During yesterdays Q3 2013 earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the sales of iPhone were up 50% on the same quarter in 2012 for the UK. Whichever way you look at it that's an impressive number. Granted, a year ago folks may have been holding off for the then traditional summer new release, but I don't think that's all there is to it. With three models of iPhone to choose from here, all of which are available with carrier subsidies, it's never been more affordable to get onto an iPhone.
It's the carrier subsidies which are key, because in some cases you can walk away from a carrier store with a brand new 16GB iPhone 5 without handing over any money, or by making a small initial outlay. The UK market is vastly different to that of the U.S. in that we've enjoyed being able to get a free phone on a contract for many, many years now. It may involve a higher monthly premium, but no money down is a great sweetener for a phone that costs £500+ outright.
The monthly deals are also important, but it's incredible to think where we are now from the initial iPhone launch. When the first one launched back in 2007, it was available on one carrier, on one price structure, and you still had to pay hundreds of pounds to get one. Now, you can head over to any carrier and pick one up. At Three for example, a new iPhone 5 costs £29 upfront on a 2-year deal starting at £32 per month which also gives you unlimited data. Over at EE you can walk out with an iPhone 5 on their 4G tariffs for a £9.99 initial outlay. Duck away from the carriers and hit the third-party retailers, and you can walk out with a phone free of charge and usually a monthly discount on your contract.
It's a similar story with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Both can be had free of charge on contracts of £20 and £26 per month respectively. The important thing to note is that iPhone is in many cases no more expensive, or even less expensive, than competing devices from Samsung, HTC or Sony. So when faced with the decision to buy, there's no longer a compromise because the Apple offering is too expensive. iPhone has that brand appeal, the prestige feeling to it, and if it's as affordable here as the competition, it's absolutely no surprise sales are on the up.
So, that's my take. I actually managed to score a free iPhone 5 on an upgrade myself recently, which again left little reason to consider other devices. I'm interested to hear from any of our UK readers though; what's your reaction to yesterdays figures? Do you think cost is mainly responsible for the uptake in our country, or do you think it's something else I haven't considered? Let me know in the comments!