If the pattern holds this year, the starting price of $650 for the iPhone 7 could quickly drop to about $550, Peterson says, assuming new phones are announced next week, as expected. (Analysts anticipate at least three new phones being introduced: a freshly designed flagship phone and incrementally upgraded versions of the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.)
One new wrinkle, Peterson says, is that the new phone is expected to represent a big technological upgrade from the iPhone 7, with a minimal bezel, facial recognition, and—most critically—an OLED screen that has been linked to rumors of production delays.
“That’s one reason why the price could be spectacularly high, because one way Apple can guarantee that a million people don’t want to buy this thing is they make it so expensive,” he says. “That’ll be like a demand controller.”
Analysts have speculated that the newest iPhone’s price could top $1,000.
That would make the phone unappealing to consumers such as Noor Kapur, a 24-year-old from Lawrenceville, Ga., who replaced her old Samsung Note 4 with an iPhone 7 Plus this summer. Kapur says she wanted to give Apple a try after years of being an Android user, but didn’t need the bells and whistles of the newest model.
“I don’t really do anything besides Facebook, text, and make calls,” she says. So, she says, there was little reason to wait—or pay—for the newest introduction.
Apple declined to comment on pricing strategy or details of its upcoming phones.
Samsung, the second most popular phone brand in the U.S., normally starts discounting its Galaxy S models earlier than Apple. Price cuts can come weeks and even months before the announcement of a new flagship phone.
Right now, Samsung is selling its Galaxy phones starting at $725 for the S8 and $825 for the S8+. But the company offers up to $300 off for certain trade-ins, and carriers have their own deals. Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on pricing.
Though consumers can sometimes wait for prices to drop before they buy a phone, that’s not always possible. Peterson has advice on how to get a good deal any time of year.