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iPhone 12: Expect fewer accessories in the box but a higher price tag

Market research firm TrendForce has released a new report that highlights Apple’s potential pricing strategy for its upcoming iPhone 12 lineup. The most notable takeaway is that the new iPhones could represent a price increase year-over-year for the latest model compared to the previous generation.

The report seems to confirm a previous story that this year’s iPhone 12 lineup will be made up of four models and will hit store shelves by October this year. The new addition to this year’s line up is the iPhone 12 Max, which lands in between the entry-level iPhone 12 and more premium iPhone 12 Pro.

Here’s a table from the TrendForce report detailing the specs and prices of different iPhone 12 models.

Based on the table above, the cheapest iPhone 12 model is expected to cost between USD 699 (RM2,919) to USD 749 (RM3,128) while the highest end model, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is expected to retail between USD 1,149 (RM4,799) to USD 1,199 (RM5,008).

It should be noted that the price of iPhones in Malaysia is more expensive compared to the U.S. after conversion. For example, the base model of iPhone 11 Pro Max in the U.S. is listed as USD 1,099 (RM4,588) while in Malaysia it costs RM5,299, that’s RM711 more expensive. Needless to say, Malaysian will definitely have to pay more for the new iPhone 12 series.

Across the board, all new iPhone models will be powered by Apple’s in-house developed A14 chip and will come with support for 5G networks. TrendForce said the price increase in the new iPhone models could be due to the inclusion of more expensive 5G networking components.

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Apple analyst estimates the price of adding 5G to the iPhone 12 will cost about USD75 (RM313) per unit for sub-6GHz 5G support and up to USD 125 (RM522) for millimetre wave 5G.

However, Apple is aiming to keep the price of the iPhone 12 by removing accessories such as the power brick and wired Earpods. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo presumes that this would reduce the size of the iPhone 12’s packaging, lowering the Cupertino company’s freight costs.

It was previously reported that Apple is set to introduce a 20W power adapter that would come together with the iPhone 12 though it now looks like you will need to buy it separately. Analysts believe Apple may be discontinuing the current 5W and 18W chargers in favour of this new 20W model.

At the moment, Apple is selling its 18W USB-C charger for RM149 while the USB-C to lightning cable (1 metre) costs RM89. Users who still want to stick to their trusty wired headphones will have to fork out an additional RM49 for the 3.5mm headphone jack to lightning adapter. Apple stopped bundling the adapter from the iPhone XS onwards.

Kuo also suggested that Apple may look at using a battery printed circuit board as another way to save cost. He however said that this cost in internal parts will not have a noticeable effect on the user experience. The iPhone maker is also said to be pressuring its suppliers to source the best deals for components.

Despite all this, there is some good news. Kuo believes that Apple does not plan to pass any of the iPhone 12 cost increase to consumers and will keep the new line up priced similarly to last year’s model. However, it is worth remembering that iPhone pricing predictions from analysts more often than not turn out to be incorrect or partially correct.

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