Apple products have always been expensive. But over the last year, they've taken a step toward exorbitant.
- Apple raised prices across nearly all its product lines over the last year.
- Starting prices for some of Apple's most popular products increased by about 20% on average.
- Apple says the prices are justified since the products are better than ever, but that's a tough pill to swallow for customers.
Apple raised prices across the board last year. You may have noticed.
In 2016, the starting price of Apple's newest iPhone, the iPhone 7, was $649.
In 2017, the starting price of the most affordable new iPhone, the iPhone 8, moved up to $699, a 7% increase from the year prior.
In 2018, Apple raised the starting price of its most affordable new iPhone yet again. The iPhone XR costs $749 — a 7% jump from 2017 and a 15% increase from 2016.
In 2017, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro started at $649.
In 2018, the new 11-inch iPad Pro started at $799, a 23% increase from 2017.
In 2017, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro started at $799.
In 2018, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro started at $999, a 25% increase from 2017.
In 2017, the Mac Mini had a starting price of $499.
In 2018, the Mac Mini's starting price moved up to $799, a 60% increase from the last model.
In 2017, the MacBook Air had a starting price of $999.
In 2018, the MacBook Air's starting price rose to $1,199, a 20% increase from 2017.
In 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS had a starting price of $329.
In 2018, the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS had a starting price of $399, a 21% increase from the last model.
In 2017, an Apple Watch Series 3 with both GPS <i>and</i> cellular had a starting price of $399.
In 2018, the Apple Watch Series 4 with both GPS and cellular started at $499, a 25% increase.
The price hikes targeted Apple's most affordable offerings. Apple's cheapest iPhone, the $350 iPhone SE, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-se-vs-iphone-xs-2018-9"target="_blank">was removed from the lineup</a>.
More niche or expensive products, like the Apple TV and iMac Pro — which start at $150 and $5,000 — kept their prices the same.
The price hikes make sense from Apple's perspective.
The cost of innovating is high, and making futuristic devices with expensive components, like the iPhone X with its OLED screen, is costlier than it was before.
As Apple also alluded to last year when it decided to no longer announce unit sales in its earnings reports, growth across its most popular product lines, like the iPhone, is beginning to slow down. Price hikes help compensate for less business.
Many people are happy to pay extra for Apple products because they believe they're getting extra quality. Apple is a unique tech company in that it controls the hardware, software, and services across all its devices, as well as the in-store experience. Lots of people like that.
Apple fandom is also a thing. Some people buy all the latest Apple products because they love the company and want to own every single new product from it. Price doesn't matter much to those customers.
The Apple brand is also huge around the world. As with Nike and its "swoosh," prices seem to automatically go up if a product has Apple's logo on it. Apple is technology, but it's also fashion.
Raising prices is psychological, too. When the product's price goes up, fewer people are likely to buy it, making it rarer and creating a "wow" effect when you see it in the wild. Maybe it makes you jealous because you wish you had more money to buy that Apple product.
Apple's pricing strategy probably won't change anytime soon. After all, making innovative products isn't getting any cheaper, and Apple's brand is still desirable among people of all ages.
Still, that doesn't mean Apple's recent price hikes are justified from a consumer standpoint.
To quickly summarize the price hikes for Apple products in 2018:
- The cheapest new iPhone is 7% more expensive than it was in 2017, and 15% more costly than it was in 2016.
- The two iPad Pro models experienced price hikes of 23% and 25%.
- The 2018 Apple Watch models are 21% or 25% more expensive than the new watches from 2017, depending on which model you buy.
- The MacBook Air got a 20% price hike.
- The Mac Mini got a 60% price hike.
- Even the new Apple Pencil, released in 2018, is 30% more expensive than the previous model.
Did the value of these products increase in the same way their prices did? Not necessarily. But as long as people keep paying for them, Apple has little reason to change its strategy in 2019 or beyond.