Jefferies analyst Peter Misek released a note Monday saying that the carriers have pushed back at the price increase, but Apple could convince them as there are no other major phone releases expected this year.
“Our checks indicate Apple has started negotiating with carriers on a $100 iPhone 6 price increase. The initial response has been no, but there seems to be an admission that there is no other game-changing device this year,” said Misek.
According to the note the extra cost will be split between the customer and carrier, with each asked to pay $50. The iPhone 5S is currently sold at a subsidized rate of $200 with a standard two-year contract. If the price increase were to take place, customers would have to pay $250 for the new phone.
Mike McCormack and Jerry Dellis, also Jefferies analysts, agree with Misek and say carriers aren't in the strongest position to resist a higher-prices phone.
But this could backfire. Apple has seen its business slow down to single digit growth partly due to a lack of creativity when it comes to new devices. At the same time, an increasing number of customers are opting for monthly smartphone installment plans to avoid getting locked into long-term contracts, which means that they bear the full cost of the phone upfront, potentially channeling them towards cheaper smart phone options.
Apple internal research found that people want cheaper phones with bigger screens. Apple has experimented with a cheaper version of its flagship iPhone, the iPhone 5C, but feels that it is largely immune to pricing pressures faced by Android devices.