and its other hardware, Apple declined to comment.