iPhone 3G S: most extortionate iPhone yet?

Zack Whittaker is currently knee-deep in paperwork, so covering for today is his good friend, Elliot Harrison, so don't send death threats regarding this post to the usual address.News has been tearing around all over the place about the new iPhone 3GS and after commenting on one of my more recent articles stating that I was a little unhappy about my BlackBerry 8900's build quality, (comment #1.

Zack Whittaker is currently knee-deep in paperwork, so covering for today is his good friend, Elliot Harrison, so don't send death threats regarding this post to the usual address.

News has been tearing around all over the place about the new iPhone 3GS and after commenting on one of my more recent articles stating that I was a little unhappy about my BlackBerry 8900's build quality, (comment #1.3 for you're own reference), I thought it might be a good idea to take a look and see how much a new iPhone would cost me.

I don't normally rush into things like this, I could never simply click "add to basket" and hope and pray that I can afford both the handset and the contract, so I do a little research and add up the costs for both the handset and the cost of the contract. I am a poor university student, after all. The single service provider who has the monopoly of the iPhone in the UK is O2.

I went straight to the costs of an iPhone 3G S on pay as you go, and the figures seemed to be a little high to me:

  • iPhone 3G 8GB - £342.50 ($560.03)
  • iPhone 3G S 16GB - £440.40 ($720.17)
  • iPhone 3G S 32GB - £538.30 ($880.26)

Personally, I find the 8GB model somewhat restricting in terms of memory considering it is designed not only to be a phone, but also a media device for me to view my videos and listen to music. So from there it is a tot-up between the second and third options; both of which are more than I am likely to earn in a month, or at least a good portion of it.

A no go there then. After this I take a look at the pay monthly options available through O2 and find a equally saddening story. Not only is the 3G S only available on 18 and 24-month contracts (a little too long for myself) but on certain tariffs I still have to pay for the handset outright. To be more specific, it is only on the £73.41 ($120.03) monthly payment on a 24-month contract that I can choose any handset for free. The breakdown of the costs/length of contract can be found here.

Suppose I choose to go for this contract I would end up paying for the 24 months, assuming I keep within the limitations my contract provides, and without some form of insurance for the handset a total of:

  • £73.41 multiplied by 24 (the amount of months) = £1,761.84 = $2,882.57

A little too much for a student, I am sure you will agree.

To be fair though, it is a mobile network's prerogative to charge as they please for their services. But frankly I expect little of mobile networks, in terms of value for money and quality of service given the previous exchanges I have had during my short life. Despite this, for the handset alone I still believe that £342.50 for the basic iPhone 3G S is a great deal of money.

I felt further research was in order. I know that there is no chance of Apple PR providing me with some of the build costs for the new iPhone 3G S or any previous model for that matter, so I researched futher and found that similar stories have been released in the past. I found some interesting articles detailing some of the manufacturing costs for the iPhone 3G and even though they do not purport to what I am saying about the 3G S, they can still be used as a guideline for the rest of this article's content.

An article I found was published on phonesreview.co.uk detailing some of the manufacturing costs for the iPhone modelcurrent to the time. This was information reported across the Internet at the time, so I assume its validity is pretty accurate.

"Portelligent has told EETimes, that based on what they now about the components that Apple are using in the iPhone 3G, the actual bill for materials could be as low as $100.00 as compared to the original iPhone's material cost of $170.00."

If indeed, this can be used as a guideline for the manufacturing costs with future models, even supposing that it might even cost $100 more than previous models to manufacturer, then I would like to know how it is possible to cost me a great deal more money, simply for some more memory. Perhaps this is a problem which lies with the phone network's pricing or Apple, or more likely a mixture of both.

In short, Apple, in my opinion, do believe that they provide value for money (and I know there are some of you who would disagree) however it is for the reasons I have detailed above, that for now, I will stick to the BlackBerry.

Do you feel the prices of the iPhone 3G S are far too great compared to that of the supposed manufacturing costs? Would this deter you from buying one or would you still happily microwave a hamster just to get your hands on one? Have your say; it's free, you know.

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