Before I bought my first Mac mini, I was a firm critic of Apple and in particular the pricing. It felt as though there was no substantial reason to spend so much and so I carried on changing Windows PCs every 18 months and living with the general hassle of constant updates, virus problems and general slow-downs because I dared to use my computer every day.
Fast forward a decade and my iMac is now almost 6 years old, and still doing what I need it to do. It cost £999 and has proved to be excellent value for money compared to any other computing product I have bought. I have felt content and even grateful to Apple for producing a product that has been so incredibly reliable and at a price that felt reasonable at the time.
Over the past few weeks, however, it feels as if we are moving back in time because all of a sudden the Mac range is very expensive and feels out of reach for what I consider the price range computers should fall within.
It started with the iPhone 7 and my usual haunt of buying the best specified model that is available, but over £900 for the 7 Plus 256GB is just too high a number for me. It may well fit into the ladder of pricing for what it offers, but the fact that Apple is prepared to sell a phone at such a price is an indicator to me that the limits are stretching.
And then the currency conversion hit which put up the prices of Macs by levels that are hard to swallow. As it happens, these prices are not out of line with the recent currency fluctuations and when you consider US sales tax, they are comparable. The problem, however, is not the fairness of the pricing, but the fact that you do have to spend a lot of money to get in the Apple environment.
I am discounting the lowest end Mac mini in my argument and only considering devices that offer the kind of performance I need and in the latter part of 2016, I feel as if they are starting to become out of reach again. It really is feeling a little like a decade ago.
Bob summed it up for me yesterday in a LIM comment when he said “Didn’t think I’d ever say it, but Apple is testing my loyalty.”
Then again, I was in a retail store last night and saw the following prices for an iMac-
Yes, it is not the latest model, but for someone like me who has a 6 year old iMac which I use daily, a 4K 21″ iMac is a big upgrade and it is £200 more than I paid 6 years ago. Not sure that this is bad value if I could get another 6 years of usage out of it…
Then again then again then again, is Apple going to progress the software and hardware as much as the competition in the next few years? I think I will stick with my trusty iMac for the moment and watch developments closely.