On Monday, Apple announced a number of products, including the long-awaited Mac Pro follow-up and a new professional display. But what turned people’s heads the most is the fact that Apple thinks you should have to pay $1,000 for a monitor stand. People in the audience didn’t clap when the announcer unveiled the price — they audibly groaned. And Apple doesn’t want people to know that.
The Register embedded a clip of the audience reaction in one of its stories — and Apple killed the video on the grounds that it supposedly infringed on the company’s copyright. As of this writing, the original clip of Apple announcing the $1K price tag that The Register embedded in its own story remains offline.
Fortunately, you can still find other clips of the audience reaction, and it’s anything but pleased. One such clip is embedded below:
This latest ridiculous price decision is further evidence of a trend that kicked into high gear back in 2016. As a reminder, Apple used to run ads like this:
Today, that kind of “all-in” thinking is no longer front-and-center in the company’s product designs. Apple still includes the same 5W iPhone adapter with its phones that it’s always shipped, even though its devices support fast charging. If you want to use the fast charging that your modern iPhone supports, that’s an extra purchase. Want to connect your iPhone directly to a USB-C port? That’s extra. The price of AppleCare went up in 2017. The price of non-AppleCare repairs has been going up in nearly every product category for years.
Before Apple instituted its keyboard repair program, it was charging $600 – $700 to repair keyboards, even though it has failed to resolve its keyboard failure problem through multiple revisions of the design. If your MacBook Pro display breaks because Apple used display cables that are slightly too short, that’s another $600. These are not accidents. They are the result of design decisions that prioritize creating a product that is deliberately incredibly expensive to fix over creating a product that would be cheap and easy to repair. Apple’s Services revenue has been growing by leaps and bounds partly as a result of these tactics. But every dongle purchased also drives accessories revenue — and if it costs Apple $2 – $3 to purchase a cable it sells for $20, that means the cable you pick up alongside your iPhone or MacBook is another profit driver.
Now, obviously Apple isn’t going to replace its iPhone sales revenue with monitor stand revenue — but that’s not the point. [What about dongle revenue? -Ed.] Selling a product it likely buys for tens of dollars for $1,000 represents a fabulous margin uplift for the company. The “features” this stand offers, like the ability to turn the display into portrait mode, are literally bog standard options. Newegg has a list of monitors offering height, swivel, tilt, and pivot hinges starting at $80 new. The monitor specs, in this case, are irrelevant. We aren’t talking about monitors, we’re talking about monitor stands. And Apple wants $1,000 for a piece of metal with two hinges on it or $199 for a VESA mount.
That tells you something right there. A VESA mount isn’t a brand name, it’s a standard. Here’s a VESA articulating wall mount intended for up to 39-inch LED TVs. $20 on Amazon. Is the Apple version better? Maybe. Is it 10x better? Guarantee it isn’t. Not when an articulating wall arm intended for 55-inch screens is $30. But by launching two peripherals, Apple creates an illusion that you have to choose between a suddenly reasonable-seeming VESA wall mount at $200 and a $1,000 absurdity. No, the company won’t sell a very large number of display stands/mounts in absolute terms, but every person who ponies up for either the $200 or $1,000 option is handing Apple pure profit.
Of course, some people — even Apple fans dedicated enough to show up to WWDC in person — know a bad deal when they hear it. And that’s why Apple cracked down on a video clip in the dubious name of copyright. The company doesn’t want you to hear that even its own biggest fans know they’re getting screwed.
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