Should Apple lower the prices of all macOS computers in order to sell more?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Future-Proof, May 7, 2018.


Should Apple lower the prices of all macOS computers in order to sell more?

  1. Yes - all

    24 vote(s)
  2. Yes but just the 2014/new mac mini and/or macbook

    3 vote(s)
  3. No

    18 vote(s)
  1. Future-Proof macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2018
    Seeing as macs, whether desktops or laptops, account for such a low percentage of revenue these days, should Apple lower their prices in order to drive up sales and hook people in to their awesome ecosystem?
  2. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    No, I think they are priced fairly when they come out. If you consider the price they could charge for macOS and the support they provide Macs are very good deals IMO.

    They should just make sure to keep them to up to date at all times. Selling 4 year old tech for the same price is outrageous!

    One exception is the 15" MBP. I understand that the touch bar has a cost but they shouldn't force users to pay for it to get any kind of decent specs. It's driving the price up too much.
  3. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Current products:
    In my opinion, the MacBook and MacBook Pro should be $300-400 cheaper across the lineup. The iMac / iMac Pro is the only Mac which is priced appropriately, though the starting 21.5" at $1099 should have a 4K display and 1 TB Fusion drive.

    Older products:
    MacBook Air should be discontinued in favor of the MacBook at a new price point, Mac mini refreshed to offer Fusion drive standard and upgradable RAM at $100 higher than the current price point, and the 2013 Mac Pro needs to be lowered by no less than $1,000 or discontinued completely until the next refresh - it's seriously outdated in 2018, though it's unlikely Apple will lower the price by that much and make it seem like the 2019 models are suddenly much more expensive when those are finally released.
  4. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    To what end? Apple is happy with the number of people hooked on their eco-system. It is one of the most profitable companies in the world. And the malicious forces of the world tend to leave Apple products alone. Sorry, but if it ain't broke, why fix it? (better to be a healthy fish in a big pond, than a sickly fish in a big pond, to paraphrase whoever came up with the original).
  5. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 65816

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    I don’t think Apple can afford to update the MBA and mini and still sell them for the same price. Apple is a hardware company, so they make most of their profits on hardware sales, followed by associated services. You can look at the equivalent Windows machine and draw the parallel, as most of them get loaded down with OEM trialware and junk. And even if that is not the case, Windows 10 throws something similar at you. I moved from Windows/Android to Mac/iPhone to get products that don’t need to be “cleaned up” before I can even use them. I believe that privacy matters, and that requires paying more for a product that isn’t being subsidized by junk and user telemetry.

    I think cost is one reason Apple is pivoting away from Intel. Apple can design and manufacture their own SOCs for less, as evident by iPad being the cheapest Apple product you can buy. And the iPad is well made by comparison to netbook-class PCs and Android tablets of the same price. I think the mini and the MBA will be the first products to make that transition.
  6. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I wouldn't mind if they lowered their prices. But from Apple's perspective... why would they? I'm sure a bean-counter like Tim Cook has already analyzed all that and likes the current prices.
  7. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Keep the price the same and include 2 year Apple care+ with the option for a third year for $125
  8. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    They seem to be selling pretty well as is so while I would love a cheaper price it wouldn’t benefit Apple.
  9. KrisLord macrumors 65816

    Sep 12, 2008
    Northumberland, UK
    I’d be happy if they’d update the exchange rate for USD/GBP.

    They changed pricing in the UK shortly after the Brexit vote and at that time the pound had dropped significantly. It’s pretty much back where it was now so at current rates all products are overpriced vs their US prices.
  10. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Well that would be worthless for me. Almost all of my Macs have died of old age long after two years.
  11. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum with this one. I have 5 Macs at 7-9 years old, about a dozen 2010-2012 minis, and 30 2014 mini's, all of them are used Mon-Thurs 7-7 and are never powered off except when electricity goes out.

    Only purchased Apple Care on one Mac ever, being the 2013 Mac Pro.

    I'm ok with the purchase price vs the life I get from the device. Now if Apple just wanted to send me a personal email saying iMac Pro 10 core could be had for half price I wouldn't argue :cool:
  12. sublunar, May 7, 2018
    Last edited: May 7, 2018

    sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    It's close but not quite back there yet - the UK price increase was approximately 20% when the 2016 Macs were released and everything, the 2015 iMacs, 2014 Mini, the MacBook Pros, even the iPhones and iPads got bumped up by a huge amount.

    The thing is, Apple aren't in it for volume. They're in it for profit.

    We're at about £1/$1.35 at the moment, it was over £1/$1.40 earlier this year but around the time of the 2016 MacBook Pro launch in October 2016 it was £1/1.25. In 2015 it was pushing well over £1/$1.45. In 2014 it was above £1/$1.60. Obviously, when Apple set the price, they are forecasting for a year ahead - not just looking at the spot price on the day of release.

    In theory Apple should proffer a 10% price cut this year (rounded) but currency exchange is still volatile and has dipped significantly in recent weeks. BREXIT factors could still be in play for another 12 months at least and who knows what will be happening with the price of RAM, NAND, OLED, IPS screens and other factors.

    UK prices could well get a re-alignment at the next store refresh. An effective price cut due to exchange may accelerate demand in the UK but Apple's custom is to keep the price constant until the next Apple event which could be a further year away. This generally makes each product better value for money in the first couple of quarters on sale before the curve flattens out towards the end of that year. The Mini's curve has been in operation for some time. :p

    As a footnote, the Euro has strengthened against the dollar in recent weeks but overall is down on a similar period last year by around 10%. Unfortunately this means the EU may get a price increase if previous prices hikes didn't take this into account.

    Since Apple keep the same spec worldwide they can't just offer a special European SKU at specific prices which further reduces their flexibility. I think Apple will need to have a decent offering at good prices to affect demand significantly.

    Earlier demands for a straight price cut are absurd. Apple have a margin to maintain, and it's one of the best in the business. Unlike Clone PC makers there's no competition to drive prices down and with the introduction of the T1 and T2 co-processors Apple are moving towards a situation where a Hackintosh will only become harder to maintain because a Mac is less and less like a clone PC. It feels as though Apple in the UK are getting around this by tacitly allowing retailers to discount certain products from iPhone SE (available from £299 on the street - list price £349, even cheaper if you look around) to various editions of the MacBook Pro with Touchbar.

    What I have seen at certain large retailers over the last two years has been amazing deals for certain specs of MacBook Pro - presumably to keep sales going. Apple must have some sort of plan to make MacBook Pros more affordable. The key point here was that the top SKU of the 2015 15" MacBook Pro (with 370X GPU) cost £1999 in the Apple Store. After the 2016 update, the top 15" MacBook Pro with Touchbar cost a staggering £2699. The base Mac Mini went from £399 to £479 overnight.

    A more sensible argument would be for Apple to consider making a more cost effective laptop. They probably noticed a spike in demand for MacBook Air in 2016 and 2017 because of the higher price of the Pro models, especially the ones with Touch Bar. So we have the following plans:

    1. Price cut by approximately 10% due to exchange rate in the UK (possible EU price increase)
    2. Price changes due to worldwide NAND and RAM prices - Apple CFO Luca Maestri expected NAND and RAM prices to stabilise going into 2019 during the recent results call. I've no idea how much hedging Apple are doing on this, but obviously they have to consider ongoing prices and availability of components going forward at least 12 months and could in fact figure in a price cut this summer based on that. GPU prices have been high for a year due to crypto-currency miners but I have no doubt that Apple will have hedged against that.
    3. Make the touch bar optional on certain MacBook Pro SKUs - this could dilute the penetration of touch bar for developers.
    4. Average repair costs on the 2016/17 MacBook Pros could keep prices high - we'd be 'paying' for the much discussed design flaws in the keyboards. If there's no price cut across Europe that could be a reason why.
    5. Quad core on 13" Macbook Pros may persuade some people to pull the trigger on a purchase, the same with potentially 6 core 15" models.
    6. Pricing the Macs keenly after a design change could also be a catalyst for a push in sales, more so if it's a new design with 14" and 16" screens for example.

    One thing Apple could do specifically for the 2014 Mini would be to repeat the trick that they pulled with the 2013 Mac Pro.

    Drop the base spec 1.4GHz, and reprice the upper 2 SKUs to match the lower 2. In effect, moving them down the price channel. Introduce a Mac Mini Pro above it with all SSD and quad core ;)
  13. krause734 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    The Mac Mini and Pro are old and only the Pro got a pathetic price drop. They've lost a significant number of customers because of this. Those customers might as well switch to Android while they're at it so they're going to lose Mac sales and iPhone sales. Not a smart move to leave your desktop users hanging.
  14. sublunar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    When you say significant, it's probably a rounding error though. The rounding error contains a lot o professionals who won't stand for another Mac Pro fail though. Apple only get away with this because they are the only game in town for Macs.
  15. krause734 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2010
    MacOS is not good enough for some people to be forced to buy 4+ year old hardware with no price drop if they want a standalone desktop.
  16. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I don't think it's quite so simple as lower the price. The hardware is ancient and the designs are quite often compromised in terms of ports, etc. There is also this big gap between the mini and the mac pro, that just isn't filled by the iMac - buyers of these machines don't want an all in one.

    There is a need for a budget option in Apple's line up, but I guess this is what the Macbook and the Mac Mini are for. However many are willing to pay the price so long as they are getting current tech. At the minute that's not happening though, Apple contunue to pedel ancient kit yet charge 2019 prices for it.
  17. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    If you want to compete with cheap Windows products, you have to start making more crappy plastic products and care way less about quality. Apple operates in the high end market “to make the best products possible” (according to Apple) and that will never change.

    If Apple starts selling current hardware for lower prices, they might sell more, but they’ll make less. Not an option.
  18. ipponrg macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2008
    Windows isn’t hardware. It’s an OS. The issue is that Apple operates in a proprietary fashion for both hardware and their OS. That is why they can command a steeper price
  19. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I meant hardware running Windows of course.

    My point is they’re operating in a market where the high prices are justified.
  20. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Apple doesn't care about the Mac. If they wanted to make the best products possible, they'd update them on a schedule which keeps them current. Instead they sell 4-5 year old products at new prices.
  21. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    That’s not fair, the MacBooks and iMac are updated regularly, whenever new Intel chips are available.

    Mac mini and MacBook Air are the cheap models that don’t get much love, they might get replaced or discontinued at some point. Mac Pro failed and will be replaced by the modular Mac Pro.
  22. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    I think that they will once they have ‘ARM Inside’.

    Think of the savings they’ll get on r&d for the same processor family across every line, fabrication costs etc.

    I suspect that the entry level MacBook will end up being pretty close in price to the entry level iPad Pro (plus keyboard!)
  23. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I would think it costs more developing your own processors. Anyway, I doubt it results in a price difference.
  24. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

    Nov 7, 2017
    Yes, but Apple already new develop x2 new processors each year - the regular 'A' series (iPhone) and the 'AX' series (iPad Pro) so the Mac chips would be more powerful members of the same family.

    Now I'm absolutely not pretending to be an expert on processors, but you could imagine a MacBook having an 8 core AX chip etc.

    Plus you'd have efficiencies with all of the other components that Apple could share between devices i.e.:
    • Memory
    • SDDs (if they don't already)
    • modems
    • GPU
    • Audio
    • Etc. etc.
    I think that we'd see some huge huge cost savings (for Apple...) with only things like Thunderbolt components being Mac exclusive along with discrete GPUs for the top end Pro machines.
  25. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    I think Apple could have made a reasonably successful play at volume with cheaper Macintosh computers (or even licensing*) somewhere in the 2005-2012 time-frame.

    Whether it would have been worth focusing resources on Mac over iPhone/iOS at this period (or more pertinently if Apple even had sufficient time and staff) is a different question. I personally doubt the gains from desktop (even big gains like 30-50% share of new PCs sold) would have been able to offset potential gains on mobile given a similar allocation of resources.

    It is easier to see with hindsight, but the opportunity was clearly there for disruption of the PC market. This period coincided with consumer disgruntlement with Windows Vista (2007) and then Windows 8 (2012) along with the XP upgrade cycle (2007-2014). If deciding to license Apple could have capitalised on OEMs disgruntlement as well with the Microsoft over Surface (2012-present).

    There was certainly some unique opportunities to capitalise (mostly missteps by Steve Ballmer's Microsoft). With hindsight it is easy to see how Microsoft's ability to respond, the (relative) competitiveness and desirability of Windows were overestimated by most analysts at the time whilst simultaneously the (relative) quality of OS X as a desktop platform was underestimated.

    There seems very little point now as overall the market is barely growing and there are fewer obvious opportunities for disruption. In fact I think the far more likely outcome next (and threat to Apple) is OS X is disrupted by the web platform.

    * Search for Steve Jobs Sony Vaio - it was a consideration at one point.

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