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What just happened? Recent supply chain difficulties have created an unusual environment for consumer tech. In some areas, the effects are making their way to ordinary users. Apple's recent announcements show that the iPhone is no exception depending on where you live.
Consumers in the US and mainland China were probably pleased to see Apple announce the iPhone 14 at the same price as last year's iPhone 13 for all variants. Unfortunately, the new model costs significantly more in the UK, Australia, Japan, and Germany.
The price increases over the iPhone 13 are somewhat modest in the UK and Australia. The standard iPhone 14 will launch at £849 in the UK — £70 ($80) over its predecessor. Australia will see a mere AUD$50 ($33) increase, bringing the price to AUD$1,399. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max's UK price will rise by a more significant £150 ($172) over last year's equivalent. Standard model prices for Germany and Japan are worse, increasing by €100 ($100) and ¥21,000 ($146), respectively.
Analysts point to three main factors for the higher prices: increased component costs, inflation, and changing exchange rates. The Yen and British Pound, in particular, have recently depreciated by record amounts against the US dollar. The US and Chinese markets likely escaped the hikes because Apple wants to maintain demand in its largest hardware markets.
Another hot device going through similar trouble is the PlayStation 5. Last month, Sony announced price increases for its latest console in the European Union, the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, and China. The company openly blamed inflation and rising component costs. Like Apple, Sony maintained its product's original price in the US.
The US is not only the PS5's chief market but also home to its strongest competitor Microsoft's Xbox Series X. Sony likely wouldn't want to risk giving the Xbox Series X a price advantage in the US. Soon after Sony's announcement, Microsoft and Nintendo said they had no plans to raise prices in any country for the Xbox or Switch.
It's unclear how or if the iPhone's rivals like the Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel may respond to Apple's hike or if they can escape the factors that caused it.