Seriously.. what's with the black tax?

TantalizedMind

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2007
724
212
I understand that a company can charge whatever prices they want for their products. But why in the hell is the black MacBook $200 more than the white!? Yes the black comes with the 160GB HDD and the white comes with 120GB HDD, but go to the white.. select the 160GB HDD option and it is just $67 more.

They are still taxing you over $100 just because it's black. I can easily afford it, but that's not the point. I don't lose sleep over this, but it does bug me.

Any logic to this?
 

TBi

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2005
2,582
0
Ireland
They did it so people would make threads like this on macrumors. You'd be astonished how much money macrumors paid apple to introduce the black tax!
 

TantalizedMind

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2007
724
212
Probably just greater demand for the black one so Apple can charge more.
Hm... I have seen a bunch of MacBooks at restaurants, malls, schools and they have all been white. I have never seen a single black MacBook in person besides an Apple Store. I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.

Imagine Apple taxing the iMacs when there were "flavors" to choose from. They'd have a Red/Blue/Green/Purple/Orange tax!
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
5
American Riviera
Hm... I have seen a bunch of MacBooks at restaurants, malls, schools and they have all been white. I have never seen a single black MacBook in person besides an Apple Store. I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.

Imagine Apple taxing the iMacs when there were "flavors" to choose from. They'd have a Red/Blue/Green/Purple/Orange tax!
May be in your experience, but in mine I see blackBooks all the time. I don't know how much it's hurting Apple, since they haven't changed their prices on them.
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
Hm... I have seen a bunch of MacBooks at restaurants, malls, schools and they have all been white. I have never seen a single black MacBook in person besides an Apple Store. I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.

Imagine Apple taxing the iMacs when there were "flavors" to choose from. They'd have a Red/Blue/Green/Purple/Orange tax!
Exactly. Did Apple lose a sale? No. Black is for people that want a black MacBook and don't mind the tax. White is for people that want a black MacBook but mind the tax. Apple wins both ways. I am sure the marketing dept. has spent many hours figuring out just the right amount of "tax".
 

esaleris

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
315
3
For the same reason many items in a "Special Edition" are more than what is logical, than their standard counterparts - the cache of having something unique. People will pay for that.
 

adrianblaine

macrumors 65816
Oct 12, 2006
1,156
0
Pasadena, CA
I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.
I disagree. I've seen many black MacBooks and for just over $100, people will buy which color they want generally. I don't know too many people who decided to get the white just because it was a little cheaper. They got it because they wanted the white.
 

desenso

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2005
798
1
Hm... I have seen a bunch of MacBooks at restaurants, malls, schools and they have all been white. I have never seen a single black MacBook in person besides an Apple Store. I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.

Imagine Apple taxing the iMacs when there were "flavors" to choose from. They'd have a Red/Blue/Green/Purple/Orange tax!
I've had pretty much the opposite experience. Most of the MacBooks I see are the black model.
 

emptyCup

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2005
1,482
1
Probably just greater demand for the black one so Apple can charge more.
Or, less demand (otherwise they would mostly be black), but the people who want it are willing to pay extra for it.

If there is "logic" in this it is that it costs more to produce and stock two items that are essentially the same. This is not unique to Macbooks.
 

desenso

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2005
798
1
Any logic to this?
The logic is profitability. Since when were the consumers entitled to things at cost? I know, I know, you're not saying Apple can't make a profit.... yada yada yada. But the point is a simple one: Apple isn't the first company to charge extra for purely cosmetic differences. Clearly they saw an opportunity to exploit the demand for the black MacBooks. On the other hand, Apple is (or was) fond of its white products, and seem(ed) unwilling to let go of them.

It's just an extra way to distinguish "good" from "better", even if that distinction is purely artificial. And plenty of people are willing to cough up the extra $100 for the black one, so I don't see itchanging any time soon.
 

sal

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2007
349
0
IT's for profit.. Apple learned from the ipod that black sold a lot more than the other colors, so they figure they could profit from selling a black model macbook for more money. It seems to be working.
 

boxandrew

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2005
78
0
Oklahoma, OK
I disagree. I've seen many black MacBooks and for just over $100, people will buy which color they want generally. I don't know too many people who decided to get the white just because it was a little cheaper. They got it because they wanted the white.
This isn't the same as my experience.

I imagine there will be some who stretch their budget to be able to afford a laptop and can't afford the extra.

Also, even if you want the black one you may decide on white just because you see it as a waste of money...
 

yetanotherdave

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
1,767
3
Bristol, England
It worked badly for apple in my case. I wasnted the blackbook, and was going to buy it. Then I took a step back and looked at the prices properly. I knew I was going to upgrade the HDD myself anyway, which made the tax worse.
I ended up buying a refurb middle model macbook instead of a top end blackbook. Saved myself about £200 and I got an extra 80gb hdd to use as a disk to keep movies on.
 

Paulsan

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2007
63
0
Earth
Apple should try switching the white for pink. I'll bet most guys would happily pay the "black tax" then.

How many guys bought the sissy colored iPod Minis?:D
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
It worked badly for apple in my case.

Unless you bought a Dell, it didn't work out badly for Apple at all. If you bought something, they made a profit.

Again, it goes back to what people are willing to pay for distinction. When people buy cars, some pay extra for chrome rims and stylized trim. They do nothing performance-wise, and at times are a pain to care for. But the buyer finds them aesthetically pleasing and distinctive enough to pay extra for them.

Same with a MacBook. If you want black, you pay for it. If you find the extra charge to be unreasonable or "stupid," then it's simply not for you... here's your white MacBook.

The New York Times did an article on exactly this topic, and how "price discrimination" goes way beyond just buying computers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/06/business/06scene.html

Given the author's reasoning behind the concept, the scenario perfectly describes the decision you made. And Apple got exactly the amount of money they should have from you. Everybody wins.
 

sm0

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2007
171
0
Wellington, NZ
as a blackbook owner, i dont see it as a black tax. but i can see how some people might. its a matter of preference and decision-making process i reckon

rather that opting for [any] macbook and then considering colour options, I opted for a blackbook and then arranged my finances accordingly (with no consideration of white or whites pricing), simply because it was black and I didnt want another white-yello-hybridbook.

do it once, do it right.
 

yetanotherdave

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
1,767
3
Bristol, England
Unless you bought a Dell, it didn't work out badly for Apple at all. If you bought something, they made a profit.

Again, it goes back to what people are willing to pay for distinction. When people buy cars, some pay extra for chrome rims and stylized trim. They do nothing performance-wise, and at times are a pain to care for. But the buyer finds them aesthetically pleasing and distinctive enough to pay extra for them.

Same with a MacBook. If you want black, you pay for it. If you find the extra charge to be unreasonable or "stupid," then it's simply not for you... here's your white MacBook.

The New York Times did an article on exactly this topic, and how "price discrimination" goes way beyond just buying computers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/06/business/06scene.html

Given the author's reasoning behind the concept, the scenario perfectly describes the decision you made. And Apple got exactly the amount of money they should have from you. Everybody wins.
But I was never going to buy a dell, I wasn't in the market for a POS. The decision was never apple or windows, it was always, "which apple". Apple already had the sale, it was just how much that was the question. Apple's "black tax" meant they failed to maximise the money they could have got out of me, as it made me completely re-evaluate my decision. If the black tax had been non existant, I would have bought a brand new one, not a refurb. If it had only been £20 or so, they would have made extra, but they ended up making less from me than they would have, not only on that sale, but on all future sales. I'm very happy with my refurb, and it's unlikely I'll ever buy a brand new machine ever again now, even if I get a MBP with no colour tax distinction.
 

Steve Jobs=God

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2007
399
0
For some reason products that come in black as an optional extra pretty much ALWAYS cost more, just go down to your local car dealer, can buy a car in any color except black for the same price, if you want black it's always more expensive
 

DeaconGraves

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2007
1,291
0
Dallas, TX
let us not forget the iPod U2. damn 30gig thing was as expensive as the 80gig model, but you're paying for a red face.

sigh.
They also got the band's signatures engraved into the back.

Plus $50 off the U2 box set.

May still not be worth the price for you, but its the same reasony why Ford's been able to sell things like the Eddie Bauer special edition Explorers and the King Ranch special edition Trucks. People will pay more for a little bit of flash.
 

CalBoy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2007
7,849
37
Hm... I have seen a bunch of MacBooks at restaurants, malls, schools and they have all been white. I have never seen a single black MacBook in person besides an Apple Store. I honestly believe most people want the black, but don't buy it because of the black tax.

Imagine Apple taxing the iMacs when there were "flavors" to choose from. They'd have a Red/Blue/Green/Purple/Orange tax!
Funny, because I've seen plenty of black ones around. Maybe you just aren't looking hard enough;):p
But I was never going to buy a dell, I wasn't in the market for a POS. The decision was never apple or windows, it was always, "which apple". Apple already had the sale, it was just how much that was the question. Apple's "black tax" meant they failed to maximise the money they could have got out of me, as it made me completely re-evaluate my decision. If the black tax had been non existant, I would have bought a brand new one, not a refurb. If it had only been £20 or so, they would have made extra, but they ended up making less from me than they would have, not only on that sale, but on all future sales. I'm very happy with my refurb, and it's unlikely I'll ever buy a brand new machine ever again now, even if I get a MBP with no colour tax distinction.
You missed the point of the article.

When you set out to find yourself a new computer, you knew your budget and the options before you (blackbook, mid whitebook, refurb, etc). At the end of your analysis, you decided that the refurb white model was your best bet, and that's what Apple expected you to do. By buying that model, you have lowered the cost of that notebook (as explained in the article), and you're leaving the additional costs of developing and stocking the blackbook to those who buy it.

If Apple had tried to appease you and offered a Blackbook with a lower tax (say 20 GBP, as this is what you quoted), Apple would have been forced to sell more Blackbooks in order to recover the development/stocking costs of keeping the black model around. In addition, the cost of the white model would have to be raised in order to keep the offerings level (see the airline reference). In the end, the cost of a macbook would go up, and you would have been worse off (in addition to all those who bought macbooks, whether black or white).
 

yetanotherdave

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
1,767
3
Bristol, England
You missed the point of the article.

When you set out to find yourself a new computer, you knew your budget and the options before you (blackbook, mid whitebook, refurb, etc). At the end of your analysis, you decided that the refurb white model was your best bet, and that's what Apple expected you to do. By buying that model, you have lowered the cost of that notebook (as explained in the article), and you're leaving the additional costs of developing and stocking the blackbook to those who buy it.

If Apple had tried to appease you and offered a Blackbook with a lower tax (say 20 GBP, as this is what you quoted), Apple would have been forced to sell more Blackbooks in order to recover the development/stocking costs of keeping the black model around. In addition, the cost of the white model would have to be raised in order to keep the offerings level (see the airline reference). In the end, the cost of a macbook would go up, and you would have been worse off (in addition to all those who bought macbooks, whether black or white).
I get what the article is saying.

R&D per unit is lowered by me buying a unit and adding +1 to the units sold variable, this increases the margin on each notebook sold. however it doesn't increase it by the ~£200 I went UNDER budget due to the blackbooks mere existence making me question other options like refurbs.
I'm 25, the macbook was my second apple computer. At this point in time I don't see myself switching (although going back to linux is always possible if apple lose their way/vision). I work in IT and like to keep up with technology. I see myself changing computers every 2-3 years at most, maybe more frequently. My income allows me to potentially buy the higher end/brand new models. Due to my good experience with a refurb it is likely that I wont buy anything but refurb again, as although I can't buy new hardware on release day, it's only a month or so until things appear in the refurb store, I like to keep up to date, but I'm not a "bleeding edge" sort.
The maths: This sale I saved myself £200. Looking at the 15" MBP which is likely to be my next purchase, it currently offers a £200 saving by buying refurb. Lets say I will by buying computers until I am 75. Over the course of those 50 years I stand to save £5000, or rather, apple will lose £5000 worth of sales, which they are because that is £5000 that I would have otherwise spent.

I suspect I am not alone in this. Now tell me that they haven't lost money by offering me the blackbook at a high premium.
If they'd raised the whitebook by £50 and lowered the blackbook by £50, to make them the same price they would be quids in.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.