Various leaks have indicated the new Apple iPhone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or “bezel,” that currently surrounds most phone screens.
It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet,too.All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than US$1,000, but Apple’s sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible and worth the extra expense.“Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.
Apple isn’t the only company driving up smartphone prices. Market leader Samsung Electronics just rolled out its Galaxy Note 8 with a starting price of US$930.
The trend reflects the increasing sophistication of smartphones, which have been evolving into status symbols akin to automobiles. In both cases, many consumers appear willing to pay a premium price for luxury models that take them where they want to go in style.
“Calling it a smartphone doesn’t come close to how people use it, view it and embrace it in their lives,” said Debby Ruth, senior vice president of the consumer research firm Magid. “It’s an extension of themselves, it’s their entry into the world, it’s their connection to their friends.”
From that perspective, it’s easy to understand why some smartphones now cost more than many kinds of laptop computers, said technology analyst Patrick Moorhead.“People now value their phones more than any other device and, in some cases, even more than food and sex,” Moorhead said.-AP