The iPhone: Not just for the wealthy?

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Anyone following the current political campaign in the US knows that "elitist" can be kind of a dirty word here. But that's often the tag that Apple users are saddled with, with the cheapest Macs and iThings generally being much pricier than the cheapest offerings from other companies. (Whether Macs and iPods are cheaper than the equivalent offerings from other companies is another, much hashed-over, question.) The iPhone in particular has been sneered at as a toy for the idle rich, especially at the eye-popping price at which it was first introduced; even today, when you can get one for a cool $200, it seems like an extravagance when other subsidized phones are available from mobile carriers for no cost up front.

Nevertheless, according to a study from comScore, iPhone adoption is growing among lower-income households ("lower-income" here still meaning a far-from-poverty-level $25,000 a year and up). One of the potential reasons for this cited by comScore was pretty interesting: "One actually realizes cost savings when the device is used in lieu of multiple digital devices and services, transforming the iPhone from a luxury item to a practical communication and entertainment tool." This was definitely a motivating factor for our family's iPhone purchase, as my wife was constantly maddened by her buggy Palm handheld and tired of carrying both a PDA and a phone around with her.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that, even in this tightening economy, Apple and Nokia are not seeing a downturn in handset sales like their competitors are. Nokia too sells a lot of high-end, all-in-one smartphones that can replace several different gadgets. Perhaps Apple won't have to cut iPhone prices in half after all.

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