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What is the final cost of the iPhone?

by WheelerCub / July 17, 2007 10:44 AM PDT

Hey gang, I was hoping someone could give me some advice. My roommate was researching whether or not to buy an iPhone and we started talking about the final cost of the product after all is said and done. We came up with an estimated cost which we both found a little staggering. Can someone who has purchased an iPhone with service or someone who has also researched it, verify we are not going insane?

First, we felt that you kind of have to get the 8GB iPhone for music and file storage because the 4GB would run out of space too fast. Next, the $79.99/month ($80) service plan is the best deal for the features you get. But the plans only include 200 text messages (send or receive); so we'd burn through those pretty fast being out on the go a lot and making plans. So we need approximately $15 more for unlimited text pushing the plan to $95/month. Plus taxes and those ridiculous federal airtime surcharges of about $10 (it may be more with Web access) gives us a final total of $105/month.

Now we'd be locked into a contract which is 24 months long or $2520.00 over 2 years. Plus the $36 AT&T activation fee and the cost of the 8GB iPhone of 650.00 after taxes and the grand total becomes $3206.00 for the first 2 years!?!

Is our math correct? It seems like an awful lot to both of us to get a web device that won't support the fast web access we're paying for due to the lack of 3G.

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final cost of iphone
by kaushis / July 17, 2007 2:24 PM PDT

Nope, your understanding is wrong?! Let me tell you why,

1. You are going to pay only $20 more for the unlimited data access other than your regular cell phone service charges.
2. Any additional text messages option is optional.
3. iphone cost plus $480 is the only cost for 2 years for which you will get benefited with unlimited internet access any where you go + top of the line instrument (be watchful for neighbors envy!!!)

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Still unsure...
by WheelerCub / July 18, 2007 4:29 AM PDT
In reply to: final cost of iphone

Cool - thanks for the info. I guess it will be different for each person. We both also wondered about whether or not it was worth $20 a month ($480 over 2 years) for slower web experience due to the iPhone not supporting 3G. The $36 activation fee is negligible because any service will charge you that (albeit a rip-off).Plus we're already paying $55/month for DSL at home, so if the two of us got the iPhone, we would be paying $95/month for our total Web access. Too bad companies don't offer a home & phone deal yet.

As for the text messages, we felt as though the $15/month is absolutely required being that we live in a major city and it is the fastest, easiest form of communicating with multiple people when going out and meeting up with friends on the weekends. Generally we send "heads up" messages to a group of 8 buddies so that we can all meet at the same bar or pizza place, etc. And in those examples, it costs us about 16+ text messages because each send and reply is considered a separate text message use. And then we'll text each other in a bar for laughs.

So I guess the real question is whether or not it's worth paying the extra cash for the extra public attention? Which of course, could lead into costly therapy bills later on in life. But in all seriousness, it really is a major leap of "gadget dependency" because individually, it becomes double the current cost of both of our individual cell services with our current plans over 2 years when everything is totaled in.

And with such an expensive piece of hardware, I personally would feel inclined to get some kind of protection plan that I normally would not need. And who knows how much more that would cost? Ugh - this is frustrating.

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text nessage sing the internet
by nutjob / July 19, 2007 1:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Still unsure...

I do not have iPhone but text message a lot. I use yahoo via the internet. It is fast and free. the messages also come back to the phon email automatically. I have four email addresses and one is just for text messaages.

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iphone cost
by HoosierDrag / July 18, 2007 7:34 AM PDT

the short answer would be "too much" alex

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Stupid topic
by JohnSP / July 18, 2007 1:00 PM PDT

Its a stupid topic because saying thats how much its costs is acting as if you are going to live in a cave and not spend that anywhere else, it doesn't work that way. You most likely would pay for some other phone, cell plan, and internet plan elsewhere.

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iPhone vs. Treo
by golfhack14 / July 18, 2007 1:37 PM PDT

The iPhone certainly is cool. But I'll wait before I leap.
My Treo is faster (3g), cheaper, expandable (SD cards are cheap!)and I can even record my own ringtones. Treo does everything a computer does for business- and also takes pictures and videos. iPhones are flashy and stylish but are not for everyone- and I just can't overpay for something that does less than a Treo.

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Nothing comes close!
by Fred3x3 / July 18, 2007 2:53 PM PDT
In reply to: iPhone vs. Treo

As prior responders point out, any multi-function cell phone is going to have monthly costs. The decision as to whether or not to buy an iPhone should, for the most part, be based on other factors and it's not a decision that one needs to make immediately.

One who uses a Treo may want to hold onto it for a while, but there is absolutely no way that the web experience on the Treo, or on any other available mobile multifunction device comes close to the web experience on an iPhone.

Drop into an Apple store and play with an iPhone for a while. Check out your favorite websites on an iPhone then look at them on your Treo, Blackberry or whatever, all of which rely on website versions dedicated to mobile platforms, if available, and many of which offer no WiFi access in the first place.

Yes, the phone may have some issues such as the fact that Apple has not yet loaded it with Flash. Perhaps, you are troubled by the fact that the keypad used for email doesn't yet have a wide version. Still, anyone that has experience with Apple's way of doing things, can be certain that future automatic updates, when synched via iTunes, will deal with such omissions.

Apple is a firm that listens, responds and cares about the user experience. My three year old G4 PowerBook will continue to serve my needs for years to come and will be supported by Apple with automatic updates well into the future. So, too, will an iPhone that you might buy today.

So, when WiFi is unavailable, it runs on Edge. Future Apple updates will, no doubt, enable use of

So, it doesn't take flash cards, but even the 4GB version has more available built in memory than a Treo or Blackberry has available even with an SD card plugged in. BTW, does it make sense to go for the eight rather than the 4GB version? Is the difference in cost much more than a high-speed 4GB SD card would cost you?

So, it cannot accommodate all of the music, photos and video kept on your iPod, but you have all of that on our desktop or notebook and iTunes can do a very good job of limiting what is on your iPhone to what is most important to you, based on parameters that you establish.

So, it's a sealed system and can't accommodate 3rd party software. Hey, that's not true anymore. It's all coming, one way or another.

Again, hold one of these things in your hand. Try all of its present capabilities. Visit Apple's site to keep track of the increasing number of Web 2 apps running on the iPhone. Then decide.

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by Fred3x3 / July 18, 2007 3:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Nothing comes close!

In my post "Nothing Comes Close", my 6th paragraph was incomplete. I intended it to read:

"So, when WiFi is unavailable, it runs on Edge. Future Apple updates will, no doubt, enable use of 3G and whatever comes next."

Regret the error.

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treo vs iphone
by doctorvik / July 18, 2007 10:43 PM PDT
In reply to: iPhone vs. Treo

everyone keeps mentioning that the iphone memory is not expandable -- people, it has a 4gb or 8gb hardrive -- as far as I know the biggest sd card is 4gb --- so who cares if your phone is expandable ...

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1) Correction and... 2) Expansion Modules
by Fred3x3 / July 19, 2007 12:46 AM PDT
In reply to: treo vs iphone

DoctorVik, you are correct, except that the iPhone uses board mounted flash memory rather than a hard drive.

For a rather complete discussion regarding iPhone architecture and Ram, including a table comparing iPhone system ram to sytem ram in 5 other popular multifunction phones, go to:

I'd not be surprised to find a number of firms developing ram expansion units that will plug into the iPhone connector. If no one has yet considered that possibility, well consider it now. It could turn out to be a very trim looking 1/2 inch by full width extension, with finishes matching the iPhone itself. It could well incorporate its own iPhone extension dock connector, too.

All you have to do is think and you can change the world!

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that's about right
by ackmondual / July 18, 2007 2:25 PM PDT

IIRC, shouldn't the $36 activation fee be waived? Most carriers (at least last I've known with T-mobil and Cingular) waive it for 2 year contracts. Then again, Apple is the copilot here, so I could be off.

Perhaps don't txt message as much? Yeah, doesn't mean much coming from some1 who was supposed to downgrade from expanded cable almost 2 years ago. I also supposed ppl would then argue you might as well just go with the $40/mo plan instead.

Given your outlined costs and tack on an extended warranty (or Apple Care) that's about $145/mo spread out evenly. I'd like to give that a go, but I'd rather save that $$ for rent, car payments, and other bills.

Good Luck! !

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Not worth it...
by PathmarkPolice / July 18, 2007 3:02 PM PDT

Of course anyone who has purchased it already, or most people, will try to defend their purchase as best as possible, considering their locked into having the iphone for two years. I didn't get the phone specifically because I'm a big texter, and I've been going to the apple store quite a bit and trying out the text messaging. Having been spoiled already by the M600i's keypad (which a lot of people hate, but it's certainly faster than the iphone's) I wouldn't suggest getting it.

YOU MIGHT want to get it because there's a lot of cool stuff you can do with it. I mean, the programs coming out for it and the widgets people are developing and spreading over the internet are pretty amazing. Check out the CNET Iphone development camp. But if you're not into stuff like that, then don't bother.

The call quality isn't that great, I've had better call quality from T-Mobile phones that come free with plans.

The BIGGEST reason I will tell you to hold off is the lack of features they forgot to add. One thing:

Seconday Video Call Cameras. All phones in Europe have it, Japan has had it for nearly two years, and it's finally coming to the states with the next Razr phone (V8 and V9, or the RAZR 2). Imagine a wireless ichat with your buddies!

Plus, the newer versions will probably be 10 and 12 gigs, and they'll be coming out soon, you know how Apple is with that stuff. Another good piece of news is if you can't afford the next iphone, you can get an older one for NEXT TO NOTHING from the techie who needs his iphone fix. I'll enjoy my $50 iphone free from any service contract thank you very much.

Trust me, it's NEVER worth paying full price for a trendy tech product, it'll probably be better for you to just buy the iphone unlocked for $1,000 and use your existing Sim CARD in it, if it'll even work! (not sure on that yet). If you want to know more about the iphone, or some way better alternatives, give me a holler. Here's my e-mail address

I work in a computer lab and literally have nothing to do but research phones and get paid 9.00 an hour for doing so. Sure I need to answer the occasional question and turn the printers on and off, but that counts for about 20 minutes of real work.

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Even so, nothing comes close!
by Fred3x3 / July 18, 2007 3:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Not worth it...

I don't mean to minimize anything that techie Mustafa or "PathmarkPolice" has contributed to the discussion. It's clear, too, that his apparent knowledge is worth more than the $9 per hour he's being paid.

My earlier post makes clear that I'm aware of the iPhones present shortfalls. For instance, I had trouble typing email with the narrow keypad. I would like to be able to use a wide version of the keypad as is available in Safari on the iPhone. Apple is listening and it will be so, I'm sure.

On the other hand, the more I worked that narrow, keypad, the more proficient I became. Most impressive was the manner in which the iPhone came to offer corrections and completed words and addresses as I typed. "Mail" on the iPhone can come to be as intuitive an assistant as on my PowerBook.

As for the lack of iChat capabilities, Apple will deal with that, too, probably sooner than later. It's very likely that in a couple of years, iPhones will have a front facing webcam over the screen and video chat will be fully enabled.

If Mustafa waits long enough, he'll likely be able to buy an unlocked iPhone with that front facing webcam and 50 gigs of flash built in for perhaps the equivalent of $350.

Most of us aren't techies and many of us want it now. Mustafa, if you are going to keep today's 8 gig model for 3 years, your hardware cost comes to $200 per year. That's the way you figure the cost of your desktop or notebook. Why not look at a true multifunction handheld, like the iPhone, the same way.

What else do I want on an iPhone? It's very simple; a place to attach a wrist strap. The 4 gig model that I played with in the Apple store twice slipped out of my hand. I've got a feeling that a solution to that problem will also soon be at hand.

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You left something out...
by Wolfie2k5 / July 18, 2007 3:34 PM PDT

And that isn't guaranteed to be necessary, but, quite possibly CAN be necessary. That would be the battery replacement @ about $85. Not counting the additional $40 for an Apple loaner for the 3 - 5 days yours is unavailable.

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What you really left out is...
by Fred3x3 / July 18, 2007 4:06 PM PDT


It will be three to five years out, and the built-in battery will still have 75 to 80 percent of its capacity available.

Then, after three to five years of enjoying the use of the first model of the iPhone, during which you might just find it unnecessary to lug around your MacBook, you take the $125 cost (today's cost) of a new battery and a loaner unit, add $225 to it and buy the future iPhone that I speculated on in my last post, the one with a front facing web cam over the screen for full video chat capability, and with 50 gigs of flash built in, too.

Need I say more?

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Well yes, but
by Rick.E / July 18, 2007 5:23 PM PDT

I haven't pulled out a calculator to verify your numbers, but there are a few things you are overlooking. I have AT&T (Cingular or what ever name they are using this week)phone. I have the exact same phone plan as the base iPhone plan. it is $39.95/ month and does not include web or texting. Web access is an extra $20/month and if I recall correctly texting is either $0.15 per text or $15/month, for some large numbers of text messages. Web access is free with the iPhone. 200 text messages are included with the plan if I recall reading the plan correctly.
So to duplicate the iPhone service using another phone on AT&T it will cost you as much if not more than the straight iPhone service.
So bottom line, is the only difference between two identical plans with AT&T one being the iPhone the other with any other phone is the cost of the umlimted text messages.
So service wise you have $15/mo X 24 =$360. If you don't text a lot (I don't) the costs are identical.

As far as the cost of the phone itself, if you are going to using a web browsing phone you are not going to be using the "get this phone free" phone, you are going to buy a premium phone. So from the cost of the iPhone you have to subtract the cost of the whatever other phone you would have chosen instead. When I picked out my phone 6 months ago I spent about $300 on the phone. So if I was going in today to get a phone, the cost difference is $300 + tax.
as far as the activation goes, you will pay that with any phone you activate with AT&T so that is a wash.
Bottom you are looking at a difference of $360 + the cost difference between whatever other phone you are considering, and the iPhone. (And only that if you text a lot)

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Is it really worth it?
by ron808 / July 18, 2007 7:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Well yes, but

There are lots of phones far superior than the iPhone.

Don't get one if you're a cheapskate or a teenybopper wanting to show off that you have the latest "it" phone. You'll look like a ******.

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Can't afford not to...
by bent / July 19, 2007 4:34 AM PDT

"And then we'll text each other in a bar for laughs."

Think how cool you'll look texting each other back and forth with an iphone ;^) How can you put a price tag on that?

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