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How Much Does the New iPhone Actually Cost?

A fiscal and emotional calculation for buying your new mobile device

Ringer illustration
Ringer illustration

Let’s say that despite any lingering angst about your lofty expectations for the future of technology, you decide that you will buy the new iPhone. You will preorder it, or go to an Apple Store on September 16. You know that it will be expensive — it always is. But really, when you think about the impressive scope of daily tasks that the device will accomplish for you — all the same ones that an older iPhone or any other smartphone could do, but now, with a better camera and processor, it’s not unreasonable for the cost to be closer to a modestly priced laptop.

Reasoning, accomplished! You are going to buy the new iPhone. In order to save $120, you opt for the iPhone 7. You’ve never felt the need to go big and drop that extra cash, so why start now? The 6 Plus and 6s Plus were really just bigger versions of the 6 and 6s.

Oops! Not this time around! The iPhone 7 Plus comes with the dual cameras and new bokeh effect, and everyone knows that aside from blue bubbles in your text conversations, the camera is the reason to get excited about a new iPhone. So, you will get the iPhone 7 Plus — that will cost $769. (This is before you choose your storage capacity, so it will cost a bit more, but let’s assume you aren’t ready to make this decision yet and move along.)

Unlike past iPhone buys, if you want to get the full newness experience, you are required to purchase a few accessories. Accessory no. 1 is the dongle that allows you to use your old headphones. But you paid for those headphones and you’d like to keep using them, so a dongle it is. Apple is kind enough to throw one in with the purchase of a new phone, but like all Apple accessories, you will surely lose it. It may not happen in week one, week two, or six months in, but you will lose it. Buy a backup now. That will be $9. Really, what’s an extra $9?

$769 + $9 = $778

There is the possibility, though, that you might want to listen to your old headphones while your phone is charging. Given that the lightning port is now used for headphones and charging, that’s a problem. Or is it? Here’s an adapter you can buy that allows you to charge your phone and use your headphones, something that all other previous iterations of the iPhone (and non-Apple devices) can do out of the box. But this is the cost of the future, and that cost is $40.

$769 + $9 + $40 = $818

The EarPods with the lightning connector that come with the phone are fine. But they aren’t exactly comfortable. It is at this point that you start to think, My old headphones require two accessories in order for me to use them as I should be able to, why don’t I just give in and get AirPods? Why don’t you, indeed. Just succumb: That will be $159 for two electric toothbrush heads that make sound and stick in your ears. It’s fine, you’re in effect braver for making this decision.

$769 + $9 + $40 + $159 = $977

Because these AirPods are expensive, you will be very careful with them. But like the free dongle (sigh), you will eventually lose them. Maybe it will take a long time until this happens, but at some point you are going to lose them. The price for replacements is … $159.

$769 + $9 + $40 + $159 + $159 = $1,136

You clearly value innovation, and so when you purchase this new iPhone 7 Plus, you opt for black. Not regular black like the color that is black, but Apple’s black, which is also the color black but named Jet Black because it is the blackest. Jet Black is the new black. (There is also regular black, which now looks sort of less black when they are side by side. What even is black anymore?)

There is no extra cost to getting the new black as your iPhone’s finish. However, Apple suggests that should you choose Jet Black, you should also get a case. Seems sort of counterintuitive, right? No matter, just buy a case — you’ve got the new new black, now it’s time to cover that bad boy up! The cheapest iPhone 7 Plus case Apple offers is $39.

$769 + $9 + $40 + $159 + $159 + $39 = $1,175

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of the new iPhone 7 Plus and taking advantage of everything it has to offer via multiple accessory purchases. Nobody said the future was cheap.