Analyst says Apple could drop iPhone price to $99 and still make 42.3% profit margin

Would you buy an iPhone if it only cost $99 subsidized? It could make choosing other smartphone-like devices a lot tougher for most consumers. Analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham Research thinks that Apple would be able to lower the subsidized price of the 8GB iPhone 3G to $99 and still make a not-too-shabby 42.3% profit margin, according to Electronista.

Wolf also said that if the price dropped to $99 it could double or even triple projected sales figures and leave most other smartphones in the dust, with the exception of “niche” products like BlackBerry devices.

I’m not as Apple-happy as some of my co-workers but it so happens that the iPod Touch is one of my favorite gadgets and I often find myself secretly pining for an iPhone — if only for the mobile version of Safari, which I find far superior to any other mobile browsers I’ve used.

While dropping the price to $99 would make the urge to bite the bullet and buy an iPhone a bit stronger, it’s nothing compared to the itching and burning I’d feel if the service plan dropped to $50 or $60 per month. For me, there’s some sort of psychological aversion to paying $70 per month for phone and data service, especially when I rarely actually talk on the phone. My ideal plan would be something like $29.99 per month for 200 voice minutes and $20 per month for unlimited data. I had a plan like that way, way back when the Sidekick first came out on T-Mobile.

Still, a $99 iPhone would certainly shake things up on the smartphone front – especially for new potential cell phone customers and existing AT&T customers looking to upgrade. Provided, that is, that they don’t share my same $70-per-month aversion.