SAN FRANCISCO - The iPhone will soon be $200 cheaper and support satellite navigation and faster Internet access, but higher monthly service charges are likely to erase most of the savings.
Apple Inc. revealed Monday that it has scrapped its pricing plan for the iPhone as it unveiled a model that works over faster wireless networks, addressing key criticisms about the device that have hurt the company’s foray into the cell phone industry.
An 8-gigabyte version with the new features will go for $199 when it goes on sale July 11, and a 16-gigabyte model will cost $299, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said.
Current iPhone owners who buy a new model and sign up for a new AT&T contract won’t have to pay any penalties to get out of their current contract, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. And anyone who bought an iPhone in an AT&T store after May 26 can return it before Aug. 1 for full credit against a new one — less a 10 percent restocking fee.
Apple plans to make up the difference in sales revenue with volume — and with subsidies wireless carriers will now pay for the right to carry the gadget.
In changing the pricing arrangements, Apple is pulling out of revenue-sharing arrangements with some wireless carriers, a move that frees the carriers to charge higher prices for the service.
Apple shares fell $4.03, or 2.2 percent, to close Monday at $181.61 on the news, a sign that some investors were hoping for more and others were taking their profits after a four-month run-up in Apple’s stock price, which leaped from $120 in March.
The new iPhones, initially to be introduced in 22 countries, are designed to work over so-called 3G, or third-generation, wireless networks and have global-positioning technology built in.
They will also support Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange software, an addition that puts the iPhone in more direct competition with Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Palm Inc.’s Treo smart phones and is intended to appeal to the business market.
Analysts have said Apple needed to slash the iPhone’s price and make it usable on faster networks to hit the company’s target of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Apple said the 3G iPhones download data twice as fast the older ones.
Jobs showed off the new iPhone and about a dozen new applications for the device at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.