Apple has lately been something of a controversial company. While many see their products as highly inventive, intuitive and well designed, they could easily be accused of abusing their popularity. Not only is Apple currently suing everyone left, right and center, but they are also well known for create a very closed system that prevents customers from using their devices freely and for charging a lot more for the privilege.
‘Apple Tax’ is a term that refers not only to the much higher price you’ll pay extra initially when you buy an Apple (try an extra hundred dollars or two for a device with generally lower specs even) but also for the increased price you’ll pay for just about everything else from that point on from media to songs. This is the price you pay for owning an Apple, this is ‘Apple Tax’, but is it worth it? Here are some other examples of Apple charging more for your products…
One notable difference between the Play Store and App Store is the cost of apps. It is much cheaper for a developer to develop an Android app than it is for them to develop the same thing on iPhone, Google take a much lower cut, there are far more ways of doing it (Basic4Android for instance lets them program it in a language similar to the very popular and easy Visual Basic) and they don’t need to buy any hardware especially.
It’s no wonder then that you end up paying much more for your iPhone apps than you do for the same thing on other devices.
Take Amazing Alex – $0.99 on iPhone, $2.99 on iPad, or completely free on Android devices (tablet and phone) and the same is true of many other popular apps in the store. There are also just higher numbers of free apps on Android meaning that you can enjoy doing almost everything you need to without spending anything. Of course the quality is somewhat more negligible and there are again compatibility issues, so again you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth paying more for the iTunes experience?
Software and Hardware
At the same time after you’ve paid more for your iPhone and more for your apps, Apple ten find more other ways to charge you extra too. The fact that iPhones have such an unusual power port and no micro USB for instance means that you aren’t going to be able to charge your iPhone or iPod at a friend’s house from their computer. If you lose your iPhone charge you will need to buy one of the Apple branded ones and of course for that you will pay twice the price. And even the third party peripherals such as cases and screen protectors will cost you significantly more for Apple devices than they will for Samsung or Blackberry ones.
It’s not just on the iPhone that you will be paying more however, you’ll also be paying a lot more for your Macbooks than you would for a HP or another computer with similar specs.
Again this also extends to the software – such as MS Word, as well as the peripheries. And if you’re into downloading things without paying full price (shame on you!) then that’s going to be a lot harder on an Apple machine meaning you can’t even worm your way out of the Apple tax.
In some ways you could also consider some of the many restrictions that Apple place on their products as being a form of tax too. For instance the DRM on your iTunes music that prevents you from copying it to more than a handful of devices, or the fact that you need iTunes to even access the files on your device. When all is said and done Apple users put up with a lot out of loyalty to their favorite tech firm… but do they get the same love back?
Whether or not you are happy to pay extra for the privilege of having a half-eaten apple logo on your device is of course a matter of choice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get annoyed by it – particularly when Apple own such a large share of the market, and particularly when they have been recently accused of using tax ‘shelters’ to avoid paying all that much tax themselves… (apparently getting out of around $3 billion last year).
Time will tell whether Apple’s antics eventually come back to haunt them, but for now – what do you think about it?