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The True Cost of an iPhone

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

While the popularity of the iPhone continues to grow, the real cost of the iPhone is only now becoming clear.  You start with the phone, then you need voice, text and data, then you need accessories and then the popular iTunes store where iPhone Apps purchases are averaging 80 dollars.

The world's first iPhone 3G sales was 00:01, Friday July 11th, in New Zealand.  Those folks, and those who followed, hopefully realized that in addition to the iPhone itself, they would have to pay for the voice, text and data costs through Vodafone.  Recent buyers have finally had the option of buying their iPhone directly from Apple and bringing it to the network of their choice like Telecom XT Network.  Even with promotions like Telecom's $600 account credit on 2 year agreements - the iPhone service is not cheap.

AppsFire, a service for sharing iPhone Apps, has just conducted a survey of several thousand users using the AppsFire service to find out key data on iPhone users. What makes their study unique is that they used a sample of Appsfire users which allowed them to see exactly what is installed on each single iPhone. The company gathered data on users around the world - from the US, to France to Japan and other countries in between.

While Ad Mob recently released a great piece of research based on a sample of 1000 iPhone owners, that research was based on what each person "said" they had on their iPhone - as if somebody with 46 applications could remember them all. Likewise, Flurry also released some great data but is related only to applicationss that have installed their web analytics code and they can't provide a full and accurate picture about what's exactly installed in a given device. 

Appsfire aggregated this data to produce a unique overview about what can be found "on average" in an iPhone.  It is interesting to note that 15,000+ applications have been installed through the 1,200 worldwide users in this survey. Through the 15,000+ applications overall, each user has about 65 applications installed per device. The average amount of money spent per device is $80 USD with the average price of an iPhone app at $1.56 USD.

One really interesting note is that only 15,000+ apps are currently installed (out of 65,000+) which makes people think about all the failed iPhone apps. This highlights how easy it is to install and test an application and then discard it if you are not interested.

So as you decide whether or not to buy that iPhone (or the iTouch too as that has access to almost all the iPhone Apps), be sure to factor in the extra costs for the Applications.  Though, as Appsfire notes, 7% of the users had only free iPhone Apps installed.  So you still have the option to try and not get sucked into sharing more of your money with Apple.

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