- Some iPhone 12 price rumors claim the cheapest 5G iPhone will match the $699 iPhone 11, but newer reports say that’s not realistic.
- An insider from China says the bill of materials for the iPhone 12 is nearly $50 higher compared to the iPhone 11 due to various hardware upgrades, including the 5G modem and OLED screen.
- A recent leak also said that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will be priced at $749 and that the new iPhones will not ship will free accessories in the box.
The first wave of 5G smartphones last year showed us that we’d have to pay extra to test the next-generation of mobile communication. A year later, smartphone vendors have started making more affordable 5G handsets, and 5G coverage has improved. But 5G phones are still expensive to make. Samsung proved that with the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 series, which lack affordable versions. Google is even said to have hamstrung the Pixel 5 because the Snapdragon 865 processor was too costly.
When it comes to the iPhone 12 series, most reports seem to be suggesting that the cheapest versions of the phone would be at least as affordable as the iPhone 11, despite featuring 5G connectivity. But a new leak from China indicates that Apple might not be able to afford to keep the entry-level price at $699.
Apple might make its own processors, but it still needs a 5G modem from Qualcomm and 5G antennas, which will add to the phone’s bill of materials. Recent reports claimed that Apple had found ways to mitigate the 5G-related costs and keep the entry price of the iPhone 12 as low as possible. One of the cost-saving measures concerns a new battery design that allows Apple to save some money. Also, most leaks say the iPhone 12 will be the first iPhone series to ship without free chargers and EarPods in the box. Apple announced earlier this week that the Apple Watch would no longer ship with a USB charger in the box, selling the decision as an environment-related move. Many buyers will not need extra chargers or free EarPods in the iPhone box.
But even so, the iPhone 12 might not hit that $699 entry price of the iPhone 11. Pointing to a Weibo source, GizChina notes that the iPhone 12 might start at $749.
This isn’t one of the usual leakers that posts information about the upcoming iPhone series. A rough Google translation of the person’s Weibo handle is “Mobile chip master.” This person said in an update that Apple is not a charity, and there’s a low probability for the iPhone 12 price to remain as low as last year, given the increase in manufacturing costs. The person says the iPhone 12’s bill of materials has increased by nearly $50, thanks to several components, including the 5G modem, OLED screens. That doesn’t mean the iPhone 12 will start at $749, but it might indicate that the cheapest 5G iPhone can’t be priced as low as last year’s iPhone 11.
This might not be a leaker that we’ve encountered before, but the person does have over 300,000 followers on Weibo and talks a lot about mobile chips. It’s unclear where the person obtained the data from or how reliable it is. But even if it were a well-known, trusted insider telling us that the iPhone 5G can’t start at $699, we’d still warn you to take this with a grain of salt.
That said, an analyst said in mid-July that the 5.4-inch iPhone would cost $749, or $50 more than the cheapest iPhone 11. Jeff Pu said at the time that 5G and OLED upgrades are responsible for the price hike, and also mentioned that the new iPhones would ship without free accessories this year. Pu did not provide additional price points for the other three iPhones, however.
Thankfully, Apple should soon announce its iPhone 12 media event, which is expected to drop in mid-October. That’s when we’ll know exactly how much the four iPhone 12 models will cost, and whether they’ll ship with free chargers and EarPods in the box or not.