Interested in learning what's next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Register today.


One of the big themes at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech today was pricing: A super-cheap price for an upgrade of the new Mac operating system Snow Leopard ($29), a price cut for the iPhone 3G (down to $99), and an affordable entry-level price tag on the new iPhone 3G S ($199). Too bad the speech didn’t come with footnotes, because once again, AT&T and Apple are using the pricing plan to annoy existing customers.

For people still on a two-year AT&T contract (like, say, many iPhone users) but wanting to buy new phones, the pricing for them will go more like this: $499 for the 8 gigabyte iPhone 3G, $599 for the 16 gigabyte 3G S, and $699 for the 32 gigabyte 3G S. While I understand some of the logic here, since AT&T is basically subsidizing the phone price to get new service customers, this is still a heck of a way to reward loyalty, especially at a time when people are already annoyed with erratic phone and data service, plus the fact that AT&T will be slow in adding some fo the iPhone’s new features. I’ve already complained about this policy, which essentially punishes AT&T existing customers; what’s amazing is that the subsidy gap between old and new customers has grown from $200 to $400.

To be fair, AT&T is also saying that iPhone 3G owners who are at least a year into their contracts will only have to pay $200 more. What a privilege! So that amazing new 3G S phone you’re drooling for? It might cost $199. It might cost $399. Or it might cost $599. I wish AT&T and Apple luck in explaining that to customers.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.