There once was a time, way back in the day, back when Macs were not so thin you could cut bologna with them, that Apple’s customers figured out RAM and hard disk drives were cheaper everywhere else in the world except Apple, Inc.
The Mac purchase methodology for many of us was simple. Buy a Mac with the least amount of RAM and storage available, then get RAM and storage from a third party, and then make the swap. In many cases that simple two step process could save many hundreds of dollars.
Those days are gone. Today you need to order a Mac with the most RAM and storage you can afford because an upgrade to anything else other than what came in the machine at birth was next to impossible. iMacs let you upgrade RAM, but try ripping apart that big beautiful display to upgrade storage.
Mac notebooks are worse. Not only is it next to impossible to open the damned case, Apple does not want customers to touch what used to be replaceable components. So, you cannot upgrade RAM or SSD storage. Hell, you can’t even swap out a dead battery, and a faulty keyboard fix is about as expensive as a new Mac notebook.
Those days are not gone, of course, but as of now Apple is gouging its customers less. The Apple Tax just went down for Mac customers who can afford it.
Someone at Apple may have realized that growing Services (apps and Google) revenue is nice and all, and wearables (Watch and AirPods) now account for many billions in revenue every quarter, but they all need hardware to continue to rake in the dough.
Apple is a hardware company.
That may account for the company’s seemingly new desire to sell more hardware. Supply and demand are standard economic devices. Apple can increase supply easily. Add more products with improved features.
Likewise, Apple can increase demand by decreasing prices.
This is what happened.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with 512GB RAM also had a 4TB SSD storage option for $2,800. Apple cut that in half. $1,400. Such savings are on iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and the improved MacBook Air models.
That stupid 1.5TB SSD for the MacBook Air is gone, replaced by a more standard 1TB SSD but at nearly half the priced. Upgrade a MacBook Air, upon purchase– you can’t change it or swap it out later– to 1TB SSD and it’ll cost $600 extra.
An entry-level MacBook Air comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage for a lower price. $1,099. Fully maxed out with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage the Air weighs in at a mere $1,899.
The MacBook Pro is further differentiated– and a decent upgrade from Air– via Touch Bar and Touch ID and features the same RAM and SSD storage as Air and a slightly faster CPU, but $200 more. The 13-inch MacBook Pro can top $3,000, but a few clicks more and a 15-inch MacBook Pro fully tricked out comes in at a mere $5,149.
Lower prices simply means Apple is gouging customers less.