Should an iPhone cost less outside the United States?


Apple's iPhones are not only the best selling smartphones in the world: they are used for a long time and they don't lose their value as quickly as other phones.

But when it comes to the price of the iPhone, there are some staggering differences: in the prosperous United States, it costs $650 to get an iPhone 7, but in countries like Brazil and Turkey you might need to pay 50% more to get an iPhone, and while Brazil and Turkey rank as the countries where it's most expensive to buy an iPhone, there are many other examples where the price of the iPhone is much higher than in the United States.

The reasons for this are complicated: taxes and tariffs are different for different countries, but there is one thing that does not change when you buy an iPhone. It's the iPhone itself.

Or is it?



Not really. In fact, many features of the iPhone are unique to the United States and are not even available elsewhere. Call it the Apple fragmentation, if you want.

The most glaring omission is Siri: Siri is available in only a few languages and it has been a core iPhone feature ever since the launch of the iPhone 4S. Users in a huge number of countries simply cannot use Siri because the assistant does not speak their language. That is a huge problem: Siri is a core part of Apple devices around the iPhone as well. If Siri does not speak your language, why would people buy the new Apple HomePod and how is its full price justified outside the U.S.? The same question applies for Apple's AirPods and other mobile products.

Apple Pay has been in the news for years, yet the service is available in only a fraction of Apple's markets. How is the higher price of an iPhone or Apple Watch justified in markets where that core functionality is simply not supported?

When you are in the U.S. you get a ton of smart suggestions: restaurants nearby, booking a table, buying tickets for events and places, movie information and reviews, built-in dictionaries. What part of that is available outside the United States? Correct: very little, if any.

There are countless more examples: Apple News is probably the worst. It's only available in three countries: USA, the UK and Australia. That's it. And it's been more than a year since it launched, but it's still not available for most of the world. 

Apple Maps simply does not work well in a lot of countries, not to mention features like Flyover are available for only select few cities. Forget about Transit directions for most countries as well.

Other core functionalities are limited or simply not working: predictive typing is sloppy in languages other than English.

CarPlay is also available in many bigger markets, but is not supported in other countries, where the iPhone costs a lot more than in the U.S.

We are not just making up those lists: Apple itself is well aware of the limited scope of its features and lists their full availability at the iOS Feature Availability page here. Drawing the line, let us go back to the question that we started with: 


Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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17 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

No sure about this question. But I suppose the iPhone should be cheaper where the cost of importation is cheaper. But there's also currency conversion at play... Complicated.

10. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

I will have to say that it should be as high as possible and nobody should buy it due to this lol!!!!! After the 1st Gen iPhone, I have only found iPhone 4 interesting and to some extent iPhone 8 but iOS 11 has been letting me down, it is soooo ugly and short of most important features, found on budget phones in Android. But I am sure, it will break the previous record in spite of the high cost.

11. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

There are royal families in gulf countries. They will still buy iphones.

2. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

All OEMs do the same... Here the initial price of G6(32GB), S8 and XZ Premium was the same.. Something equals to 1200 dollars. Flagships here are always higher than 1000 USD. Only exception was Moto Z 2016.

12. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Well most people here didn't read the article, but the articles here suck, so you can be forgiven for that. The main point being made that Apple charges a premium for their device because they believe the software and utility are also part of the price and they believe it is more valuable than the competitors' offerings. Yet most of their services are limited in one way or another outside the US so should the iPhone really cost as much as it does outside the US. This is also why the iPhone doesn't sell well outside the US so it is kind of an irrelevant question to ask.

3. libra89

Posts: 2281; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Hmm, that's tough. I would think that ideally, it should cost around what it costs in the US as a base price. I had no idea that some features were lacking outside of the US. I can't help but think that Microsoft is actually doing worse than Apple is in this department so I'm kind of surprised to hear that this is the case.

4. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The first time I saw that I couldn't save my purchased music in the cloud, I asked myself the same thing: if my iPhone lacks functions, why should I pay just as much or more than an US, German or British citizen?

5. yyuu1000

Posts: 260; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Suprised because its Ukraine the price is close to the US

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Well if their currency is the Euro, it would be very similar to US pricing.

6. nikhil23

Posts: 443; Member since: Dec 07, 2016

as it's atleast a generation old compared to android alternatives, it should cost less everywhere

7. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Depends on the country, their tax setup and the average value of the US Dollar. So it really doesn't matter. I would say, it seems it should be cheaper in the country it is made in though.

8. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

" Brazil and Turkey rank as the countries where it's most expensive to buy an iPhone" I would like to know if only iphone is costly in these countries. Because same rate of taxes apply to all other manufacturers ( unless they already have an assembly unit in these countries). If same rate applies to all manufacturers including iphone, then all mobiles should be as overpriced as an iphone.

16. pecapello

Posts: 106; Member since: Feb 19, 2015

Well I'm Brazilian and I can assure you all phones are more expensive here than anywhere else. The s8, for example, was launched by $1.200 as well... but the prices get lower after 3 months of launch.

13. domfonusr

Posts: 1085; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Sorry to have to break it to ya, folks, but the world is not fair. Do any of you really think that Apple, out of the kindness of their own hearts, is going to give up revenue so that they can make the pricing "fair" worldwide? I have learned to never expect fairness from anything or anyone, except for God Himself.

14. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"I have learned to never expect fairness from anything or anyone, except for God Himself." Because God is infallible. I agree with your point.

15. sockergris

Posts: 57; Member since: May 13, 2017

No. If anything, it should be more expensiver. 'Murica, f*ck yea!

17. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1560; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Explains why Apple has a higher market share in America, easier for the general public to afford and has more features. I wouldn't want to pay more for something that does less.

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