Key TakeawaysApple's computers and iPhone are competitively pricedIts accessories, though, seem picked out of a hat. A very expensive hat.There's a keyboard that costs more than an iPad, and a case that costs the same as a speaker. Apple
People often complain that Apple's products are too expensive, but they're usually talking about Macs and iPhones, which are actually around the same price as competitors. When it comes to accessories, though, Apple's pricing is utterly absurd.
Apple's accessory pricing falls firmly in the "charge whatever we can get away with" school. The prices are all over the place. When iPad cases cost the same as smart speakers, or a monitor stand is way, way more expensive than an actual Mac, you know things are screwy. Let's take a look at Apple's most absurd pricing choices.
First—because we'll be comparing them with the competition—a word on the prices of Apple's products, the Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Compare, say, the MacBook Air to equivalent models from other brands, and it actually comes off fairly priced, or even cheap. It's not that Macs are expensive for what they are. It's just that Apple doesn't make rivals to cheaper PCs. The product line starts at $999, and you get something similar to a $999 Dell.
So, for the purposes of this article, we're assuming that Apple's actual computer prices are sensible. Now, the madness begins.
Let's start with the Mac. The brand-new M1 Mac mini starts at $699. Meanwhile, the Pro Stand for Apple's Pro XDR display costs $999. That's a grand for a monitor stand. And while we're on the Pro XDR, guess how much the upgrade from standard shiny glass to "nano-texture" (matte) glass will cost? Another $1,000. In fact, it's more than that, because you get no credit for the standard glass that it replaces.
The HomePod mini is $99. You know what else is $99? The Smart Folio case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. That's a plain plastic case, without a keyboard or any other fancy tricks.
Even Apple's own description shows how crazy this price is, saying that it "is constructed from a single piece of polyurethane to protect the front and back of your device" [emphasis added]. A sheet of polyurethane, plus a few magnets. The best part is, the same case cost around 30% more when it first came out.Apple
A case for $99. Hilarious. But what if we told you that there's an iPhone case that costs even more? The iPhone 12 Leather Sleeve, available in mini and max sizes, comes in at… $129. That's a leather sleeve with a leash, a sleeve that you have to remove your iPhone from before you can use it.
How about this one. The Magic Keyboard and Trackpad for the iPad Pro is $349. How much do you think an iPad costs? The basic model is $329. Now, the keyboard/trackpad really is an amazing gizmo, and it transforms the iPad Pro, but it costs as much as a small computer.
Finally, what about wheels? The Mac Pro is available with feet as standard, but you can opt to buy it with wheels, which will cost you an extra $400 at the time of purchase, or $699 bought separately.
Did you specify wheels, and now you want to "downgrade" to regular feet? That's $299. They're nice feet, made from stainless steel and all, but $299? Still, at least they come with a hex key to install them, IKEA-style.Apple
It's hard to shake the feeling that Apple is having a laugh here. The Mac and iPhone prices are subject to plenty of press scrutiny, and are surely fine-tuned to the last dollar to make them as attractive as possible, while also making as much profit as possible.
There's a limit to what Apple can get away with. But with the accessories, it seems like all bets are off. Unless your bet is for every Apple-branded accessory to cost way more than you expect it to.