The Korea Herald


Apple under fire for ‘overpriced’ iPhones

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Oct. 5, 2023 - 15:27

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Apple's latest iPhone15 smartphones (Apple) Apple's latest iPhone15 smartphones (Apple)

Apple’s has been hit by criticism in Korea once again over the price of its latest flagship smartphone series, while the US tech giant is set to take preorders starting Friday, a week ahead of the official release here.

A significant decline in the exchange rate has resulted in an actual increase in the shipment price of Apple’s new smartphones despite its public decision to freeze prices, according to Rep. Park Chan-dae of the country’s main opposition Democratic Party of Korea on Thursday.

“Considering the exchange rates, Apple has lowered prices in some countries, including the UK and Germany, respectively, by 50 pounds ($60.80) and 50 euros ($52.60), compared to the previous model. But as Apple did not lower the price here, domestic consumers are faced with a price increase,” Park said.

The lawmaker criticized that when Apple launched the iPhone14 series in first-tier and second-tier groups last year, it froze the smartphones’ factory prices but as the tech giant included Korea in the third-tier group, it raised the price due to the strong won.

When a dollar was unprecedentedly equal to about 1,445 won as of Sept. 30 last year, the price in Korea was still more expensive than other countries. If the tech giant had not neglected the Korean market, it would not make such “price profiteering,” he said.

Park also pointed out that Apple’s battery replacement cost policy has increased the burden on domestic consumers, while calling the iPhone maker to give a detailed explanation for making fun of consumers here by applying excessive increase rates without specific standards.

Earlier in March, the tech giant raised repair costs for all of its smartphone models, except the iPhone14 series and the increase in Korea was 43 percent, which was higher than 29 percent in the US and UK and 31 percent in Japan.

“Apple needs to make efforts to respect Korean consumers with the dignity of a global company,” the lawmaker said. “The company has to disclose its criteria for categorizing new device launch countries and pricing methods transparently, and operate a policy that ensures that Korean consumers are not discriminated against in any way.”

Meanwhile, Apple is selling its new smartphones -- the iPhone15, iPhone15 Plus, iPhone15 Pro and iPhone15 Pro Max -- on Oct. 13. The price of iPhone15 series devices in Korea is the highest among the three Northeast Asian countries, ranging from 1.25 million won to 1.90 million won ($926.20-$1,407.80.)