Apple Takes a Stand on Design
Only like at every Apple event, every detail of the new Mac Pro was greeted with whoops and cheers – until it came to the price of one accessory. When they understood that they were being asked to pay $999 (£784) for a simple monitor stand, the crowd at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) fell silent.
On Tech Tent this week we ask whether the sky-high price for a low-tech product shows Apple has lost touch with actuality.
It has already tested that theory with fresh models of the iPhone climbing above the $1000 or, indeed, the £1000 mark. And if you want a Mac laptop so that entry-level MacBook Air now starts at $1199, or £1199 in the UK.
Carolina Milanesi, of Original Strategies, tells us the revolt against these kinds of prices may start in Europe, rather than the United States. She trusts European customers are worried not so much about the cost of the hardware itself, but the services that come with their devices.
“The value that a customer gets in the US is far greater to what they get elsewhere,” she says. “The services’ rollout, from music to Apple Pay, and now the TV service, is not equivalent.”
Ms. Milanesi says the fight that you get plenty of extra value for the £1000 you pay for the phone does not stand up if you don’t receive parity of service.
Which brings us to the other big declaration from WWDC: the demise of iTunes, with users now distracted to Apple Music, Apple TV and the podcasts app.
For example somebody who informed on the 2004 launch of the iTunes Store in the UK, interviewing both Steve Jobs and Alicia Keys, the scrapping of the media software was a nostalgic moment. The entrance of iTunes was the moment it became clear that the technology industry, rather than record labels, would decide the music business’s future.
Now a business which has made massive profits from hardware is shifting its focus to services, with some success.
But if customers actually are to stay to be drawn into the Apple ecosystem and to carry on spending money on services on their iPhones, iPads and MacBook Airs, then the price of entry may have to come down.