In the era of the misinformation superhighway it has become more difficult to segregate fact from fiction, fake news from real news, and opinion and editorial from fake outrage. Here’s a perfect example.
Writers from The Washington Post, not exactly my Bible for technology insight and analysis, but a rag with a large audience, including the President, states simply, “Your Apple Products Are Getting More Expensive.” Are they?
Cost vs. Price
It took two WAPO writers to come up with the angle and opportunity. They nailed the angle. They missed the opportunity.
Your Apple products are getting more expensive. Here’s how they get away with it.
See? The typical narrative goes something like this; “Apple is more expensive. Customers are sheeple. Switching is easy. Maybe.”
Apple this year became a trillion-dollar company. But it also became the thousand-dollar company: Suddenly you need at least 10 Benjamins to get the best new iPhone or the big iPad Pro.
Except that it was the same way last year. Minus a dollar. But a price tag does not cost make. Why is that insightful cost vs. price consideration missing from WAPO’s cleverly insulting hit piece?
Let’s check out this so-called analysis.
Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more.
Yes, Apple makes premium gear. Move along. Nothing to see here.
How many prices increased 20-percent? Or, more? None. Not one. Why not? Didn’t the Mac mini go up in price? Didn’t the MacBook Air go up in price? Yes, but those are new products. The old products did not go up in price, so there was no price increase. The new Mac mini and MacBook Air are more powerful, have improved features, and are more capable than the previous generation, so, ipso facto and alakazam– worth a higher price tag.
Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college.
I understand the sentiment. Premium products come with premium price tags. Has that not always been the case? Is that not the case with competitors?
Apple says prices go up because it introduces new technologies such as Face ID and invests in making products that last a long time.
Duh. So, why all the noise about prices?
Back at the end of 2014, when the iPhone 6 came out, the average price paid for any iPhone was $634, according to BayStreet. This year, it’ll be $898.
The former is fact, the latter is speculation, and if recent sales, discounts, and trade-in promos are indicative of Apple’s ability and need to move products, likely to be far less.
Missing in most considerations of what it costs to be an Apple customer– Apple Tax notwithstanding– is the true distinction of cost vs. price. WAPO’s writers only list price, and never gave consideration to cost. What is cost? Let’s keep it simple and take only the resale value– not including an consideration of usability, usage, upgrades, etc.– which then reduces the initial price tag. A $1,000 iPhone may be priced higher than a comparable Samsung Galaxy-whatever or Google Pixel-whatever, but when resale value is included, iPhones often end up costing less than such competitors.
Most technology products are commodities that go down in price over time. Apple has worked very hard not to become a commodity.
Duh. How is that insightful analysis?
First, premium products are not commodities so why is that a consideration? Samsung Galaxy-whatevers are not sold as commodity gadgets. Google Pixels are not sold as commodity gadgets?
What’s the point? The point has nothing to do with analysis. The point is just another mainstream media hit piece that compares Apple customers to religious fanatics.
As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud — a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to all those Apple Stores and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy.
Is that not worth something?
So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow? There’s always the option of moving to a different tech tribe.
Religion. Tribe. See an inherent bias in there? No mention of the Tribe of Android or Google Religion.
How many Apple products do you really need? Just because you have an iPhone doesn’t mean you need the $350 HomePod to listen to music.
Need? None. But the same question and answer can be targeted at Samsung, Google, Microsoft, HP and Dell or any other technology gadget maker– and was not. This kind of click bait and biased consideration seems applicable only to Apple.
WAPO’s obvious bias lacks insightful analysis and consideration of what we preach at Mac360. Cost is not price. That was not considered by WAPO’s biased writers and seldom shows up among the technorati elite politburo.