New details today on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone pricing and U.S. launch, as well as a bullish report from Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, once an iPhone sceptic.
The iPhone 3G will go on sale at AT&T stores beginning at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, July 11 — meaning anyone who wants to wait in line this time will probably be there overnight. (Not sure when Apple stores will open that day.)
That $199 price tag? Not for everyone, AT&T said today. We’ve known for a while that only “qualified” customers will get the lowest subsidized rates. Those include new AT&T subscribers, previous iPhone buyers, or AT&T customers eligible for an upgrade discount.
What we didn’t know: How much AT&T will charge subscribers who don’t qualify: $399 for an 8-gigabyte iPhone and $499 for a 16-gig model — $200 more. “In the future,” AT&T will also offer a no-contract option for $599 (8-gig) and $699 (16-gig). These figures lend credibility to analysts’ estimates that AT&T will be subsidizing the phones around $300 — and AT&T’s warning on June 9 that those subsidies will hit profits.
Monthly service fees begin at $70 and range up to $130. AT&T (T) also does a nice job screwing its customers by not offering any texting plans between $5/month (200 messages) and $15/month (1500 messages). (The good news: We expect a handful of iPhone instant messaging apps to reduce reliance on overpriced text messages — unlimited Internet access is included in all iPhone plans.)
Meanwhile, good news for investors: Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi bumped up his EPS estimate for Apple’s fiscal 2008 today to $5.27 from $5.17, and he raised his guess for fiscal 2009 to $6.52 from $6.26. (Both are above consensus, which is $5.20 for this year and $6.36 for next year.) Sacconaghi now thinks Apple will sell 11 million iPhones in calendar ’08, up from his February guess of 7.9 million. (Via Barron’s.) Apple shares are up 1.5% today to $170.00.
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