Last week Apple predicted 10 million consumers will be willing to pay at least $499 for an iPhone. They claim people will be willing to pay so much for their phone because most free mobile phones are worthless:
``A lot of people pay zero for the cell phone. Guess why? That's what it's worth,'' Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook said yesterday at a conference in Las Vegas. Some wireless providers win customers by offering phones that lack the latest features free with service contracts.
The iPhone, scheduled to ship in June in the U.S., combines Apple's best-selling iPod music and video player with a mobile phone that offers Internet and e-mail access. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said in January that Apple expects the iPhone to capture 1 percent of mobile phone sales, which may total 1 billion devices in 2008.
``This will be a big piece of the Apple story for years to come,'' Cook told attendees at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. technology conference. ``If we offer something that has tremendous value, that is sort of this thing people didn't have in their consciousness -- it was not imaginable -- then I think there's a whole bunch of people that will pay $499, $599.''
When asked how the Cupertino, California-based company estimated the market of opportunity for the iPhone, Cook said Apple rejected traditional approaches that call for comparing the product to devices sold in a similar price range. Apple plans to offer two iPhone models priced at $499 and $599.