Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Quirks in Apple’s Mac Pricing Strategy

Riccardo Mori:

I’m a terribly budget-conscious customer, alas, but even if I weren’t, the thing that irritates me the most is how certain components of many Mac base configurations look purposefully unappealing to induce people to upgrade them right away, thus spending more money. I mean, a spinning 5400rpm hard drive in a retina iMac, in 2017? I had a 5400rpm hard drive when I purchased my 12-inch PowerBook G4 more than 13 years ago. Eight gigabytes of RAM in the high-end 27-inch Retina 5K iMac, aimed at customers whose needs very likely demand a bare minimum of 16 GB of RAM? Laptops with a non-upgradable 128 GB SSD? All this with base model configurations that aren’t exactly cheap from the start. It doesn’t strike me as treating your customers respectfully.

This situation feels like a repeat of the longstanding 16 GB entry-level capacity for iOS devices: it’s clearly inadequate. I don’t know what hardware Apple’s executive team uses, but I doubt any of them could honestly recommend that someone should buy an iMac today with a spinning hard drive. Solid state storage might be far too expensive to put in every iMac, but they could at least start with a Fusion Drive which, yes, would eat into margins, but it would be the right thing to do.

By the way, I think that executive test is a good way to benchmark the value of product configurations. I could imagine Tim Cook or Phil Schiller using a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 256 GB SSD; I couldn’t imagine either of them being happy with the base-level 128 GB model.

Adam C. Engst, TidBits:

Thinking about buying one of Apple’s just-updated iMacs? You’ll want to pay close attention while configuring them because you could end up with a worse configuration for the same price depending on how you start, or you might pay more for the same configuration. Alert reader Yasuhiro Sugawara of Sugarwater Brothers deserves the credit for identifying these quirks in Apple’s online store.

I assume these quirks are related to Apple’s affinity for upgrade pricing ending in –00, but it would be helpful if the online store could suggest Macs of the same price in a better configuration.