Tim Cook defends price of new iPhones

James Titcomb
Tim Cook unveiling the new iPhones last week - AFP

Tim Cook has defended the price of Apple’s new iPhones, insisting that “it’s not cheap” to design the handsets.

The new phones, which are released later this week, are the most expensive the company has ever released, with consumers shelling out between £1,099 and £1,449 for the top model.

But Mr Cook, Apple’s chief executive, suggested the phones were good value because they have replaced many other gadgets that people used to spend money on.

“If you look at even the phone that's priced over $1,000, most people pay $30 a month for it, so that's about $1 a day,” he said on US television. “And so if you look at it, the phone has replaced your digital camera... it's replaced your video camera, it's replaced your music player.

“We found people want to have the most innovative product available, and...it's not cheap to do that.”

The prices of new iPhones have risen steadily in recent years as Apple has increased their screen sizes and added new features, helping the company grow revenues even as sales of the phone have been flat.

Even though the company has continued to sell older handsets at cheaper prices, the average selling price of a new iPhone has risen from $659 to $724 in the last three years.

Mr Cook appeared unconcerned about the Chinese government retaliating against Donald Trump’s plans to introduce tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports.

Apple won a reprieve on Monday when the US government exempted items including the Apple Watch and the company’s AirPod headphones from tariffs, but the prospect of a response from Beijing may still affect the iPhone, its most profitable product.

“The iPhone is assembled in China, but the parts come from everywhere, including the United States,” Mr Cook said. “I'm optimistic that the two countries will sort this out and life will go on.”