苹果在发布新款iPhone 8和8 Plus的同时，跳过了“9”的版本，直接发布了999美元的iPhone X。这不是算错了，而是为了纪念第一代iPhone发布十周年。公司将iPhone X定位成价格高档的顶端产品，这可能会带来一个令人惊讶的结果：799美元起售的iPhone 8 Plus将会卖得更好。
苹果打破命名规则推出iPhone X的原因之一，是想表明这是iPhone的转折点，是预示着第二个十年即将登场的产品。苹果给予了iPhone X一切吹捧和最高的配置，希望它成为iPhone大步迈入新时代的象征。公司没有把iPhone X命名为iPhone 9，是想要传达一个信息：iPhone X太特殊了，不仅仅是下一代iPhone——它庆祝了苹果过去十年所做的一切，为iPhone下一个十年的创新铺平了道路。当然，怀疑论者指出，三星的Galaxy S8和S8+的无边框屏幕和OLED技术都要优于苹果。讽刺的是，iPhone X每英寸458个像素的豪华“视网膜显示屏”的供货商是三星公司。
那为什么苹果要给iPhone X定价999美元呢？这个高昂的价格可能超出了许多有意购买iPhone的消费者的承受范围。这个高价可能会让他们转向iPhone 8 Plus。原因在于那个被称为“极端逆转”的著名的消费者决策偏向。它的意思是：当消费者面前有三款产品，定价分别为高、中、低时，他们倾向于把自己的选择从低端款提升成中端款。消费者会感觉他们没有买最贵的那一款，“省钱了”，而这款“折中的产品”是个好选择，既不太贵，也不太便宜。
会有一些消费者愿意一掷千金，只为拥有一款顶尖的iPhone X。然而，iPhone X在产品线上所扮演的更大角色，恐怕是让iPhone 8 Plus显得更加划算。相比699美元起价的4.7英寸iPhone 8，人们可以“勉强接受”5.5英寸iPhone 8 Plus。比起iPhone X，这能“节省”大概200美元。顶配的iPhone X把二选一的题目变成了三选一，带来的光环效应让它身价不那么高的兄弟iPhone 8 Plus受益。这种营销手法也部分掩盖了iPhone 8和iPhone 8 Plus各比前一代产品涨价50美元的事实。
最后的结果是，苹果不需要卖出很多iPhone X。如果iPhone X的推出让iPhone 8和iPhone 8 Plus的销量比例向后者倾斜，苹果依然可以获取巨大的利润。
苹果明显是在测试消费者的忠诚度和定价边界。有个说法认为，iPhone X、以及iPhone X高昂的价格，表明这些设备在消费者的生活中扮演了更大的角色，而不仅只是一个通讯工具。智能手机是人们生活的中心，人们对它们的要求也越来越多。显然，苹果需要维护其高端定位，并通过推高iPhone的平均售价获得可观的利润。但这个游戏也有风险，尤其是在印度和中国这样的大型新兴市场，苹果在这些市场的占有率较低，甚至还在下降。过去，苹果会推出低价产品，努力获取新兴市场消费者的青睐，例如定价599美元左右的iPhone 5C就在印度表现出色。而这次，苹果选择了相反的提价方向，这可能会让公司在亚洲市场陷入严重劣势。
在美国市场，时间会证明这款被称作新型奢侈品的iPhone X在销量上会有怎样的表现。不过如果iPhone 8 Plus才是更大的赢家，也不用感到吃惊。（财富中文网）
作者莫汉比尔·S·绍尼是凯洛格商学院（Kellogg School of Management）的教授和七本管理学著作的作者，其中包括即将出版的《有感情的企业》。
Apple’s launch of the $999 iPhone X, skipping over a version “9” by also unveiling its new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, isn’t a miscount, but commemorates the 10 years since it launched its first iPhone. By positioning the iPhone X (pronounced as “ten”) as its superlative product with the big price tag, Apple might realize a surprising outcome: greater sales for the iPhone 8 Plus, priced at $799 and up.
One reason that Apple (aapl, -0.76%) broke with the numbering scheme with the iPhone X is to showcase it as an inflection point for the iPhone—a shape of things to come for its second decade. With all its fanfare and use of superlatives, Apple wants the iPhone X to stand out as a quantum leap into a new era for the iPhone. By not calling the iPhone X the iPhone 9, Apple is trying to convey the message that the iPhone X is too special to be just the next-generation iPhone—it celebrates all that Apple has done for 10 years, and paves the way for the next 10 years of innovation for the iPhone. Of course, skeptics point out that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ beat Apple to the market with the “edge-to-edge” display and OLED technology. Ironically, Samsung supplies Apple with the iPhone X’s gorgeous 458 pixels-per-inch “super retina display.”
But why would Apple launch the iPhone X at $999, a super-premium price point that may put it out of reach for many aspiring iPhone customers? The high price point of the iPhone X may paradoxically bring those customers to the iPhone 8 Plus. The reason is a well-known consumer decision-making bias called “extremeness aversion.” Here’s how it works: When customers are offered three products—high-priced, mid-priced, and low-priced—they tend to gravitate upward from the low-priced to the mid-priced product. They feel that they are “saving money” by not buying the most expensive product and they are getting a good deal with the “compromise product,” which is neither extremely expensive nor too cheap.
It happens in restaurants with wine lists. You don’t order the cheapest or the most expensive bottle, but prefer to choose something in the middle. With cars, the $90,000 Dodge Viper makes the $28,000 Dodge Charger seem like a good deal.
There will be some consumers who will pay a thousand bucks for the bragging rights of owning the top-of-the-line iPhone X. However, the bigger role that the iPhone X may play in the product line is to make the iPhone 8 Plus look like a better deal. Instead of buying a 4.7-inch iPhone 8 ($699 and up), people can “settle” for a 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus and “save” about $200 compared to the iPhone X. By going from a two-product choice set to a three-product choice set, the super-premium iPhone X creates a halo effect that benefits its less prestigious cousin—the iPhone 8 Plus. This marketing sleight-of-hand partially obscures the fact that the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus both cost $50 more than their predecessors did.
The upshot is that Apple doesn’t need to sell a whole lot of iPhone Xs; it can still make out like a bandit if the introduction of the iPhone X into the choice set changes the ratio of iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus sales in favor of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple is clearly testing the frontiers of consumer loyalty and price premiums. One argument is that the iPhone X and its high price reflect the fact that these devices play a larger role in consumers’ lives, far more than just a means of communication. The smartphone is the center of people’s lives, and more is demanded of them. Clearly, Apple wants to protect its premium positioning and make hefty profits by driving up the average selling price of the iPhone. However, this is a risky game to play, especially in large emerging markets like India and China, where Apple’s market share is low and shrinking. In the past, Apple has made an effort to court emerging market customers by launching lower-priced products like the iPhone 5C, priced around $599, which has done well in India. This time, Apple has chosen to go in the opposite direction by moving up in price, a move that might put it at a serious disadvantage in Asian markets.
In the U.S. market, time will tell how well the iPhone X, touted as the new luxury product, will do in terms of sales. But don’t be surprised if the big winner is the iPhone 8 Plus.
Mohanbir S. Sawhney is a professor at Kellogg School of Management and the author of seven books on management, including the forthcoming book, The Sentient Enterprise.