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Apple (AAPL.O 0.00%) has unveiled the iPhone SE and the prices Canadian customers will pay for the new devices could be noticeably higher than what consumers pay in the U.S. That’s because of the Canadian dollar’s weakness compared to the U.S. dollar.
BNN reviewed the listed price on Apple’s Canadian website for unlocked versions of its new iPhone SE (see below) and found prices to be as much as 45 per cent higher than the cost to buy a contract-free version of the same device in the U.S.
Apple says the SE will cost $579 for a 16GB version in Canada (with no carrier contract) and $709 for a 64GB iPhone SE. Stateside, the iPhone SE has been priced at US$399 for a 16GB version and $499 for 64GB version, for customers not on a contract.
Price differentials have clearly followed the loonie’s path in recent years, as evidenced by the dramatic price spike of Apple products between 2014 and 2015.
“Ahead of today’s Apple event, off-contract prices for the Apple iPhone 6 64GB were around $915, and $775 for 16GB. At the time of launch back in Sept 2014, these same models were selling for $859 and $749 respectively,” said Krista Collins, IDC Canada’s manager of mobile and consumer research.
“So you’ve been paying more for a phone that is 1.5 years old than you were 1.5 years ago when it was brand new.”
Most Canadians will likely buy an iPhone through a contract with wireless carriers, which greatly reduces the price consumers pay for their phone. But since all carrier plans are different, this analysis offers an apples-to-apples comparison on the currency impact.
“Carrier promotions were effective at helping to drive uptake of Apple smartphones over the holidays in Q4 2015,” said Collins. “Since not all Canadians feel they need the latest features and functions, they are happy to buy a slightly older model to get the brand and ecosystem they want.”
Worth noting: the subsidies Canadian carriers apply against your iPhone activation are typically in Canadian dollars. So while the subsidies make iPhones more affordable, the loonie’s weakness ultimately makes it more expensive to buy Apple products in Canada.
Canada vs U.S. – Comparing Difference in iPhone Price (At Launch):
iPhone 6 $749 Cdn/US$649 (15.4 per cent)
iPhone 6S $899 Cdn/US$649.99 (38.3 per cent)
iPhone SE $579 Cdn/US$399 (45.1 per cent)
iPhone 6 $859 Cdn/US$749 (14.7 per cent)
iPhone 6S $1,029 Cdn/US$749.99 (37.2 per cent)
iPhone SE $709 Cdn/US$499 (42.1 per cent)