Certified Apple watchers and many of the company’s customers and critics know about the ‘Apple Tax.’ It’s a thing. It even has a Wiktionary entry.
- The price premium paid by Macintosh users over that of a Wintel PC of comparable power and features
- By extension, the price premium paid by consumers of Apple consumer products over comparable devices from competitors
- The large cut of the gross paid to iTunes from every sale on iTunes by content providers, over how much a cut is given at other online retailers
You get the idea, right? Apple’s customers pay a little more than comparable products manufactured by Android device makers and Windows PC makers. What do we get in return?
The list of additional benefits Apple customers receive that you don’t find with the riffraff of Android and Windows products is long and variable, but let me list a few that range from Apple Store and Genius Bar, product resale value, tight integration of hardware and software, better privacy and security. Feel free to add to the list as befits your circumstances.
We pay more. We get more.
Sometimes we pay way, way more, and for that we have many examples. My biggest gripe is Apple accessories. Think cables, iPhone cases, and Watch bands, Oh My!
Cables – A two meter Lightning cable on the Apple Store is $29. Amazon has plenty of good ones for $10 each.
iPhone Case – A silicone case for iPhone X is $39. Amazon has dozens for $10. Apple’s leather case is $49. I found a dozen on Amazon for less than $12.
Watch Bands – Those nylon sport loop bands from the Apple Store are drop dead gorgeous but at $49 seem to be excessive since similar bands are available from Amazon for less than $15. I found a Milanese Loop-like band on Amazon– Apple wants $149– for less than $15. It’s the best non-leather watchband I’ve ever had. If you need style and fashion, some Apple Watch Hermès bands are almost $700.
It’s not my intent to promote Amazon, but the point remains. We pay extra to Apple for products which are available elsewhere for far, far less. That’s the Apple Tax.
Few technology gadget makers have a product price range and price migration table that competes well against Apple. From Mac to iPhone, from iPad to Watch and other products, Apple prices each one to remain within reach of another for just a few dollars more.
Apple’s brand cache means the company can charge more for the privilege of being an Apple customer. Those Genius Bar folks don’t work for free, right? Most Apple customers don’t mind the tax. We know we’re getting those items I mentioned earlier– brand, resale value, integration, privacy and security, et al.
In 1984 dollars– back when an original Mac was priced at $2,495– an iMac Pro is a bargain, even at $4,999. iPhone has a resale value that drops the overall ToC– total cost of ownership— sufficiently that it competes with many Android smartphones.
We pay more. We get more.
It is important for Apple to ensure that their customers always get more. Mac notebook keyboards– butterfly key design, I’m looking at you— are an indication that Apple’s famous design ethic has strayed away from benefiting the customer. What Apple needs to do is make sure customers always get more.
Apple is in the process of buying back another $100-billion in stock. That act seems shameful and self serving given so many Mac customers have trouble with their keyboards.
Now we know where our tax dollars are going.