Apple products have a reputation for retaining their value much better than rivaling devices made by other companies. The fact that the iPhone doesn’t seem to depreciate nearly as much as the likes of the Samsung Galaxies and Lumias of the world means that purchasing a smartphone bearing that famous bitten-Apple logo accounts to a shrewd long-term investment. And as the cost price of an Apple iPhone can vary largely depending on whereabouts you happen to reside, the device is starting to become its very own form of currency.
Expensive goods have always been traded as something of a replacement for cold, hard cash, but the iPhone 5s – the gold model, in particular – is still so widely sought after that Bloomberg Businessweek’s Vernon Silver compared walking out of an Apple store with two units in his bag as like carrying out "gold bars."
In the United States, for example, a 16GB unlocked iPhone 5s will set you back $700, with taxes and all, but in other countries, the base-level price can almost double. In Brazil, for example, the same device costs $1,200, and since, immediately post-release, the iPhone 5s was only available to certain markets, it’s no wonder the iPhone arbitrage is on the increase. Folks will willingly cross borders, armed with their predominantly gold iPhones, and yield a massive mark-up even now, which gives the iPhone 5s a unique sense of power within the mobile industry.
The iPhone has long since been viewed as a status symbol, but nowadays, there’s a lot more to it than that. Folks in certain, priced-out nations are offering services for those who can pick up the device at the U.S. cost price, and considering that it has been around for a number of months now, it’s saying something about how highly the iPhone 5s is regarded.
Of course, the current flagship will lose much of its appeal when the new model comes out, but with Apple’s limitations and price fluctuations between different parts of the world, the trade of the iPhone will only continue.
As Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has acknowledged in the past, this cross-border trading greatly affects company profits, but with the iPhone being one of a select few tech products to have a certain unique hold over the consumer, the currency of the iPhone will continue to rise in value.
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