Apple launched new iPad Pro models and a redesigned standard iPad on October 18, but amid the positivity of the announcements the company also quietly adjusted prices for its whole range of iPads around the world, apart from in the U.S.
This is great news for U.S. customers, but not so great for everyone else, who now need to pay as much as £500/€445/A$550/C$200 more to get an iPad Pro.
There’s no denying the fact that these price increases are tied to currency fluctuations, with all those currencies mentioned above falling in value against the dollar over the past few months. Nor are the increased prices unexpected–we had been predicting that prices would go up in the U.K. and elsewhere, and had been encouraging people to buy before new products launched for exactly that reason.
But the price increases are particularly hard to swallow at a time when the cost of living is increasing at its fastest rate in 40 years and inflation is rocketing.
It’s not just the rising cost of groceries and higher energy costs that we are having to adjust to. Other goods, especially those that are imported, are going to cost us a lot more than they did. The fact is that prices are rising and the cost of buying U.S. goods in the U.K. and elsewhere is higher than it has been for decades.
Is Apple ripping everyone else off?
It’s notable that prices haven’t risen in the U.S., despite the cost implications of various supply and production issues being experienced in the post-pandemic environment. A skeptic might suggest that Apple has prioritised its home market, pushing up overseas pricing in order to keep U.S. prices stable.
On the other hand, perhaps Apple’s calculations do add up. If currency adjustments are made to current U.S. prices and local taxes are added (in the U.S. tax is added at the point of sale, but in other countries the price you see includes local taxes) you get numbers that are a lot closer to the overseas prices. Although an additional cost can still be seen that Apple would no doubt refer to as the “cost of doing business in your country.”
So we can’t blame Apple for the fact that various currencies have fallen against the dollar, but we can question anything above the resulting price once the currency is converted and local taxes added. We’ve got our calculators out and you can see our working below.
The pound has fallen against the dollar over the past few months, which means that on October 19, just after Apple announced the new iPads, £1 would buy you $1.12. Back on January 1 that same £1 would have bought you $1.35.
At today’s exchange rate, an iPad that costs $329 in the U.S. should convert to £293.75 in the U.K. And once you add VAT at 20% you get £352.50, which isn’t that far off the actual £369 cost. While that’s £50 more than what it cost at the beginning of October (£319), you’re only really paying £15 over the odds, once the weakness of the pound and local taxes are taken into account.
Interestingly, the same calculation done in January 2022 would have seen a converted price of £243.70, or £292.44 with VAT added on: roughly £27 less than the £319 price at that time. So you could argue that in this case, Apple has actually absorbed more of the cost of doing business in the U.K., perhaps to keep the entry-level iPad as affordable as possible.
That’s the cheapest iPad accounted for. The most expensive iPad (iPad Pro 12.9-inch, 2TB, cellular) costs $2,399 in the US, which would convert to £2,141.96 in the UK and £2,570 once 20% VAT is added. It actually costs £2,679, which includes about £109 of additional costs.
That iPad Pro costs £530 more than the equivalent iPad Pro did in January 2022 (£2,149). Back then the converted amount would have been £2,132 including tax, just £17 below the actual price. In this case the real-terms price rise is much larger and we don’t imagine Apple will sell many 2TB 12.9-inch iPad Pro units in the UK at the new price.
It’s not only U.K. prices which have risen. In Europe that entry-level 9th-generation iPad costs €429 and the top-of-the-range iPad Pro starts at €3,024. The equivalent pricing for those models was €379 and €2,579 earlier this year. That’s an increase of €50 and €445 respectively.
The euro has also fallen against the dollar over the past few months. Today €1 will buy you $0.98. Back on January 1 you’d have got $1.14 for your €1. So again we have higher prices now based on the value of the euro against the dollar.
In Australia the cheapest iPad now costs A$549. Just before the iPad launch in October 2022 the starting price was A$499. The most expensive iPad Pro was A$3,549; it’s now A$4,099. That’s a difference of A$50 and A$550. One Australian dollar will currently buy you $0.63 US dollars. Back on January 1 it would have bought you $0.73.
Even Canada sees a bump in price. The cheapest iPad is now C$449, while the top-of-the-range iPad Pro, with 2TB and cellular, is now C$3,179. Those prices were C$429 and $2,979 for the 12in iPad Pro. That’s an increase of C$20 and C$200. The Canadian dollar buys you $0.73 right now, and back in January 1 was worth $0.79; not quite as big a difference as is being seen in other currencies, but a drop nonetheless.
Who’s to blame?
We cannot escape the fact that currency fluctuations are a significant factor in price increases around the world. Add tax on to that already inflated price and you will see a significant increase in what you’re expected to pay.
However, there’s more at work here than just currency fluctuations and tax. On its entry-level iPad, Apple appears to have taken a hit in order to minimise the price increase, whereas the iPad Pro models have seen a real-terms price increase beyond anything that can be explained by currency conversions. We assume the extra costs relate to the price of doing business in each country as well as other factors, such as the high price of fuel and the cost of importing goods from China and elsewhere.
Outside the U.S. we’ve had a good few years of relatively affordable Apple products. Now we are entering an age of unaffordability, and it’s bound to have implications for the company. Apple already had a reputation as a purveyor of premium goods; now the company really needs to make its expensive products worth the money.
For the consumer, our best advice right now is to search carefully for discounts. You can start with the following deals roundups, where you can see the best prices right now on various iPads: