That $1,100 iPhone costs the average American $727

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High-end iPhones are getting more expensive, but most Americans are paying less.

Thanks to promotional discounts and other financial items from the three major mobile providers in the United States, the average American is paying nearly $400 less than the list price of a top-tier iPhone, according to an analysis by BayStreet Research.

Almost no one likes mobile providers. But maybe you, just a little. Go hug your nearest cellphone tower. (Please only do so in your mind.)

This continues a pattern of technological innovation. Phone companies, for their own selfish reasons, have played an insufficient role in making smartphones affordable and one of the most popular products in world history.

Indeed, the iPhone is cheaper than you think.

In 2017, Apple began selling the first iPhone model in the United States with a starting price of nearly $1,000. (Samsung phones also have four-digit prices.)

In 2018, the starting price of the highest-end iPhone reached $1,100. And with the iPhone 15 Pro Max that Apple showed off last week, the top-tier iPhone now starts at $1,200.

But most Americans don’t pay anywhere near that sticker price.

At AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, the combined average price for the top-tier iPhone Pro Max in 2022 was $727, according to BayStreet, a mobile analytics firm.

That’s $372 less than the sticker price. In 2018, people buying a comparable top-tier iPhone from a Big 3 phone company were essentially paying full list price.

Over the years, phone companies have offered increasingly generous promotions if you trade in an older iPhone and are on a higher-priced mobile data plan.

Essentially, phone companies pay Apple full price for an iPhone and eat an average discount of $372.

They recoup part of that discount by reselling the phone you trade in. They hope to make more money if you stick with their phone service for years. (That’s why those “free” or low-cost iPhones may not be good for you.)

No one is spilling the beans, but smartphone industry experts say Apple may be helping phone companies with device discounts.

If you buy a new phone from your mobile provider, it will spread the cost of your new iPhone across potentially dozens of monthly bills. It is interest free loan by other name.

A combination of both phone company subsidies and loans makes buying an iPhone cheaper and feel Very cheap.

The new iPhone 15 models aren’t officially available for sale until Friday, but AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are again offering big discounts.

BayStreet’s analysis for The Tech Friend examined the price people paid for their old phones, taking into account the trade-in value and other subsidies from the three major phone companies.

BayStreet calculated the average price paid by each of the three major mobile phone companies in the first week of December each year from 2018 to 2022.

Even if you’re not buying a top-tier iPhone, phone company discounts are keeping the price of your new device down.

Why Phone Companies Are Making Your New iPhone Cheaper

From 2019 and 2020, the big US mobile providers went to war to steal customers from each other. Advertisements on new phones are their biggest weapon.

This can be a win for everyone.

You can get a new iPhone for much less than the sticker price. Phone companies lock you into relatively high-cost data plans.

And if you paid full sticker price the day you bought the phone, Apple would probably sell more iPhones than that.

Apple’s chief financial officer said last month that most iPhones are now purchased with trade-in offers, monthly payment plans or other financial incentives.

You can also trade in your old iPhone with Apple and spread the cost of the new device over 24 months.

But the majority of Americans buy their smartphones from phone companies. Phone company subsidies are huge.

Phone companies also offer discounts on new Android phones. Deals can be less generous, in part because companies get more money for reselling your used iPhone than for comparable Android phones.

Phone companies are hidden figures in smartphone history

Phone companies have a long track record of throwing away their profits to subsidize your mobile phone.

When the first iPhones arrived in 2017, phone companies sold them at huge discounts.

Phone companies are eager to sell you something others In the 2010s, the iPhone pushed and helped Android devices.

In India, mobile provider Reliance Jio has slashed data and phone prices. That combination made internet-connected phones affordable to millions of Indians for the first time.

The phone company’s last few years of discounts on iPhones may not last.

Craig Moffett, a telecommunications industry analyst with MoffettNathanson Research, likened phone companies’ recent iPhone discounts to medicine.

Like any drug, discounting iPhones makes your phone company feel good for a while, but it comes at a price.

“Carriers often pay so much in subsidies that there’s no meat left on the bones” to get their money back, Moffett said.

No one needs to feel bad for the big phone companies. They are smart to make money off of you.

But know that the hot deals on new iPhones might not last forever.

  • New features to try in the iPhone’s software update include video FaceTime voicemail messages (not at all) and wireless sharing of your contact information with someone else (introduced).
  • iPhone 15 and 15 Pro models in review: They are very good phones. Like every year. (wired)
  • Is it the right time to buy a new smartphone? Our quiz can help you decide.

Here’s a little trick to add a heart symbol to your iPhone’s lock screen.

why For no other reason than to enjoy five minutes of whimsy.

To add heart symbols, you’ll need to tinker with your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb (aka “Focus”) features.

  • Go to Settings app → Focus
  • Tap the + icon in the top right corner. You will be asked, “What do you want to focus on?” Select Custom.
  • Scroll down to select the heart symbol — or the bicycle, stethoscope, guitar, or other symbols you’ll see there.
  • Type a name for your icon at the top of the screen, such as “Heart” or “Silly.” Tap Return on the keyboard. Then tap Next.
  • Tap on “Customize Focus”. Do not select anything in the options other than “Customize Screen”. There, I tapped the right-hand option for one of my iPhone home screens. Tap Done in the upper right corner.
  • Now you can swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone screen to open features like airplane mode, flashlight — and the quarter moon icon for focus.
  • Tap the quarter moon, then select your heart icon. That heart should be highlighted and show “On”. Scroll up twice to return to your phone screen.

You will now see a heart icon in the top left corner of your phone screen when your iPhone is locked and next to the time of day.

These instructions are for iOS 16. The steps may vary slightly if you are using a different iPhone software.

Again, this serves no useful purpose. It’s just fun.

I couldn’t find this trick on my Android phone. Let me know, I guess, if you do?

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