Apple’s much-awaited iPhone 6 hit Israeli stores on Thursday, over a month after it went on sale in many Western countries.
The global buzz surrounding the device has not been uniformly positive, including for example instances of bending (or “Bendgate,” as social media networks labeled the supposed scandal).
But in Israel, there’s another reason for criticism: the phone’s local sale price has been set at a whopping NIS 3,800 ($1009), 200 shekels higher than the launching price of its predecessor, the iPhone 5, which is currently being sold for an official price of NIS 3,400 ($903). It is not expected that the price of the iPhone 5 will decrease significantly, even with a new model launched.
Both phones fetch a high price in Israel compared to elsewhere in the world: $360 more in Israel than in the US.
The iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, sells for over NIS 1,000 more in Israel than in the US, where it costs $749, or just over NIS 2,800. Rami Levy, the least expensive seller of the iPhone 6 Plus, is offering it for NIS 4,070. However, according to the business daily Globes, some chains are selling the phone at even higher prices, even up to NIS 4,500 ($1,195) — and consumers, eager to get their hands on the latest Apple technology, are paying up.
Others, hoping for cheaper prices by avoiding Israeli middlemen, are waiting for Apple to open its mini-store at Ben Gurion Airport, a move the tech giant announced earlier this month.
Both models are cheaper in Japan — over NIS 1,000 cheaper than in Israel.
It is worth noting that even the egregiously high launch price of the iPhone 6 has yet to beat the record set by the iPhone 4, which was sold in Israel for NIS 4,300 when it first launched in December 2011.
The high price, which is similar to the phones’ cost in Turkey, is partly caused by the 35% tax imposed on importers by the state.
In recent weeks, Israeli customs officials at Ben Gurion Airport have confiscated iPhones being brought into the country in their original packaging, apparently for sale to Israelis.