If you know Jewish king Solomon, then you must be aware of his ring on which it was written “This too shall pass.” This has become a proverb, which indicates that everything in this world is temporary. But at the same time, we should admit there are things that hardly change or better to say, never change. I dare say iPhone prices are one such example.

We are already getting closer to the next gen iPhone but the iPhone 4S contract prices still remain the same. This means one thing — no matter when it was launched, its specs list is so respectable that time cannot affect them. Therefore, the prices won’t change until the successor iPhone  appears. It’s always been so because a look at the chronology of iPhone smartphones is enough to see the Cupertino doesn’t slash the prices of its products, even if the competitors surround it like zombies.

Let’s go back to the very start, when Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007. The original iPhone was launched on June 29. It was a revolutionary device, and Apple set quite reasonable prices – $599 and $499 for the 8GB and 4GB models, respectively. A few months later, more precisely in September, Apple cut the price of the 8GB model to $399. It was a clever marketing move because the 8GB version was more demanded than its junior brother, and with this campaign Apple gave new breath to the iPhone sales.

But Apple knew the value of its device. To firmly hold the keys the company jointly with AT&T, which was the exclusive carrier of the phone, came up with an interesting offer:

  • The second generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G was available at $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) for customers who had purchased the original iPhone until 7/11, customers who were activating a new line with AT&T and the then current AT&T customers eligible for an upgrade.
  • Existing AT&T customers who were not eligible for an upgrade discount could purchase the iPhone 3G for $399 for the 8GB model or $499 for the 16GB model. Both options required a new two-year service agreement.

There were interesting offers for all types of purchasers. Thus, Apple and AT&T that had signed a five-year contract for exclusivity spared no effort to attract as many consumers as possible.

The iPhone 3GS was launched a year later. The 16GB model cost $199, while the 32BG version of the phone was priced at $299. At the same time, the carrier cut the prices for the previous versions, and the iPhone 3 8GB was being sold for $99. Last year AT&T started offering this handset for $49.99, and if my memory serves me well, it’s now offered for free.

Throughout the years Apple has changed few things on its smartphone. A simple comparison of the first gen iPhone and the latest one reveals the fact that the manufacturer sticks to what ensured success. But we must also admit the iPhone 4 was released with some anticipated changes like more classic housing and more importantly, this model was launched via another carrier in the US, Verizon. The iPhone 4 came in black and white, but the color option didn’t affect the pricing.

Verizon’s Trade-in program

  • 16GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $199
  • 32GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $299

AT&T’s “Early Upgrader” prices

  • 16GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $399
  • 32GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $499

  At the same time, the unlocked models were sold at AT&T for:

  • 16GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $599
  • 32GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $699

While Verizon’s prices were a bit higher:

  • 16GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $649
  • 32GB iPhone 4 (Black or White): $749

Now the current version of Apple’s smartphone carries the name iPhone 4S, which was launched in October, 2011. The prices in the US were as follows:

  • 16GB for $199
  • 32GB for $299
  • 64GB for $399

The latest iPhone was launched via AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and 97 international carriers. And though its price tags vary from country to country, from carrier to carrier, from retailer to retailer, the US prices show the actual view of the market.

And once again I should note the following – even though the iPhone 5/the new iPhone will be launched in coming weeks and will sport many improved features including LTE support, 4-inch touchscreen and waterproof housing, Apple has no plans to cut the current price tags for the iPhone 4S. The company doesn’t cut them, but such high prices don’t prevent the sales of tens of millions of iPhones. So even if things never remain the same, Apple continuously shows that they do.