There’s a science to selling and pricing products and few companies do it as well as Apple. Up and down the product line– from Mac to iPhone to iPad– Apple builds in a pricing strategy that gently urges customers to migrate from whatever they can afford to another model that’s priced higher.
The Mac represents a perfect example of product migration pricing.
Apple’s new MacBook starts at $1,299. ‘That’s outrageous,’ say many critics. The MacBook Air starts at $899. A MacBook Pro starts at starts at the same $1,099. How can Apple justify a $1,299 price tag when similarly powered models, the MacBook Air, are priced hundreds less, while the much more powerful Pro model is also priced less.
Product migration pricing is all about tradeoffs.
That 13-inch MacBook Pro is much heavier, doesn’t have as much RAM, far less battery life, and no Retina display. The entry-level MacBook Air is heavier, too, doesn’t have a Retina display, has half the RAM and half the SSD storage. A MacBook Air that’s comparable to the new MacBook model with Retina display is priced $100 less (and still doesn’t have a Retina display). A MacBook Pro with similar RAM, similar SSD storage, and a Retina display, starts at $1,499, $200 more than a new MacBook, but it’s much heavier.
Apple prices products to make sure that the features that are the most wanted and needed always costs $100, $200, or $300 more; seldom out of reach, but priced so that a migration from one to another is guilt free, simple to understand, and attractive.
If you want a Mac notebook with a Retina display, regardless of RAM, SSD storage, or power, the price starts at $1,299. If you want a Mac notebook with the lightest weight possible, the price starts at $1,299 (the new MacBook). If Intel Core i5 CPU power is your primary motivator, but you must have a Retina display, the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299.
That’s where the migration begins, but it does not take long to go from $1,299 for an entry-level MacBook Pro with Retina display to a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.8Ghz quad-core Intel i7 CPU, maxed at 16GB RAM, with 1TB of SSD storage– at $3,199. That’s a far cry from $1,299 but the migration steps to get there are not easy to ignore.
What do you expect from your next MacBook Air or Pro? If you want a Retina display and long battery life, pricing starts at $1,299. If you prefer a Pro model with more CPU horsepower and a variety of legacy connectors, pricing starts at $1,299.
Bargains are available even within Apple’s product migration strategy. There’s the entry-level MacBook Air, non-Retina display, low power, long battery life, and a few ports, starting at $899. More power gets you a 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Retina display, but only 7 hours of battery life, starting at $1,099. That’s the low end of the Mac notebook product line, and a few hundred dollars more gets you the latest and greatest. And a few hundred more gets you more, but it’s always $100 to $200 more to get more.
Few companies price products as well as Apple.