Next iPhone pricing
Let's ignore the subsidized price and focus on the real price, the price of the unlocked iPhones in the US. Right now, Apple has the 8GB 3GS at $375, the 8GB iPhone 4 at $549, and the 16GB iPhone 4S at $649 (and add $100 for every 16GB extra storage).
In the past, this is okay as everybody is pretty much matching Apple's prices, give or take. However, the $649 price point for the base latest model is getting too pricey when compared to the competitors. Unsubsidized Galaxy S3 on AT&T is $549, and the HTC One X is $449. And there's the Galaxy Nexus. Sure, it doesn't have top of the line hardware, but $349 for a 16GB penta-band unlocked phone is an unbelievable value, the fact that it is cheaper than the 3GS.
One may think that Apple doesn't care about this, and prefer higher profit margin. True, but let's look at the iPad. Ignoring the Nexus 7/Kindle Fire, Apple is actually pushing down the base price to $499 for everybody. Another example is the Macbook Air, where it's still the leading ultrabook for the dollar.
Sure, many buy iPhones subsidized with contract, but one cannot ignore the market for unlocked phones. Will Apple take that risk of less profit margin? Will they keep matching the current pricing strategy? One must wonder why an 8GB iPhone 4 is still more expensive than a 3G 16GB iPad 2.