By Carly Orticerio
Apple has been the lead in technology innovation for as long as our generation could remember. From iPods, to the iPhone, iPads and Apple Watches, our generation has grown up right alongside Apple’s technology takeover. With highly anticipated launches every season, the world has watched as Apple unleased the latest and greatest with credit cards eagerly waiting every time. This year’s launches were no different despite the highest prices that we have seen from the brand thus far.
This fall, Apple unveiled their new iPads, iPhones, Apple Watch and MacBook Air. The launch was one of the most successful to date, with iPhone models selling out during the presale in only ten minutes. The updates to the MacBook Air are the first to the model since 2011 when it first launched. Making the laptop faster, smaller, louder, and clearer came with a price increase around $200, which has been attributed to its new recycled aluminum parts. The iPad Pro updates mirror those of the iPhones, with smaller borders and leaving the home button in the past, as well as the controversial remover of the headphone jack, requiring users to buy a $9 converter if they wish to use traditional headphones. It also includes face recognition, a wireless charging keyboard that connects magnetically, and an improved Apple Pen that connects to the iPad as well. The new iPad is aimed to be a fully functioning computer, and the price reflects that; the cost has increased from $1,200 to $1,900.
Of course, their technology is improving, but how are consumers rationalizing the higher prices for phones and tablets they already have? How are we willing to spend 29% more on devices with incremental improvements every year? Consumers have gotten so wrapped up in the Apple cycle that it has become second nature to keep up with the latest and greatest releases, not even realizing how little they are getting for the substantial price increase. Apple’s strategy is very straight forward – charge more for new devices, and phase out old devices to push the consumer to a new purchase. As a company, Apple claims they will no longer track how their prices are improving their profit, but this comes at a cost; their share price declined more than 6% because of their strategy to stop reporting unit sales.
The technology market is almost completely responsive to what Apple does as a company, both on the business to business front, and in the eyes of the consumer. Consumers wait yearly to see what Apple is releasing next, trading in their twelve month old devices for a new feature or two. Phone companies have strayed away from the two year contracts they once offered to monthly or one year plans to allow for these frequent upgrades even. Other technology companies are so often seen as one step behind Apple too; releasing wearables after the Apple Watch, including facial recognition after seeing Apple do it. The market is always catching up to what the leader is doing, and continually is one step behind Apple.