Is Apple Pricing You Out of Its Ecosystem?

BY Evan Selleck

Published 19 Nov 2018

Apple welcomed the standard $1,000 smartphone with the iPhone X last year, and now Apple’s biggest iPhone to date starts at $100 more expensive. But this goes beyond the iPhone.

Apple announced recently that it is no longer going to announce sales of its most talked-about products, deciding to keep sales details for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac under wraps like it does a lot of its other products. That decision obviously made waves, with a variety of think pieces (and hot takes!) aiming to dig deeper than Apple’s bland “number of units sold in quarter is not representative of underlying state of business” and get to the root of the change in tactics. Some of those are probably right to varying degrees, but whatever the reasoning is (beyond Apple’s public statement on the matter), we’re now going to be hearing even more from analysts as they try to guess just how many millions of products Apple is still selling in 2019 and beyond.

Well, one assumes it’s still going to be millions of devices.

The reality of the situation is that even though Apple was more than happy to welcome in the $1,000 smartphone, a lot of speculation was that it wasn’t going to sell well because it was too expensive. It didn’t even matter how hard Apple pushed the marketing or talked about the improved specs. The price tag would ultimately drive people away. Of course we know now that didn’t happen and the company obviously sees plenty of room to grow, because, as I mentioned above, the iPhone XS Max retails for $1,099 and climbs up to $1,500. Apple sees potential in these price points, and apparently people are paying it. So here we are.

However, what happens when the changing prices are present for all of Apple’s products? It’s not a secret that the new MacBook Air is expensive in its own right (with some arguing that the specs under the hood, even including the Retina display, don’t necessarily warrant a starting price of $1,200). And the new iPad Pro? Wow. Apple led itself into the conversation about the iPad Pro’s name, and its pricing, but the reality of iOS on a tablet don’t all add up to a perfect result.

Even the new Mac mini is considered expensive (again). Now that the MacBook Air is out there in the world, the 12-inch MacBook’s price point is being questioned — along with its entire existence, really. I might be crazy here, but I think the Apple Watch could see a price decrease, too, because $399 still feels too pricey.

But all of this comes down to the individual.

And I’ve seen a lot of people on social media talking about leaving Apple because “things are too expensive”. This is obviously not a new sentiment by any means because Apple has never toyed with the inexpensive route. Even the iPhone XR starts at $749 and while that does indeed save you quite a bit of money in comparison to the iPhone XS lineup, it’s still not cheap. And when you start trying to buy into the Apple ecosystem, with phones, and tablets, and computers, smartwatches, and whatever else, those price tags definitely start to make a considerable dent.

I picked up the 2016 MacBook when it launched and so far it’s been perfectly fine. But when the new MacBook Air was announced I gave it a considerable thought to upgrading. I honestly never expected the brand new model to be priced at what the older model currently sits at, but just seeing that $1,200 starting price was enough to make me second guess a new computer purchase this year. Usually when I upgrade it’s just a reaction and I’m happy with it because, hey, new thing. But not this year. I actually thought about whether or not I needed to spend whatever money it would be after selling or trading in this aging MacBook to get the new model. And I thought better of it.

I can wait a bit longer. This MacBook should get me to the end of next year. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Where do you stand on all of this? Are you okay with the price changes that Apple has been implementing across its product lineup? If you picked up new models this year, what did you get? Or is Apple slowly pricing you out of the ecosystem entirely?