For example, new iMac Pro, new Mac mini, new MacBook Air, new MacBook Pro. And, three new iPhones, two new iPad Pro models, and Watch Series 4. What’s not to like? I don’t know about you but I have mixed emotions about all of it. Should I upgrade to satisfy my lust and drool genes? Upgrade? Or, not upgrade?
Tax And Inflation
Apple is the company that has a billion seemingly well satisfied customers. There are times, more so recently, when I wonder if I can afford that satisfaction. Recently? Every damned product on the list above is priced higher than previous models. The iMac Pro is a professional Mac user’s delight but starts at $4,999. Yeah, that’s less than an original $2,495 Mac circa 1984 and in 1984 dollars, but you see where this is going, right?
Upwards. Inflation. Apple Tax.
The new Mac mini is a better machine but also priced $300 more than the entry-level predecessor. The MacBook Air is $200 more than the last model at $999 (and still available while supplies last, obviously). Yes, iPads start at $329 for the 9.7-inch version, but if you want an iPad mini that’ll set you back $399 for technology that is years old already. Who wants that when you can buy a fully tricked out iPad Pro that outperforms a MacBook Pro for $2,227 (with Pencil 2, Smart Keyboard Folio)?
Upgrade? Or, not to upgrade?
Apple’s unit sales for major hardware has not grown much in recent years. iPhones hit a plateau. iPad sales, too (far less than years earlier). After years of record sales, even the Mac had a dramatic fall in the last quarter but bounced back this quarter. How can Apple grow revenue without growing unit sales?
Charge higher prices.
Apple under Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs’ Apple. Yes, the product line has improved in the past year but other than iPhone, both iPad and Mac were long overdue for refreshes and upgrades. Based on the stick shock that every new product has this year, I’m not so sure I’m overdue for an upgrade. I want a new iPad Pro but my credit card has an actual limit. A growing number of iPhone customers put their hands in Apples hands with the iPhone Upgrade Program, and cellphone carriers in the good old U.S. of A. are willing to finance new iPhone purchases but that’s just one product of many.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was all about Apple’s DNA. The Mac, iPod and iTunes, Apple Stores, iPhone and iPad. Each a revolution in the making. CEO Tim Cook is more about iPhone accessories than paving a trail for the next great thing (unless you think stock buybacks and dividends are going to help Apple develop new lust and drool-worthy products). Apple Watch is great, but it’s an accessory to iPhone. AirPods are great, but again, an accessory.
Apple devotes enormous resources to propping up the stock price and paying out tens to hundreds of millions in executive bonuses, not to mention tens of billions for R&D expenses, and while all the new kit is worthy of desire, my personal income hasn’t matched the inflationary tax on new products.
Upgrade? Yeah. Probably. But maybe not this year.