Would you pay a higher price for the next iPhone just so that you could feel more exclusive?

The question sounds ludicrous, right? But iMore member motoleo posted on the iPhone Forums that he'd pay as much as $2000 for the next iPhone.

Apple should go up on the price of the next iPhone. Now that the iPhone 4S has saturated and can be found in places like Cricket and other low end carriers.

He continued:

Naturally. When iPhone 4S went to Cricket, everyone was appalled. And I immediately thought it was a ploy. The company, Apple, "Handing it down" to the cheaper carriers, as an act of 'final hurrah', showing that this generation of iPhone is complete and ready to be used by younger and cheaper.The iPhone 5 will not be on Cricket. Look at the Macbooks. It's indistinguishable. You can simply change out one piece to upgrade and yet the price is higher. This is what Apple does. Uniformity. Brand recognition. It works. But now, Apple has been all about 'disconnecting from the past.'People will pay more for an iPhone.

It's currently the hottest thread on our iPhone Forums, prompting many of the replies you probably think it' prompting. Member JustMe'd got in early with:

Just because iPhones are sold at Walmart, Target, Cricket & other "low end" carriers, as you put it, why would Apple want to raise the price and risk losing customers to Android and Windows Mobile? It amazes me how some people are afraid of the term "low end / low budget" and Apple cashes in on that fear, too. For example, with the exception of storage space, there is absolutely no difference between the iPhone 4S 16, 32 & 64 GB models and yet, there are people out there who will go out of their way to not get the 16 Gig model simply because it is touted as the base / budget model. Having said that, is it your belief that the iPhone has been rendered cheap because it is now sold by "low end" carriers?

The original iPhone was ludicrously expensive -- $499 at 4GB and $599 for 8GB on a 2-year contract. That compares to $199 for an iPhone 4S today, and $99 and $0 for an iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS respectively. Where the very first iPhone owners paid exorbitantly just to be one of the few with an iPhone, now pretty much anyone who wants one can have one, and it remains one of, if not the single most popular line of phones in the world.

This isn't the first time the iPhone-as-status-symbol debate has reared its head either. When the iPhone 3GS came out, and looked the same as the iPhone 3G, there were those upset that people wouldn't be able to tell at a glance they had the new iPhone.

The same thing happened when the iPhone 4S came out looking like the iPhone 4. Certain users were upset that they couldn't easily show off that they had the latest, greatest device.

Apple is clearly aiming for the mainstream market, not the high end. They're using carrier subsidies to provide a premium product to a huge customer base. Apple as a brand is still highly valued, but Apple is making sure it's also highly accessible.

There is a $2000+ Porsche designed BlackBerry P'9981 on the market, after all, and some people are buying that.

Luxury brands aren't anything new. Cars, fashion, watches, and more all have their luxury players. Should Apple introduce a more exclusive iPhone? An iPhone Pro to go along with their MacBook Pro and Mac Pro branding? Or is bringing exclusivity to everyone the whole point of Apple's brand and the iPhone?

Weigh in on our iPhone Forum thread now!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at anxiety-videos.com.