"Our checks indicate Apple (AAPL -0.3%) 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," says Jefferies' Peter Misek.
Pac Crest cited the potential for higher iPhone 6 prices (owing to their expected larger displays) as a reason for upgrading Apple a month ago. As it is, the iPhone had a $637 ASP in the Dec. quarter, +$60 Q/Q thanks to strong 5S and soft 5C sales.
IDC estimates the smartphone industry's ASP was only at $335 last year, and will fall to $308 in 2014, as emerging markets continue growing their share of industry sales.
There's a good chance carriers will try to pass on most or all of any price hike to consumers, particularly given their recent efforts to lower subsidy spend, Pricing for Samsung's 5.7" Galaxy Note 3 (often sold for $300-$350 subsidized by U.S. carriers) points to an effort by carriers to charge a premium for high-end phablets.