Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call that people are willing to pay more for a better iPhone.
The price of a high-end iPhone has increased by 66% since the iPhone 3GS was introduced in 2009.
Apple reported a 5% decrease in revenue for the quarter ending December 31, 2022.
The price of the most expensive iPhone model has increased by more than half — from $962 to $1,600 since 2009 when adjusted for inflation — but Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't appear worried about increasing prices.
During an earnings call with investors on Thursday, Cook said he believes people are willing to pay more because the phone has become "so integral into people's lives."
"I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category," Cook said, responding to a question on whether the increasing average sales price over the last few years is "sustainable."
The company CEO fielded questions mostly related to Apple's quarterly report ending on December 31, which fell short of expectations. It was the first year-to-year sales drop Apple experienced since 2019, reporting a 5% decrease to $117.1 billion.
But since the tech juggernaut introduced the iPhone in 2007 and expanded its tier model with the iPhone 3G and 3GS in 2009, Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Meanwhile, the price of the high-end version of Apple's flagship product has steadily increased.
The iPhone 3GS, with maxed-out memory storage and without a contract, cost $699 or — when adjusting for inflation — about $962 when it was released more than a decade ago.
Today, the latest high-end iPhone model, the 14 Pro Max with 1 TB of storage, costs $1,600. That's roughly a 66% increase in price.
When the iPhone X was introduced in 2018, the phone sold for $1,149, or around $1,376 in today's dollars.
In a brief pause to the iPhone's typical price trajectory, the 12 Pro Max was sold for $1,399, which was $100 less than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Though the iPhone dominates the smartphone market in the US, it hasn't been immune to criticisms about its premium prices. In 2018, The Washington Post reported that the prices of many Apple products, including its computers, were rising faster than inflation.
Apple has tried to include more affordable, "budget" options in its iPhone lineup. In 2013, the company introduced the iPhone 5C, which cost $100 less than the iPhone 5S.
A spokesperson for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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