I get it. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone X is loaded with enough new technology to justify a higher price tag. As CEO Tim Cook recently said, the $999 iPhone X is a "value price" relative to all of the technology packed inside. But it's a price I'm not willing to pay -- and I suspect others might be taking the same stance.
Even more, a series of price increases for the iPhone lineup in recent years has made all new iPhones less accessible. And this includes the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which were launched alongside the iPhone X.
When Apple begins shipping its new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus this Friday, and when customers start ordering their iPhone X when it is available in November, I'm sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus -- and I might stick with it next year, too. Here's why.
1. Apple's A10 was ahead of its time
The A10 Fusion processor in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is plenty for me.
As The Verge wrote last year, "A quick look at the Geekbench scores attained by the iPhone 7 quantifies a staggering achievement: the single-core performance of Apple's latest generation of smartphone processors has basically caught up with Intel's laptops CPUs."
What more could I ask for from my smartphone's processor? After all, my laptop is still where the real work gets done. Mix in some major software updates from time to time (more on that below), and my iPhone 7 Plus is a constantly improving powerhouse in my pocket.
2. iPhone prices have steadily increased
I love tech. But with prices like this, the average two-year upgrade cycles we once knew are about to quickly fade into the past. Indeed, the average upgrade cycle for smartphones has been creeping higher recently -- a trend I think will continue.
Let's review how the iPhone's prices have increased in recent years.
iPhone 6: The base model of the iPhone 6, introduced in 2014, was initially priced at $649. But this marked the first year Apple introduced a higher-priced version of the iPhone with a larger display. The iPhone 6 Plus started at $749.
iPhone 6s: The 2015-launched iPhone 6s and 6s Plus maintained the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus' initial pricing.
iPhone 7: While the 2016-introduced iPhone 7 maintained the usual $649 entry price, the iPhone 7 Plus saw a price hike compared to the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 7 Plus initially started at $769, up from the iPhone 6s Plus's starting price of $749.
iPhone 8: A year later, iPhone 8 prices moved even higher. The base iPhone 8 model starts at $699 -- $50 more than the iPhone 7 when it was new. And the iPhone 8 Plus has a starting price of $799 -- $30 more than the initial pricing of iPhone 7 Plus and $50 more than the iPhone 6s Plus was priced when it was new.
3. iOS 11 just made my iPhone better
On Tuesday, Apple rolled out its latest version of iOS. It's already on my iPhone 7 Plus, and I love it. Between the introduction of Apple's new Files app, subtle design enhancements, a smarter Siri, and plenty more included with iOS 11, my iPhone just got a significant upgrade -- and I didn't pay a penny.
Regular and major software enhancements to extremely capable hardware is the future. And the future is here. Just look at Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). The electric-car maker expects future software updates to enable its customers' vehicles to drive themselves. And previous updates have added driver-assist features like autosteer, made its vehicles quicker, and extended driving range for some customers fleeing Hurricane Irma.
Similarly, Apple's A10-powered iPhone 7 Plus should just keep getting better.
Investors should love Apple's $999 iPhone X
To be clear, I'm not saying that I'm bearish on Apple's new iPhone lineup. Quite the contrary, I think the higher-priced iPhones make a lot of sense, particularly from a business standpoint. Apple's pricing power paired with the iPhone X's overhauled design will likely prompt tens of millions of smartphone users to upgrade.
But there will be some consumers holding out. As the capabilities of smartphones continue to increase, and as smartphone prices begin to look more like laptop prices, I believe many consumers will begin to wait longer periods between upgrades. Over the long haul, this could make Apple's fast-growing services segment even more important. Furthermore, it may ultimately moderate the importance investors assign to annual iPhone upgrades.
I'm already looking forward to downloading iOS 12 on my iPhone 7 Plus next year. And that won't me cost a penny, either.