Rumblings are surfacing about Apple’s recent pricing strategy and I can understand why this is so. An iPhone for £1,000 and up, an iPad for £1,800 and up, and the cheapest Mac starting at above £1,000 feel high to me with the occasional offering (iPhone 7, iPad and Xr) being priced at more reasonable levels.
The above does not look accurate and it isn’t, but consider Apple’s marketing and the Air, iPad Pro and iPhone Xs are spoken about the most, which feeds the thoughts that Apple products are getting more expensive. It’s hard to work out actually which is the clever strategy from Apple, but the high-end products are easy upwards quickly with the low-end staying fairly static. Throw in the series 4 Apple Watch and the cost of accessories such as the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and you again start to believe that the general pricing is moving up across the board.
Rumours persist that the latest iPhones are not selling as Apple would like and the same has been said of the iPads and Macs which makes all of the sense in the world to me. From what I can see, Apple is gaining customers and maintaining serious loyalty, but is not selling at the same frequency as before which is a problem.
I know a few people, including myself, who are happy with their iPhones and who see no need to upgrade. They last for 5 years max, mostly without issue, and so that may stop the standard user from upgrading (saying that many many people upgrade through mobile contracts). iPads last particularly well and so do Macs, and in these three products Apple may be a victim of its own success. Products that are expensive and which are specified in most cases for longevity, to work well through multiple software updates, will stop owners from upgrading. It’s as simple as that.
Add to this the fact that people don’t tend to be showing off their new phones anymore and that the ‘fashion’ bubble has deflated a little and the problem worsens. Let’s be honest, all phones look the same in 2018 and the Xr is an X is an Xs in terms of how they look from more than a few inches away. Phones are in everyone’s hand most of the time so they have become invisible and all that now matters to an increasing number of people is reliability, good enough features and pricing.
It’s a shame really because we live in a time where a company like Apple has to grow, and grow and grow, every quarter and under this pressure there will be the need to increase pricing to make up for the lack of numbers, but it is merely sharpening a downward curve and lessening the number of people who are able to afford the products.
I have a MacBook, an iPhone X and a series 4 Apple Watch, and even I have spent some time looking at Android phones recently. The eco-system has kept me firmly where Apple wants me to be, but I will tell you that if you have not looked at Android for a while you may be in for a surprise. Some of the phones are a distance ahead of any iPhone in specific areas, but I still get a sense that the software has not changed much at all.
At some point, however, Apple may push too a little too far and people may make the call that the advantages no longer justify the extra cost. It’s by far the biggest threat I see to Apple at this time and it’s not an easy one to stop because of the external pressures to always sell more and to make more profit every three months.
I see a utopia where the company could just concentrate on making the very best products they can at prices that are perfectly justifiable, which has been the case in the past, but alas I suspect that utopia will not be visited any time soon.