iPhone 12 actually costs $829, advertised $799 price includes ‘carrier special offers’

In an incredibly sneaky move, it turns out the iPhone 12 does not actually cost $799 as advertised. If you go to the website and look at the pricing for the iPhone 12, the SIM-free price is actually $829. The iPhone 12 mini is similarly $729, and not $699.

The top-line advertised prices actually include a $30 carrier discount, which is only available on AT&T and Verizon plans. That means if you are buying SIM-free unlocked or through T-Mobile or Sprint, the phone cost is $829. The same holds for the iPhone 12 mini …

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The real price of the iPhone 12 mini is $729, unless you are eligible for the $30 discount through AT&T or Verizon. It also seems like international buyers outside the US will be stuck paying the higher price, as carrier special offers do not seem to be offered elsewhere.

Apple’s press release addresses this somewhat deceptive pricing strategy simply by saying that the headline prices “includes a $30 AT&T or Verizon discount”. That partly explains why Verizon was featured so prominently in today’s presentation …

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are priced normally, and retail for $999 or $1099.

With these pricing tricks accounted for, the base cost of an equivalent iPhone has actually risen by $130 this year. In 2019, you could get an iPhone 11 for $699. The comparable 6.1-inch iPhone 12 is priced starting at $829. The iPhone 12 mini now takes the $699 $729 price point, but features a smaller 5.4-inch screen.

However, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini do feature OLED displays — a feature that was previously reserved for the Pro models. So, you could say the cost of an OLED iPhone has fallen by $170.

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Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.