If you’re a TMO reader, there’s a good chance you have a fair bit of interest in Apple, and follow the company more closely that the average consumer. That sometimes leads to an insular perspective when compared to how Apple’s largest customer demographic — average people — think. But on a recent episode of The Price is Right, we were all painfully reminded that a lot of folks simply have no idea what technology like the iPhone 6 costs to purchase and operate.
The item up for bid: a 16GB 4.7-inch iPhone with one year’s worth of mobile service on a 4GB per month data plan. There are four contestants tasked with guessing the price of this fairly nice prize, and not a single one of them comes close.
Most people will initially be shocked by the $7,500 bids of the first two contestants, and rightfully so, but the lower bids of $850 and $930 from the final two contestants are equally interesting, as they’re both less than half the actual value: $1,969.
We verified host Drew Carey’s retail value and it turned out to be mostly correct based on the unsubsidized cost of a 16GB iPhone 6 ($649) and 12 months of Verizon’s 4GB “More Everything Plan” ($1,320). Of course, there are still taxes and fees that aren’t accounted for, and many mobile carriers offer similar plans for both more and less than Verizon’s monthly service fee, but we’ll count $1,969 as a fair representation of the cost to own and operate Apple’s cheapest iPhone 6 for one year without a contract.
We’re sure that the excitement and tension of appearing on a national game show played some role in the contestants’ absurd price estimates, but it’s interesting to observe how many American consumers still have no accurate concept of smartphone ownership costs.
Chalk it up to inconsistent carrier subsidies, complex mobile plans, or plain old inexperience. Regardless, in Mr. Carey’s words, “We hope the marketing people at Apple are watching this.”