Apple’s Flash Storage Tax and Pricing is Unacceptable

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Apple recently unveiled new Macs, iPhones, and iPads. They are continuing their trend to increase ASPs and milking their customers. This is a hostile practice towards its users and completely unacceptable to me personally. I compiled a list of things which the company should remedy below, before it’s too late.

  • The new Mac Mini has an option to upgrade to 2 TB of flash storage. The upgrade from 128 GB costs 1600 USD. You can buy a faster Samsung 970 Evo M.2 drive for 500-600 USD — that’s around three times cheaper. The price difference between the two is even larger in Europe — Samsung’s M.2 drive is over four times cheaper in Poland, for example.
  • If you opt for the 32 GB RAM option for that same Mac Mini, it will set you back 600 USD. A pair of 16 GB DDR4 SO-DIMMs (for a total of 32 GB) cost around 250-280 USD on Amazon.
  • Apple introduced the 10.5-inch iPad in June 2017 and the 11-inch model a few days ago. The price of the former has not changed at all and still starts at 650 USD (with the old Apple A10X SoC). The new model is priced at 800 USD for 64 gigs of storage. The LTE option used to cost 130 USD extra but that’s changed too — it now costs 150 USD extra.
  • Apple is also playing fast and loose with their exchange rates. 1 USD is currently 3.75 PLN1 but since we have a 23% VAT over here, we need to add that. 1 USD without tax translates to around 4.6 PLN with VAT. That would mean that the 150 USD LTE option should cost 690 PLN (rounded to 699, to Apple’s liking) but it doesn’t — instead, they charge us exactly 800 PLN for that option. Even assuming they need a buffer for any fluctuations, they’re using an exchange rate of 5.3 PLN per USD, which is an additional 15% of profit for them. What’s more curious is that the 649 USD iPad Pro 10.5″ costs exactly 2999 PLN in Poland, which means they use an exchange rate of 4.62 PLN per USD. The iPhone XS has an exchange rate of 4.98, while the new MacBook Air 128 GB is at 4.61 or 5.01 for the 256 GB model. Not exactly transparent or fair.
  • An Apple Magic Keyboard is currently priced at 99 USD, while the Smart Keyboard Folio for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is twice as expensive at 199 USD. I cannot understand the logic behind this decision (and no, it’s not fair to explain the price disparity because it’s a cover and stand at the same time). For comparison’s sake, the Microsoft Surface Pro Signature Type Cover costs 159.99 USD and it includes a trackpad. While the latter isn’t very good compared to Apple’s trackpads, it is better than no trackpad at all. The Surface keyboard itself is much better than the Smart Keyboard (and actually better than the butterfly keyboards on the MacBooks).
  • My flash storage pricing complaints extend to the iPads and iPhones — Apple is charging 50 USD per 64 GB of storage on them, which is around 1.6 USD per GB. A Samsung 970 Evo 250 GB M.2 drive costs 88 USD on Amazon, which comes out to 0.35 USD per GB (over four times cheaper). I understand premium pricing for additional benefits and features, and I understand milking customers — this is the latter.

Not long ago we had the option to either buy RAM and SSDs from Apple or from third-party vendors and that was fine. They were both user-accessible and easy to swap out — upgrading a Mac was so simple. Today, Apple doesn’t give us that option — both RAM and flash storage is often soldered onto the logic boards, with some exceptions. While I would accept even a 100% “Apple tax” on both, were there any real benefits, Apple is asking us to pay three to five times more.

And I’m done paying their tax. My iPhone is going nowhere fast, for lack of any sensible alternatives, and neither is my iPad (for now), but I won’t be upgrading my Macs anytime soon. I’ve actually being trying to figure out all the hurdles standing in the way of a switch to Windows 10 and I think I’ve solved most of them. I hope that day never comes but my faith is waning.

  1. Polish złoty.

Chcesz zwrócić mi na coś uwagę lub skomentować? Zapraszam na @morid1n.

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